She first arrived in Foggy Bottom as a transfer nearly a year ago, but when Antelia Parrish stepped on the court in her new white uniform Friday night, it was her first opportunity to show the GW basketball community what she could do. She did not let it go to waste.
Falling three assists short of what would have been the third triple-double in the team’s history, Parrish’s 18 points and 11 rebounds paved the way for the No. 14/13 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) women’s basketball team’s romp of the DT-3 All-Stars, 95-68.
“I was nervous a little bit, but my team definitely helped me get through it,” Parrish said after the game. “After the first couple of minutes of just going up and down the court, (I realized that) it’s just basketball, and I just went out there and played.”
Head coach Joe McKeown reminded reporters that this is a fresh experience for the 6-foot guard/forward, but also made it clear that Parrish’s talent will be an integral component of GW’s play this season.
“Everything for her is new. She hasn’t played in a year, and she’s still trying to find her way on the floor,” McKeown said. “She has great natural instincts and natural talent, so it’s really more of a question of getting minutes under her belt. By the time we get to (conference play in January), I think she’ll be much more of a consistent player.”
Parrish started the game on the floor alongside GW’s backbone of senior guards Sarah-Jo Lawrence and Kim Beck as well as defensive stalwart Whitney Allen. In Friday’s victory, however, Allen appeared more focused on making offensive plays than in previous years, taking 12 shots from the floor and tallying 13 points.
“I was open, so I shot. I just wanted to be aggressive,” Allen said. When asked if she planned on scoring more this season to couple her defensive strength, Allen smiled and simply said, “I can do both.”
If the Colonials hope to establish themselves as a Final Four-worthy team this season, like they said they think they can be, McKeown will likely need the staunch defensive play of Allen and the offensive abilities of Lawrence, Beck and Parrish, as well as top play from junior twins Jazmine and Jessica Adair.
Parrish’s performance against DT-3 spoke for itself. Beck had 13 points, including nine points from behind the arc, while Lawrence had eight points in 18 minutes. Last season she averaged 13.4 points in 31.8 minutes per game.
Jessica was the more impressive Adair, scoring 12 points in 17 minutes. Jazmine had five points in 21 minutes.
McKeown said neither of the Adairs were in full force. Jessica was hurt in a recent scrimmage against Penn State, and McKeown added that Jazmine has not been able to practice much.
“I was trying to get Jazmine going,” he said of choosing to start the forward. “She just hasn’t been able to practice a lot. I’m looking for her to step up. For us to win on a national level, she’s got to play well.”
“If I could ever get the two of them on the same page at the same time, my life would be so easy,” he said.
GW has a week to get healthy and prepare for its season opener at Maryland-Baltimore County Nov. 9.