RICHMOND, Feb. 27 – On a basketball team made of seasoned veterans such as seniors Kim Beck and Sarah-Jo Lawrence, it can be hard to make your mark or even get enough floor time to make any impact. But for Erica Rivera, a freshman and heir apparent to the point guard position, the rookie woes seem to be starting to wear off.
“I’m progressing as the year goes on,” the 5-foot-8 guard from Elizabeth City, N.C., said after the Colonials’ 75-59 victory over Richmond Wednesday. “Coach Taj (Ngongba) is always telling me to pick it up. She wants me to get to fifth gear. She keeps telling me that as we go along I’m progressing, and that’s what they need me to do.”
Rivera had only one basket against the Spiders, but she looked like a player who exuberated confidence. After stepping on the floor for the first time early in the first half, Rivera got the ball on the left wing and without hesitation stepped up and knocked down a three-pointer. Minutes later on the other end of the floor, Rivera stepped in to take a strong charge and earn GW possession of the ball.
After three slow halves, Lawrence gets hot in second
Senior Sarah-Jo Lawrence had just four points on 2-of-11 shooting in GW’s win over Saint Joseph’s Feb. 24, and she opened Wednesday’s game 2-of-6, missing a pair of open three-pointers early on. The second period against Richmond showed a different basketball player, though, as Lawrence hit 50 percent of her shots in the latter half and added 15 points to lead the Colonials to victory.
“I think when we’re on the attack it’s so much easier to get into the flow of your jumper,” Lawrence said. “When we’re slowing down and basically playing the pace of the other team, that’s not our pace. When we can take pull-up jumpers off the break, those are the kinds of shots we like, and that’s the pace we need to play at to get the shots we like.”
Beating a team twice is no issue for Colonials, Beck says
While one school of thought argues that it’s tough to beat a team twice because an opponent has more time to study a team’s tendencies, senior Kim Beck said taking down the Spiders for the second time this season was not that big of a deal.
That issue could have come into play for the Colonials, as GW has already taken down 10 Atlantic 10 teams this season and will have to win three games in the Atlantic 10 Championship to take home top honors.
Beck said, “It is a little tougher to play someone twice or three times (if we play Richmond again) but you know it’s still a game and you still gotta do it. That’s just the way the tournament is designed.”