GW’s women’s basketball team knew a win over Rutgers University Sunday wouldn’t come easy. What the Colonials probably didn’t know was just how easy No. 6/7 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) Rutgers’s victory would come.
Rutgers built an early lead over No. 14/12 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) GW and never looked back, dismantling the Colonials 67-42.
GW coach Joe McKeown used one word to describe his feelings after Sunday’s letdown: embarrassment.
“I’m embarrassed by our effort,” he said. “I promise you you’re not going to see that again the rest of this year, or you’ll see people changing uniforms very quickly.”
Rutgers jumped out to a ten-point lead just eight minutes into the game and extended the margin to 17 before the break. GW missed 14 of 15 field goal attempts during the span.
After watching her three-point attempt bounce around the rim before falling out, senior Kim Beck appeared visibly frustrated, rapidly coming to the realization that it would not be her, or her team’s, night.
“We just couldn’t make a shot in the first half,” McKeown said, “When things aren’t going your way and they’re making every shot, it just snowballs a little bit and we couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
Rutgers defenders hounded GW players in the paint and on the perimeter, making it tough for the Colonials to get good looks at the basket – and the few good looks they had were often squandered.
“They made us work for every basket we got,” Beck said. “They challenged us on defense and we didn’t really respond very well. They shut us down.”
Beck, classmate Sarah-Jo Lawrence and junior Jessica Adair each scored nine points to lead GW, but no Colonial was able to get into an offensive rhythm. Rutgers, on the other hand, seemed to control the momentum of the game, hitting big shots whenever the Colonials showed signs of life. The Scarlet Knights’ Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson were a combined 7-for-10 from beyond the three-point line and took advantage of GW defensive miscues.
Part of GW’s misfortune might have come from simply being in the wrong place on Rutgers’ schedule. The Scarlet Knights came to Foggy Bottom fresh off a frustrating loss last week to Stanford in which they lost the game in the final second. After their sub-par performance Friday against Creighton, coach C. Vivian Stringer was forced to light a fire under her squad before its GW clash.
“I’ve been kind of frustrated with the way we’ve been playing, it’s been kind of sluggish,” she said. “It was great to see that we can shut people down.”
The Colonial faithful turned out in higher numbers than usual for Sunday’s marquee matchup against Rutgers, totaling 3,864 in attendance. McKeown, who had been pushing fan attendance, apologized to fans for his team’s weak performance.
“There was a tremendous atmosphere to start the game tonight and I hope (tonight’s game) doesn’t discourage people from coming back, but the game got away from us early,” he said. “I apologize to the fans who came out tonight, because they were expecting to see a great game.”
GW’s point total was its lowest at Smith Center in nearly 24 years, and the loss ended its 15-game winning streak at home.
GW next plays host to South Dakota State Friday at 5 p.m. as part of the GW Thanksgiving Classic. The Colonials will face Western Kentucky the next day at 5:30 p.m.