After going through a bit of a mid-winter funk, the Colonials were on a roll as they visited La Salle Saturday, having reeled off five straight conference victories. While they were ultimately able to extend that streak to six, doing so did not come easily. GW came away with a 72-70 victory only after surviving three missed Explorers shots in the game’s final seconds.
“It was a nail-biter,” head coach Mike Bozeman said. “I thought that put us back in the realm of being human.”
After a seesaw second half, the Colonials (13-8, 5-1 Atlantic 10) pulled ahead for good on a pair of free throws by senior Yolanda Lavender with 30 seconds to play. Redshirt sophomore Ivy Abiona blocked a shot that would have tied the game on the other end, but La Salle maintained possession as the ball went out of bounds.
They missed the ensuing shot, which again caromed out of play while two seconds remained on the clock. The game appeared to be all but over as GW was set to inbound the ball, but freshman Tara Booker stepped out of bounds after receiving the pass to give La Salle one last opportunity. A three-point attempt by Jenna Gilbert rattled out as time expired and the Colonials escaped with the victory.
The win was the Colonials’ first this season when trailing at halftime, having previously lost all seven games in which they were down at the break. They were able to erase their deficit thanks in large part to senior Antelia Parrish’s career-high 25 points and game-high nine rebounds.
“We had been waiting for Ant to have a breakout game,” Bozeman said. “She’s fully capable of putting those kinds of numbers up. She’s been unselfish, almost to a fault.”
Parrish’s performance was all the more pivotal given senior Jessica Adair’s relative struggles. While Adair still managed 10 points and five boards, Bozeman said she was limited by double-teaming La Salle defenders, whose fixation on Adair allowed her teammates opportunities.
Bozeman said the team’s array of weapons is an important strength.
“On any given night you have someone else stepping up,” he said. “Tonight was Ant’s turn to really carry us.”
The Colonials will look to avenge their lone A-10 loss as they host Richmond Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.