WEB UPDATE: Women’s team advances to second round of NCAA Tournament

After an almost two-week hiatus, the No. 5-seed GW women’s basketball team took the court Saturday afternoon to face No. 12-seed Boise State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Despite the lengthy break since the Colonials’ early exit in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament on March 4, GW showed it wasn’t rusty, taking an early 19-0 lead and continuing on to a 76-67 victory.

“We hadn’t played in a while, so we were anxious to get out and play (and) get the game started,” junior Kim Beck said. “Last game we didn’t come off as well as we wanted to, so we were anxious to get going.”

Sophomore Jessica Adair’s 15-point, 21-rebound performance is telling of the team’s play. Adair was one of four players in double digits for the Colonials (27-3), along with senior Kenan Cole (16 points) and sophomore Sarah-Jo Lawrence and Beck (14 points apiece). Junior Whitney Allen added 11 rebounds as GW out-rebounded its opponent 57-32.

“Jessica is only a sophomore, but when she gets rolling, she’s one of the premier players in college basketball,” GW head coach Joe McKeown said. “She’s still learning.”

The Broncos (24-9), who received an automatic bid to the tournament as the Western Athletic Conference tournament champions, had two players in double digits: senior Nadia Begay, with 26 points, and sophomore Tasha Harris, who had 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Colonials’ first-half performance was a dominating one. Boise State did not put a point on the board until 12:42 remained in the first half and GW led 44-25 at halftime as Beck hit a 30-foot three-pointer at the buzzer.

The Colonials led by 35 with just under 10 minutes to play, its largest lead of the game, but Boise State would not go quietly. The Broncos fought back and the game ended with Boise State on a 29-13 run.

“You want to finish the game strong,” McKeown said. “We had a little meltdown, but we played great basketball.”

This is the Colonials’ fifth-straight tournament appearance and its 14th in the past 17 years. They will next face No. 4-seed Texas A&M Monday. The two teams have never met.

-Nick Gingold contributed to this report from Los Angeles

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