WEB UPDATE: Women top Dayton in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, March 3 — Despite a slow start and sloppy play to begin its first game in six days, the GW women’s basketball team took control late in the first half and the second half to coast to a 61- 45 victory over No. 9-seed Dayton Saturday afternoon at Cintas Center here in Ohio. The Colonials will now face No. 5-seed Saint Joseph’s in a semifinal match-up Sunday.

The No. 8/9 Colonials (AP, ESPN/USA Today) had trouble putting the ball in the basket in the first 12 minutes of the game before a 12-2 run put GW (26-2, 15-0) up 10 to take a 31-21 lead at the half. A similar 10-0 run to begin the second period gave the Colonials a 20-point edge over the Flyers (12-19, 6-9), who defeated No. 8-seed La Salle in the first round Friday afternoon.

“We had a lot more energy in the second half than we were showing in the first half,” coach Joe McKeown said. “We were a much better team (than in the first half. In the first half,) we were waiting to see what Dayton was going to do instead of taking control of the game.”

“Dayton came out hard, everyone is going to come out hard because if you lose you go home,” junior Kim Beck said. “We came out a little flat but as soon as we picked things up, we knew things would be fine.”

Sophomore Jessica Adair, who appeared to be the only Colonial not struggling offensively in the first half with 10 points, led all scoring with 14 points. She also had five blocks, tying her career high. Senior Kenan Cole also added 10 points. Dayton junior Brittany Holterman scored 10 points.

The Colonials’ large lead in the second half allowed McKeown to experiment with his bench, especially with sophomores Faith Peters and Chantelle John, who clocked 17 and 10 minutes, respectively. McKeown acknowledged the importance of giving more players floor time and lauded Peters, who had six points off two three-point shots, for her play off the bench.

“In tournament play, you’re not going to have that many opportunities to rest (the players) who are going to play a lot of minutes,” McKeown said. “Faith Peters really helped us today. She hit a big three (with 9:18 remaining in the game, putting GW up by 18). It kind of closed the door a little bit.”

The Colonials’ semifinal match-up against Saint Joe’s, who defeated No. 4-seed Charlotte in the quarterfinals, is set for noon at Cintas Center.

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