After a pair of lethargic victories and a conference loss, Saturday’s GW women’s basketball team’s match-up with a hot Charlotte did not seem like what the doctor had ordered. Instead, the Colonials wrote their own prescription.
GW (16-4, 4-1 Atlantic 10) ran Charlotte out of Smith Center by a score of 76-54 Saturday, outplaying the 49ers in nearly every facet of the game. The win is GW’s second in a row and the Colonials’ biggest offensive statement since their lopsided victory over Brown Jan. 6.
“It was definitely a statement to the A-10 and to ourselves,” senior Kim Beck said. “We have to pick up play of different levels. I still think we have to show some consistency, (but) it was a great game.”
The No. 20/17 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) Colonials did most of the talking in their statement win during the first half, when the Colonials nearly matched their entire output against La Salle in 20 minutes. GW shot almost 60 percent in the opening period while holding the last remaining undefeated team in the A-10 to 25 points.
“We knew we had to come send a message early. We didn’t play so well in the first half against La Salle and we wanted to clean that up this time, so we made it a point to come out hard on defense and really work hard, and that’s what we did,” Lawrence said.
GW’s patience on offense, she added, helped the team choose good spots to take shots.
Even after GW’s historic defensive effort against La Salle, GW players said that the Colonial defense could be improved. After dismantling Charlotte to the tune of 23 turnovers, Beck said that GW’s improvement was as much a mental transformation as it was anything else.
“We’re talking more and we’re in the position to play great defense,” she said. “We’re getting more in sync on defense and we played off each other a lot better today than we did in past games, so I think that had a lot to do with their turnovers.”
GW’s frontcourt starters combined for 35 points and 16 rebounds against the 49ers, and Charlotte coach Karen Aston said the Colonials’ post players were the difference in the game. GW head coach Joe McKeown said he was pleased specifically with the way junior Jessica Adair was able to make stretch Charlotte’s defense.
“I thought she got down the floor on their big kids really well and got position,” he said.
McKeown also reiterated a point he has made a couple times in the past two years, saying two healthy Adairs (Jessica and twin Jazmine) would truly make GW a post power. Unfortunately for McKeown, Jazmine Adair has been under the weather recently and a practice with both sisters on the court is a relative rarity.
Though the A-10 conference has shown this season that no team is immune from defeat, the Colonials’ chance to make some noise on a national stage will come in March. The Colonials have beaten a pair of ranked teams already this season, but also fell hard to national power Rutgers in November. Still, Aston had some serious words of praise for McKeown’s group.
“Their defense is good enough to play against anybody. And when they shoot well, I think they can beat anybody,” she said.
The Colonials’ next match-up comes against Dayton, Jan. 29. The Flyers will come to Foggy Bottom Tuesday for the 7 p.m. tip at Smith Center.