In a vacuum, the GW women’s basketball game against Rhode Island Sunday afternoon might not seem significant. Sunday afternoon games against mediocre conference opponents midway through the season aren’t generally the type of games that get teams fired up. Fortunately, games aren’t played in a vacuum. Context was everything for the Colonials on Sunday.
Following a loss to Richmond Wednesday night that head coach Mike Bozeman called “one of the ugliest games in the history of women’s basketball,” GW came out focused and ready to play Sunday afternoon, fighting off a scrappy Rhode Island team on their way to a 55-48 win.
For Bozeman, the difference between the two games was effort.
“We can’t afford to look ahead. I think that’s part of what happened with us with Richmond,” he said following the game. “We have to take every game as if it’s the most important game. It was important for us to come out and give the maximum type of effort, the GW type of effort that you guys are accustomed to seeing.”
Rhode Island stayed within reach for much of the game, not allowing the Colonials’ lead to grow past four in the first. GW was more successful in the second half, leading by as many as 11. All told, URI lead only three times throughout the game, never during the second half.
Sunday’s game was not without its struggles for the Colonials, however. The team shot 36 percent from the floor, well below their season average, and committed 22 turnovers, a nagging issue from the Richmond game that has yet to be resolved.
Senior Jessica Adair led the way for the Colonials, contributing a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Guard Yolanda Lavender was the only other GW player in double figures with 11 points.
“After coming off a loss to Richmond and not playing so well the past few games, I know as a senior captain I have to come out and step my game up,” Adair said after the game. “That’s what I tried to do today.”
Bozeman praised his team captain’s effort after the game, referring to Adair’s comments as “modest.”
“She’s grown into the kind of leader that if she doesn’t give you 30 points and 20 rebounds, she’s going to give you that example, and sometimes that’s the biggest thing that you can do,” Bozeman said. “As opposed to talking it and just telling everybody where to go, she’s showing them that kind of effort.”
Looking past this game would have been easy for the Colonials. Next up for GW is a road date against No. 23/21 Xavier (AP, ESPN/USA Today) in which the Colonials will try to hand the Musketeers their first conference loss. For GW, winning in Cincinnati will likely mean remembering the lessons learned against Richmond.
“I’m not going to say it was better that we lost the game, but it’s better to get it out of our system,” Bozeman said of Wednesday’s defeat. “No game is a cakewalk in our conference, but [the Xavier game is] definitely not going to be a cakewalk.”