When Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt walked into the Smith Center Tuesday night, she received a loud standing ovation from her many fans. The Lady Vols’ faithful were so loud, in fact, that it seemed like the game might as well have been played in Knoxville – especially because GW fans remained relatively quiet early on.
But two Colonials made sure their fans got involved once the game started – and it wasn’t the usual suspects.
Summitt’s Lady Vols were able to successfully keep the Colonials’ leading scorers, center Jessica Adair and forward Antelia Parrish, from being too effective in the Colonials’ loss, but freshmen Tara Booker and Tiana Myers contributed and kept the Colonials relatively close for the entire game.
With Parrish and Adair unable to contribute, the game presented an opportunity for GW head coach Mike Bozeman’s younger players to play and carry the team, Bozeman said after the game. It was an opportunity which Booker and Myers seized in what became their most high-profile collegiate game yet.
Booker, the Colonials’ leading scorer in the game with 14 points, scored all of the team’s three-pointers and was also a physical presence on the court. With time winding down in the first half and GW struggling to stay with the Lady Vols, she hit a deep three-pointer that sent GW into the half with some life.
“Tara Booker is going to be a star,” said Bozeman. “She showed it tonight and there will be plenty more opportunities to showcase in the next years.”
Myers came off the bench in the second half, contributing 10 points and making all four of her free throws. The Colonials struggled with free throws early in the game, missing their first six opportunities, but Booker contributed with two clutch scores midway through the second half too.
With six minutes left in the game, Myers followed up two free throws with a rainbow shot that managed to find its way into the basket, cutting Tennessee’s lead to two points – the closest the game had been all night.
“We were able to step up in today’s game, which was great,” Myers said. “But we still have to work on the small things.”
Bozeman said that his freshmen have seen more playing time in recent games, and he intends to continue giving them exposure. He also said he is looking to freshmen Sara Mostafa and Kayla Miller to start contributing soon. In the meantime, Booker is the team’s leading three-point shooter – and along with a few of her freshman teammates, she is making her presence felt.