Saturday, March 8, 9:43 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA, March 8 — Everything from drizzle to downpours have been coming out of the Philadelphia sky this weekend, but Saturday at the GW women’s basketball team’s game with Rhode Island, mother nature wasn’t the only one making it rain.
The match-up was postponed more than two hours due to a leak in the ceiling here at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse at Saint Joseph’s, but once GW hit the hardwood, it was the Colonials that were making things fall from the sky.
No. 13/12 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) GW dispatched of Rhode Island with ease in the Atlantic 10 Championship quarterfinal, 70-43. Four players hit double figures for the Colonials in a game that not only advances them to the A-10 semifinal, but also sends a message to the rest of conference: they are ready to take the title home.
“We came here to win the tournament,” senior Kim Beck said after the game. “We’re not here to go out early; we’re here to cut down nets.”
For a team that has had a pair of weaker losses this season (UNLV in November and St. Bonaventure in February) and an early exit from last year’s A-10 tournament, such a dominating victory seems to be a sign that the Colonials are unwilling to accept anything less than a conference championship. For Beck and the rest of the GW senior class, this weekend is the last chance to take home the honor that has eluded them all three of their previous seasons in Foggy Bottom.
“We’re not going to play around,” said Beck, who had 11 points. “We’ve got one goal in mind, that’s to win the whole tournament and I think we showed everybody we’re about business this weekend.”
Junior Jessica Adair led the Colonials (25-5, 13-2 A-10) with 12 points, while seniors Whitney Allen and Sarah-Jo Lawrence and Beck all added 11. Lawrence sat out nearly the entire second half with ice wrapped around her left shoulder, but head coach Joe McKeown said Lawrence would be all right and that one would have to “bring her on a stretcher to keep her out this weekend.”
While GW scored just a point more than their average scoring from this season, a more staggering statistic might be the 22 turnovers GW forced from Rhode Island. McKeown has said in the past that GW is a defensive-minded team and that was echoed in Saturday’s win.
“I was really pleased with the effort there,” McKeown said. “We have to turn people over, we have to get after people. Our defense has to carry us, and I think tonight it did,”
Last year, the Colonials beat Dayton 61-45 in the A-10 quarterfinal, but fell to Saint Joseph’s 57-55 in their next game. For GW to be successful in this year’s semifinal, they will likely need to keep that momentum from Saturday’s victory going and keep the tempo up for their next match-up.
“We need to set the pace early like we did today. We need to be really aggressive in the frontcourt. That’s just what we do, and we need to carry that over,” Beck said.
GW will play the winner of tonight’s match-up between Saint Joe’s and Xavier tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.