Monday, March 24, 12:50 a.m.
STANFORD, Calif., March 23 — A day after defeating Auburn University in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the sixth-seeded GW women’s basketball team is gearing up to take the court against third-seeded University of California Monday. Senior Kim Beck said her team had a good practice Sunday afternoon but is looking forward to tomorrow’s tip.
“We’re all excited to be here. Practice was good and we needed a rest but we just want to get out there and play,” Beck said. “All the waiting around is nice but we want to get out there and play against someone other than ourselves.”
“I think in a way, when you win a game in the NCAA tournament, you want to play again,” coach Joe McKeown added. “You really don’t want to sit and watch scouting reports and films. These guys want to play. If you’re a player, you’d rather just play Saturday and get excited to play Monday.”
Lawrence not injured after hard hit
Senior Sarah-Jo Lawrence collided with one of Auburn’s defenders during the second half of the GW women’s basketball team’s 66-56 win over the Tigers in the first round of the NCAA tournament here. She had to be helped off the court and needed medical attention on the bench afterward.
Lawrence returned to the game shortly but was tentative for a while. When asked Sunday if she was 100 percent after taking such a hard hit, she said she was ready to go.
Cal coach familiar with defense
Though the two programs have never met, Cal coach Joanne Boyle was the head coach at Atlantic 10 member Richmond for three seasons before arriving in California three years ago. Because of this, she is familiar with teams headed by McKeown. Her final year with the Spiders was also GW seniors’ Sarah-Jo Lawrence, Kim Beck and Whitney Allen’s first in Foggy Bottom, so Boyle also knows how those three play.
Boyle said Sunday that it is helpful that she has seen GW’s signature blizzard defense before, which is unique in the women’s game and is known for confusing offenses with the way it presses offenses.
“It’s helpful in that I know how to exploit it,” Boyle said. “In the A-10 I didn’t have (Cal forwards) Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton so I would hope we can face it and do a better job than (Richmond was) able to in the Atlantic 10.”
Auburn also knew the blizzard from when the two teams met this season in early January. But unlike in that game, where the players were familiar with the style in addition to the coaches, the Bears have not come across the blizzard this season. Boyle said her team had faced a lot of different kinds of defenses and a lot of tough presses during the Pac-10 season.
Foul trouble going to be key
Because the game is likely going to be a battle inside, staying out of foul trouble will be key for both squads. The bulk of the Bears’ scoring is from Walker and Hampton while GW junior forward Jessica Adair leads the Colonials in points per game. Jessica and twin Jazmine were in foul trouble most of the game in the Altantic 10 semifinals, a 63-59 loss, and have picked up quick fouls in many games this season.
When asked how important a role fouls are going to play in tomorrow’s game, Boyle said “huge for both teams.”
“Anytime you’re banging down in the post, there’s room for picking up fouls,” she said.
Beck going for assists season record
Beck tied the program’s season assist record against Auburn with 197 for the year. Beck is currently second for the program in career assists and will likely break former GW standout Colleen McCrea’s decade-old record Monday evening. She also holds the fourth, fifth and sixth spots on the list from her first three years on the team. She averages just more than six assists per game.