Before Sunday’s match-up with Coppin State, GW women’s basketball head coach Joe McKeown was asked how he was feeling after missing the team’s season opener on Friday, a 72-58 win over Maryland-Baltimore County. McKeown had been absent from Foggy Bottom for much of the week due to flu-like symptoms.
“I’m here,” McKeown said. “We’ll see how I feel when the game is over.”
Junior Sarah-Jo Lawrence’s career-high 22-point performance in the Colonials’ 63-53 win might have helped alleviate McKeown’s illness. The guard also had 12 points against UMBC, one of five players in double figures against the Retrievers.
“You just let her run it out. You try not to limit what she can do because she is just so explosive,” McKeown said of Lawrence.
Junior Whitney Allen registered the Colonials’ first double-double of the season, pouring in 12 points with 11 rebounds in 35 minutes Sunday. Classmate Kimberly Beck had 12 points on Friday followed by 11 points on Sunday, nine of which came from the charity stripe. Despite shooting 1-for-7 from the floor, Beck said she wasn’t disappointed with her play.
“Nothing was really falling for me, but nine points off free-throws, that’ll work out too,” she said.
The two wins, both by double digits, begin a week off for the Colonials before arguably its most important pre-conference weekend of the season. GW (2-0) faces Arizona, Texas Christian University and No. 1 Maryland Nov. 17-19 in the BTI Classic at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md.
Despite causing 19 turnovers, the Colonials allowed two Coppin State players to reach double figures; senior Talia Sutton had 10 points while junior Rashida Suber, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year, contributed 16 points. McKeown said that he believed Allen did a good job guarding Suber in the second half.
“I thought our kids for the most part stayed between (their girls) and the basket pretty well,” McKeown said. “Whitney Allen did a great job on her in the second half.”
Another player who showed promise in the Colonials’ opening weekend was red-shirt sophomore Lisa Steele. In just seven minutes on the floor against UMBC, Steele recorded 11 points and in nine minutes against Coppin State, she added seven points. Steele also hit two three-point shots in each game.
“She gives us a big shot,” McKeown said. “She was terrific the other night. We just have to get her healthy to where she can take more minutes.”
In replacement of sophomore twins Jazmine and Jessica Adair, who are both injured, sophomores Chantelle John and Jamila Bates saw additional playing time and proved to be valuable commodities. John had 11 points Friday while Bates had nine points Sunday. Bates and John both said that they feel more comfortable and have begun to learn their respective roles on the team.
Sunday’s game missed the high scoring of senior Kenan Cole, who led the Colonials with 14 points during Friday’s victory. The guard was 0-for-6 from the field against the Eagles. Lawrence said she thinks that Cole will bounce back to usual form.
“Kenan’s a big part of this team. If she’s having an off night, the only thing she can do is keep shooting. We have confidence in Kenan. She’ll be fine,” Lawrence said.
Allen said she believes her team is ready to play Arizona, TCU and Maryland and that the competition should be prepared for what the Colonials have to offer.
“I feel like we’re a top gun (team) too, so they need to be ready for GW,” Allen said. “We’re definitely fired up.”