GREENSBORO, N.C., March 30 — This game was not the 25-point pounding the GW women’s basketball team took from Rutgers University in November. But in the NCAA Tournament, a loss is a loss, and the Colonials are going home.
The Sixth-seeded GW kept it close in the second half, but the Scarlet Knights dominated in the end, winning 53-42. Second-seeded Rutgers’ Essence Carson had 25 points to lead her squad, which shot more than 50 percent from the floor. The Colonials only made 32 percent of their shots.
The Scarlet Knights will face the University of Connecticut in the Elite Eight.
Junior Jessica Adair led GW (27-7) with 16 points, while senior Sarah-Jo Lawrence had 10.
Just as in the first match-up between the two squads, the No. 20/16 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) Colonials fell far behind in the first half. No. 7 Rutgers made a 20-2 run midway through the half and led by as much as 16 before the break.
“They were more aggressive than we were during their run,” senior Kim Beck said. “When we stopped them, we didn’t go down and score. We couldn’t trade baskets with them.”
Trailing by as much as 13 in the second half, though, GW went on an 8-0 run to pull within three. At this point, the game was much more of a contest, but the Colonials could not get enough shots to fall down the stretch. After pulling within four points late in the second half, the Colonials didn’t score in last 3:40.
“At halftime I told them, ‘Just have fun. Run up and down the floor and shoot the basketball,'” GW head coach Joe McKeown said. “I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half. We just had so many good chances when it was a four or five point game but it just wasn’t our night.”
Their shots may not have fallen, but the Colonials didn’t get much help from the referees either. In fact, there were a number of plays, including one where senior Kim Beck was trapped on the floor under Rutgers’ 6-foot-4 Kia Vaughn, that GW’s coaching staff either wanted a whistle from the referee or was visibly upset with a foul called on GW.
Even though the Colonials were able to silence two of Rutgers top players – Vaughn and guard Matee Ajavon – the Colonials could not handle them all and gave Carson the opportunity for a big night.
“Carson is a great player. We were trying to get the ball into other players hands, but she stepped up and hit shots,” Lawrence said.
The Rutgers loss is the end of the line for GW’s senior class, which notched more than 100 wins in their time at as Colonials. When asked what she would take away from her time at GW, Kim Beck didn’t hesitate.
“Definitely the relationships that I’ve made with teammates and coaches,” she said. “We really are close to a family out there and it’s gonna be hard missing these guys.”