Monday, March 24, 12:50 a.m.
STANFORD, Calif., March 23 — It has been more than six years since the GW women’s basketball team has lost in the state of California. On Monday, the Colonials will put that streak on the line against the school that bears the same name.
The sixth-seeded Colonials will face the third-seeded University of California in the second-round of the NCAA tournament Monday evening at Maples Pavilion, in search of their second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. GW earned the chance to battle the Bears with a 66-56 victory over Auburn University Saturday.
The match-up is likely to feature a battle in the paint between the Colonials’ twin towers of Jazmine and Jessica Adair and third-seeded Cal’s Ashley Walker and Devanei Hampton. Walker and Hampton are the core of the Bears’ squad, leading the team with a combined 29.1 points and 17.3 rebounds per game. The Adairs, though, have the edge in height.
“Cal presents some different challenges for us,” GW head coach Joe McKeown said Sunday afternoon. “Obviously, they have a strong inside game with Hampton and Walker.” McKeown complimented the third-seeded Bears’ perimeter presence in guard Alexis Gray-Lawson as well.
The Bears advanced to the second-round of the NCAA tournament for just the second time in their history Saturday, toppling the University of San Diego by a score of 77-60. Hampton and Walker were the only Bears in double figures, posting 22 and 21 points, respectively.
In that game, Cal’s 6-foot-5 reserve center Rama N’diaye injured her right knee and will likely be unavailable for Monday’s tilt. That loss will shorten Cal’s bench and likely force the team’s interior players to log more minutes against GW.
“Staying out of foul trouble is a big part of our gameplan,” Walker said.
With Cal’s inside presence, the Colonials will likely need to improve upon some shoddy rebounding against Auburn that had them trailing in the second half. Auburn’s ability to crash the offensive glass made it difficult for the Colonials to keep the Tigers from scoring at times, and McKeown said keeping Walker’s rebounding in check will be one of the Colonials’ main goals on Monday.
Monday’s game will tip at 5 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. Eastern Time.