If you didn’t know beforehand, you probably wouldn’t have pegged Tiana Myers as a freshman.
The first-year guard sat attentively behind the microphone at the post-game press conference Saturday, poised and polished, as she discussed the GW women’s basketball team’s 75-56 season-opening victory over UMBC that afternoon. There was no uncertainty or hesitation in her answers, no hint at her inexperience in that position.
All this was only appropriate after a game in which Myers, who tallied 11 points and four rebounds, and her classmates Tara Booker and Kay-Kay Allums figured prominently in a comeback win. The Colonials (1-0) found themselves in an early hole, trailing 24-9 to start the contest, but battled back to reclaim the lead before halftime and opened up a double-digit margin in the second period.
“There’s no fear in those guys,” first-year head coach Mike Bozeman said of his freshmen. “I don’t know if it’s that they’re so young they don’t understand what they’re doing or not, but I know one thing: I like it.”
The newcomers showed that lack of fear a number of times in the game, with their aggressive play suggesting a high level of comfort in their newfound environment. When GW squandered a small lead early in the second half, it was Allums who drained the jumpshot that put the Colonials back in front. A few possessions later, Allums found Booker beyond the arc for three of her 13 points in the game.
“If they’re comfortable now, wait until later on in the year,” Bozeman said. “It’s going to be great.”
Of course, not everyone was new to GW’s victory path. Senior and long-time frontcourt stalwart Jessica Adair exploited her height advantage over Retriever defenders, scoring the team’s first six points en route to a 15-point, nine-rebound performance.
Fellow senior Antelia Parrish paced the Colonials with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, but did not convert a field goal until driving to the basket for a layup more than 16 minutes into the game. She attacked the basket and scored again before the half and appeared to assert herself more in the second half, collecting eight of her total rebounds.
“Antelia is sometimes so passive and so unselfish that it’s hard to get her into the groove. That’s my biggest frustration with her most of the time,” Bozeman said. “She has to take on more of a scoring role consistently this year for us to be really good.”
Making her return to action was redshirt sophomore Ivy Abiona, who started at forward and tallied six points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 18 minutes. Abiona missed last season as she rehabbed a knee injury and at one point Saturday was slow to get up from a collision, but appeared to be fine as she smiled and made her way down court to the free-throw line.
Senior Lisa Steele was kept on the bench in what Bozeman described as a precautionary measure. Bozeman said Steele, who started and played nine minutes in the team’s exhibition game last week, is still dealing with the lingering effects of a foot injury that has plagued her during her GW career.
The team’s younger guards contributed in her stead, displaying a depth that Bozeman said the team lacked last year. He also noted that he hopes to get seniors Jazmine Adair and Jamila Bates more involved in the frontcourt as the team’s rotation takes shape.
“Sometimes I feel like we have so many parts it’s almost like a kid in a candy store,” he said.
The Colonials next host Coppin State Monday at Smith Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.