Nobody ever said change was easy.
Though GW’s women’s basketball team has shown promise in Mike Bozeman’s first year as head coach, the team has struggled to find consistency. After losing four straight games on the road at the turn of the new year, the team managed six straight wins before losing to Richmond for the second time this season Wednesday night.
Coming out looking confident, the Colonials fell behind early and never recovered against an injury-riddled Richmond team.
The transition to new coach has been especially difficult, as Bozeman’s more run-and-gun style differs from the more tempered offense former head coach Joe McKeown ran in his time in Foggy Bottom. The Colonials have also struggled to take care of the ball and to create turnovers, a hallmark of the McKeown years.
GW has gone from first to last in the Atlantic 10 in turnover differential since last year and has seen its steals per game fall from 9.42 to just 6.24.
Part of that is the departure of point guard Kim Beck, now with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, who has been replaced by a point guard by committee led by senior transfer Yolanda Lavender. Lavender, while playing well overall, has struggled in both games against Richmond, shooting just 25 percent from the field in the two games.
Speaking after the game, Lavender said the team needs to bring the same intensity to practice that they do to games if it wants to become more consistent on both ends of the floor. While GW had limited its turnovers in the previous two games, inconsistency struck again as GW gave up 22 turnovers against Richmond.
Despite the ups and downs in his first year, Bozeman, who worked as an assistant under McKeown for three years, has ensured the defensive toughness GW has become known for wasn’t going anywhere. Thanks in large part to a talented front court, the Colonials are still among the tops defensively in the conference, leading in blocks per game and holding opponents to just under 36 percent shooting, good for third in the A10.
So after all the ups and downs of the season, how does Bozeman feel about his team overall?
“I love this team. I love the pieces that are here with this team,” Bozeman said. “I still know that we’re going to be there in the end. This was definitely a flat tire … but just because a Mercedes gets a flat doesn’t mean it changes to a Volkswagen.”
“No offense to Volkswagens,” he added.