For the No. 19/21 GW (AP, ESPN/USAToday) women’s basketball team, trailing early before pulling out a win has become a trend this season. Three of GW’s victories have come after trailing at halftime, while another saw the Colonials with only a two-point advantage midway through the game. Against Liberty University (Va.) Sunday, GW found itself with an eight-point deficit at the break before a 74-66 win.
“I thought it was a tale of two halves,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “I thought the biggest positive we had in the first half was getting (their lead to) under double digits at half time. They were in control the entire first half. We were a lot more aggressive in the second half.”
Liberty sophomore Megan Frazee scored 28 points, 18 in the first half, in the loss to the Colonials (8-2).
Despite outscoring the Flames (5-3) by 16 points in the second half, GW shot 40 percent from the field for the game, just below Liberty’s 41.8-percent showing. Senior Kenan Cole, who had a team-high 15 points, shot 6-for-16 from the floor, including 0-for-4 from behind the arc. Junior Kim Beck, who had three points in one attempt in the Colonials’ 85-62 loss at No. 6/5 Tennessee Thursday, had 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
“(After the Tennessee game), I said (to Beck) ‘shoot.’ She’s a great shooter,” McKeown said. “Against Tennessee, she played a great floor game. Against them, you have to find your offense from different places. We needed her probably to look a little more at some shots. Today, she knocked down some big ones. She’s just one of those clutch players. She does whatever you have to do to win the game.”
Beck said practice is important for improving GW’s shooting.
“You practice shooting the same shot every time,” Beck said. “If you stick with it, it’s going to fall eventually.”
The squad also had three other players in double digits. Sophomore Jessica Adair and junior Sarah-Jo Lawrence each had 13 points, while junior Whitney Allen added 11 points.
The ability to look to many players for scoring has grown over the season; something that Cole said comes with experience.
“I think the more we play together, the more we learn to know where people are going to be in the offense. We’re able to get people open looks,” Cole said.
In the game against Tennessee, the Colonials never led but did cut the Lady Vols’ lead to four early in the second half before a 21-3 Lady Vols run deflated GW’s hopes of pulling off the upset. And while Tennessee is a power program, McKeown said that Liberty is often underrated.
“They’re a good basketball team,” McKeown said. “They probably don’t get the credit, but they’re a well-coached, really good team.” The Flames made the Sweet 16 two years ago and qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.
The Colonials will next face Auburn Dec. 16 and Georgia Dec. 28, two opponents from the Southeastern Conference. GW will also take on Brown or San Diego State Dec. 30 before beginning Atlantic 10 Conference play in January.