In a resilient 74-66 victory over Liberty University (Va.) Sunday, the GW women’s basketball team rebounded from a loss to Tennessee on Thursday and an eight-point first half deficit to the Flames.
The Colonials shot a dismal 30 percent from the field in the first half while its opponents scored nearly 52 percent of the time. GW responded in the second half by connecting on 50 percent of its attempts and holding the Flames to 32 percent shooting from the field.
Liberty star guard/forward sophomore Megan Frazee dominated inside and out. She led the Flames with game-highs in 28 points and 10 rebounds. Her 18 points in the first half paced Liberty to an early lead.
“I thought we did a much better job on Megan Frazee (in the second half),” McKeown said. “We started to make shots. … We were much more aggressive in our presses and traps defensively; we made a little run there to start the second half. … We just couldn’t make a shot in the first half.”
The Colonials’ defense forced 17 turnovers, nine of which came in the second half. GW converted 25 points off turnovers, 14 were in the second half, igniting its comeback.
The game exuded a competitive and physical atmosphere throughout. The crowd became louder as the game grew longer. Liberty twice held leads of 12 points in the first half, but the Colonials drew the score even a number of times in the second period. The game featured nine ties. The Colonials led by only one with 1:31 remaining, but finished with a 7-0 run to seal the victory.
“The coaches told me to just keep shooting,” said senior Kenan Cole of the Colonials’ tumultuous start.
Like the game against Liberty, the Colonials’ second half performance versus Tennessee on Thursday dictated the outcome of the game. For the third time in two seasons, the Lady Volunteers up ended the Colonials; in the most recent installment, Tennessee drubbed the Colonials 85-62 in Knoxville, Tenn. Unlike their loss to the Lady Vols last March in the NCAA tournament, the women remained within striking distance at halftime, trailing 39-32. They unraveled in the second half, sinking less than 42 percent of their shots.
Other factors that seemed to bury GW were the free throw differential and Beck’s lack of an offensive output.
Against Tennessee, the Colonials committed 21 fouls, leading to 28 free throw attempts. Tennessee missed only five of those opportunities. In contrast, the Colonials walked to the free throw strip just 10 times.
In the game, Beck only attempted a single shot, a dozen fewer than the game against Liberty.
“They’re a good basketball team,” McKeown said. “They are well-coached, disciplined … I thought it was a good win for us.”