Women’s Basketball: For GW, loss is not the end

PHILADELPHIA, March 9 — This weekend’s Atlantic 10 tournament was supposed to be a chance for the seniors of the GW women’s basketball team to put a feather in their caps, capturing the conference tournament crown that eluded them over their illustrious careers. After Saturday’s dominant victory over Rhode Island, the Colonials appeared to start off on the right foot.

But instead of continuing the weekend and ending it in celebration, the team seemed to be in mourning after Sunday’s 63-59 loss to Xavier that abruptly cut their quest short. A trio of players traipsed into the makeshift press conference in an auxiliary gym, slumping behind microphones with a tangible, defeated uneasiness that suggested both shock and disappointment.

“That was our goal,” senior Kim Beck said of winning the A-10 tournament. “This was our last chance to do it and we didn’t get it done.”

It wasn’t just the seniors’ expiring window of opportunity that triggered the frustration. Juniors Jessica Adair and Antelia Parrish looked equally despondent as they answers before escaping to address pressing matters and try to move on.

When the team returns home and practice resumes, the attention will shift to the upcoming NCAA tournament, a bigger stage on which the Colonials can define their season and the seniors their careers. The sting of Sunday’s defeat will wear off, Beck said, and it will be back to business.

“It hurts, but we’ve got to keep moving,” she said. “We still have other goals.”

Head coach Joe McKeown, though displaying a similar sense of letdown, echoed Beck’s sentiments. He recalled last year’s similar experience, when GW was also upset in the semifinals of the conference tournament in a game decided in the closing minutes. They were able to rebound a few weeks later, winning their first two games in the NCAA tournament before falling to national powerhouse North Carolina in the Sweet 16.

“I think that will help us,” McKeown said of the team’s experiences last March. “I’m excited about it.”

Yet Sunday afternoon, before finding out where they will be heading in two weeks, before refocusing and before that excitement could grow, there was dissatisfaction at the business left unfinished in the City of Brotherly Love.

“Believe me, I wish we were going to come home tomorrow night with a trophy,” McKeown said. “But I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep. I’ll lose some.”

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