BALTIMORE, Nov. 9
It didn’t look like anything special, but Kim Beck’s lofty rainbow three-pointer from the left wing did much more than ice the women’s basketball team’s 79-59 win over the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Friday.
Beck’s basket with just under four minutes remaining in the second half made the Georgia native the 23rd Colonial to tally 1,000 points. But in typical Beck fashion, she put the focus on the team’s effort.
“I guess it’s a nice accomplishment, but we we’re focused on wining the game,” she said. “That’s just kind of something on the side.”
For Beck and company, extra focus may have been needed to ensure the victory over the Retrievers. No. 14/13 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) GW was 20 points ahead of UMBC when the final buzzer rang, but the Retrievers were down by no more than seven until the half and twice had the lead against a GW squad that many expect to put up big numbers.
The Colonials hit just a third of their shots in the first half and could not break away from the perfect free throw shooting of the Retrievers, who hit all 10 of their foul shots in the first period. UMBC hounded GW’s frontcourt stars, twins Jazmine and Jessica Adair, and held the pair to no points in the first half, forcing GW to take shots from outside the paint.
“It’s frustrating, because we had a big size advantage tonight,” GW coach Joe McKeown said after the game. “UMBC packed it in and made us shoot it outside. We’ve got to learn how to play against that kind of pressure.”
Junior transfer Antelia Parrish showed rare versatility for a player of her size (6 foot) in her first game at GW, scoring 17 points on three of seven shooting from three-point territory and also bringing the ball up on occasion in a point-forward role.
The Colonials seemed to return to dominating form in the second half, controlling the boards and turning UMBC miscues into Colonial baskets, but the senior Beck noted after the game that if the Colonials hope to keep their national ranking, they will need to bring more energy to the floor.
“I just don’t think we came out with any fire,” she said. “People are looking to beat us. We’re 14th in the country, and we’ve got to play like that every second. I think that’s what we didn’t do tonight.”
Some of Beck’s team-high 20 points came from the wing, as Erica Rivera, GW’s only freshman, ran the offense for a much of her 15 minutes of play. Rivera struggled, missing all four of her shots from the floor and coughing the ball up four times as well, but McKeown voiced his support for the young Colonial and added that once the Colonials are able to recover from injuries, lineups will smooth out.
“We’ve got to get healthy. Once we get healthy, I think we’ll have a better rotation,” he said, adding that the versatility of seniors Whitney Allen and Sarah-Jo Lawrence as well as Parrish help the Colonials fill each position every time they hit the floor.
GW travels south Monday night to tip-off at 7 p.m. against Virginia, a team that qualified for last year’s Women’s National Invitation Tournament and was picked to finish sixth in the loaded Atlantic Coast Conference. To prepare for the Cavaliers, McKeown said the Colonials need to focus on improving their play inside.
“Our big kids have got to play better. I think they will,” he said. “It’ll be a great game.”