Women lose in final moments

With the clock winding down in Richmond, Va., Saturday night, mere seconds separated the GW women’s basketball team from collecting their first road victory of the season and snapping a three-game losing streak.

But the Spiders’ Danielle Belle delayed the former and extended the latter, banking a shot off the glass with less than two seconds remaining. The basket pushed Richmond in front 66-65, a score that would become final after senior Antelia Parrish’s last-ditch three-point attempt failed to connect.

The Colonials (7-8, 0-1 Atlantic 10) trailed most of the game, allowing their hosts to open a double-digit lead in the game’s first six minutes. GW chipped away as the game wore on, eventually taking a small lead before the midpoint of the second half before the teams exchanged blows down the stretch.

With Richmond leading 64-60 and 1:12 remaining on the clock, senior Yolanda Lavender cut the Colonials’ deficit to one with her first three-pointer of the night after missing her first five attempts.

Just over a minute later, senior Jazmine Adair collected an offensive rebound and converted the put-back to give GW a slim 65-64 advantage with 10.5 seconds to play before Belle hit her game-winner.

“As upset as I am about the loss in terms of feeling like somebody punched me in the stomach, I think that is a signal of where we are right now in our growth process,” said head coach Mike Bozeman. “Tonight we had some miscues, but it was not for lack of effort. We had people diving on the floor, we had people executing.”

The Colonials struggled with their outside shooting throughout the contest, connecting on just five of their 19 three-point tries. Freshman Tara Booker, the team’s leading shooter from beyond the arc, took only three such shots, making one. Senior Antelia Parrish, though she tied classmate Jessica Adair with a team-high 15 points, shot just two of seven from deep.

Bozeman said injuries played a part in the struggles, forcing some players, such as Parrish, to assume different roles in the offense.

“We’re down some bodies right now,” he said, referring to inactive guards Lisa Steele and Tiana Myers, among others. “I’ve probably got more people in sweatsuits on the bench than I had dressed for the game.”

The Colonials have now dropped four games in a row – all on the road – representing their longest skid since the 2002-2003 season. Two of those losses were to particularly formidable opponents: No. 3/6 Texas A&M (AP/USA Today) and No. 17/16 Rutgers. The team’s lone pair of home losses, both in December, came against No. 7/11 Tennessee and No. 9/8 Auburn.

While final scores varied, GW hung with their nationally ranked opponents for at least part of each contest – something Bozeman wants onlookers to keep in mind when evaluating the team’s less than impressive win-loss record.

“I just want people to realize how tough the schedule has been and how we’ve never been out of any game on the schedule no matter how tough it is,” he said. “We are a formidable team and we’re going to be right there in the end.”

As for the conference slate, which continues this week with a home game Wednesday against Saint Joseph’s and a Saturday trip to Fordham, Bozeman is optimistic.

“That’s a tough loss there,” he said of the Richmond game. “But by no means is that going to define our season. I’m very confident that we can turn around at the end of the weekend and be 2-1 in the conference.”

Wednesday’s tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

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