While the GW women’s basketball team has received the strong play that it expected from its guards through the season’s first two games, the Colonials likely would not have made it look so easy last weekend without the balanced attack of its post players.
The team’s innate need for solid efforts from forwards Chantelle John and Jamila Bates in the absence of Jazmine and Jessica Adair, who have been sidelined by injuries, played a key role against Maryland-Baltimore County and Coppin State and figure to do the same in the BTI Classic next weekend.
Head coach Joe McKeown has made it known that the difference between an early exit in March and a run deep into the NCAA Tournament will be the play of his forwards, and he spoke of his frustration of the Adairs’ injuries after Sunday’s game.
“You look at the tapes of the Tennessee and Old Dominion games from last year, and you look at Jessica Adair getting double-doubles in both of those games, who hasn’t even played a minute yet, so getting (her and Jazmine) on the court is big for us,” McKeown said. “We’re a different team with those two. They just change everything. We just can’t seem to get them both on the court playing well at the same time. I don’t know if it’s a curse or something.”
Jazmine Adair started in Friday’s game against Maryland-Baltimore County but received limited time due to an injury, which allowed John to step in and record a career-high 11 points. John, who grew up in Canada, said that she is becoming more comfortable with the faster pace of American basketball, which has been aided by the competition in practice.
“(Jazmine and Jessica Adair) bring it to every practice, every day. Going up against the best is only going to make you better. It makes competition during the games easier,” John said.
In Sunday’s game, Bates outshined the other two with nine points and three rebounds, while the Colonials outscored Coppin State in the paint, 28-22.
“I think (Bates’) game is better-suited when she can use her strength and get the ball deep and score,” McKeown said. “She’s a powerful rebounder, and she’s very strong. She’s got a great attitude and a free spirit.”
In the two games combined, John, Bates and Jazmine Adair have seen 38, 39 and 25 minutes, respectively.
Looking ahead to next weekend, McKeown said that he is unsure of who will be the featured post player against the stiff competition.
“I have to flip a coin on Tuesday at practice,” he joked about the roster decision. “Arizona has two (6-foot-6) girls, TCU has a great team and Maryland is the No. 1 team in the country, so whoever I start better be ready to play.”