With team leader Kim Beck sitting out due to illness, the spotlight of the GW women’s basketball team shone brighter than usual on the Colonials’ tenacious frontcourt Wednesday. But in Massachusetts, GW’s big bodies proved that stage fright would not be an issue.
The No. 14/13 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) Colonials rolled into Amherst on the heels of a dominating 27-point victory over Richmond and kept the momentum on the move, beating the Minutewomen 69-45. GW’s latest victory ensures that the 2007-08 season will be the ninth consecutive year that the Colonials will reach 20 victories.
Junior Jessica Adair was nearly lights out from the floor, tallying 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting for GW (20-4, 8-1 Atlantic 10). Senior Whitney Allen was just as remarkable, posting 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and pulling down 11 rebounds as well.
“They were great. They were tremendous,” head coach Joe McKeown said after the game. “Whitney, in the first half, helped keep the lead in double figures and I thought that was really important.”
GW held the Minutewomen to 45 points, its lowest total this season. Senior Kate Mills was the team’s lone offensive threat, scoring 17 points including three three-pointers. Pam Rosanio had eight points for UMass.
The Colonials’ 24-point win was by far their largest winning margin away from Smith Center this year, and likely a welcome relief for Colonial followers afraid that GW had trouble producing on the road. For McKeown, however, Wednesday’s win showed something else – that the Colonials could bring home a victory without the senior Beck, whose absence from the court was her first-ever missed game since arriving in Foggy Bottom.
“The most important thing was that we showed we can play without Kim Beck tonight,” McKeown said in a phone interview. “I don’t ever want to play without her, but our kids really stepped up tonight. Erica (Rivera) and Stefani (Munro) both played real well.”
After nearly every game since GW started conference play, McKeown has been asked the same question: how will GW’s bench fit into its game plan down the stretch? Against the Minutewomen, the non-starting Colonials got a chance to strut their stuff, with the usual bench players logging 94 minutes and contributing 27 points.
Rivera just missed a career-high with 21 minutes and the oft-injured Jazmine Adair and Lisa Steele each played 19 minutes against Massachusetts, scoring 11 and 6 points, respectively.
“Lisa Steele hit big shots. I thought they were really important and came at the right time,” McKeown said, adding that Jazmine Adair will be a “big key” for GW down the stretch.
GW’s next match-up will be at St. Bonaventure at 4:30 p.m., Saturday McKeown says that hopefully, Beck will be back for that game.