COLLEGE PARK, Md., Nov. 17- Heading into the BTI Classic Nov. 17 here at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center, it appeared as though the No. 25 GW women’s basketball team’s (ESPN/USA Today) toughest opponent would be No. 1 Maryland (AP/USA Today), the defending national champions, whom the squad would face on Sunday. The Colonials, had their hands full in their opening game against Arizona escaping with a 69-65 win.
After allowing GW (3-0) to score the first six points of the game, the Wildcats went on a 15-0 run early in the first half, to take a nine-point lead. The Colonials struggled through the remainder of the half, never regaining the lead before trailing 25-24 at intermission.
“In the first half, we made a lot of mistakes,” said senior Kenan Cole, who ended the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds. “(Head coach Joe McKeown) said (during halftime) that if we cleaned up the mistakes we made and if we came out a lot harder, that we would be fine. We just had to keep shooting. They go in, they go out, but you’ve got to keep putting it up.”
Sophomore Jessica Adair, who missed the first two games of the season due to a shoulder injury, was key in the team’s victory. Adair scored a career-high 22 points coupled with 7 rebounds, a performance that McKeown said is indicative of what the guard is capable of accomplishing.
“I’m not ready to anoint her the queen of GW basketball because I just need her to recover from injuries and get her on the floor, but she’s capable of changing the game,” he said of Jessica, who also made 10 of 12 free throws.
Adair’s twin, Jazmine, was dressed but did not see the court due to a stress fracture in her foot, Jessica said. Jessica also added that her sister is able to play but will likely miss extensive time over the next two weeks until the injury heals.
Junior Sarah-Jo Lawrence posted her third consecutive double-digit performance this season, tallying 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. She said that the team is not disappointed with the result and instead is ready to improve on the mistakes made against the Wildcats in tomorrow’s match-up against TCU, who lost 82-61 to Maryland Friday evening.
“We played in spurts tonight, but we had some good spurts,” Lawrence said. “We need to capitalize on that and take those parts of the game into the rest of the weekend. We need to make sure we don’t have the same problems we did today.”
Arizona forced 18 Colonial turnovers and also showed three players in double-digits. Junior Ashley Whisonant led her squad with 20 points, followed by senior Joy Hollingsworth, who added 15 points, and freshman Rheya Neabors, who had 10 points. The close score does not worry the Colonials heading into Saturday’s game against the Lady Frogs, McKeown said.
“Arizona’s a good quality team. I thought it was a good win for us,” McKeown said. “I’m not worried about tomorrow based on what we did tonight. I’m excited about tomorrow and I think TCU is a different type of team.”
GW tips off Saturday’s game at 2 p.m. at the Comcast Center.