Against teams currently below it in the standings, the GW women’s basketball team is 6-2. It’s the pesky task of beating the teams above them that the Colonials will have to master if they hope to reach a third-straight NCAA Tournament.
GW ran its record against the top two teams in the Atlantic 10 to 0-2 Wednesday night, falling on the road 59-57 to Charlotte. Keeping the game close was not a problem for the Colonials, who never trailed by more than nine. Taking the lead from the 49ers proved to be a different matter entirely.
“You can’t win the A-10 and not win these kind of games right here that you have the possibility to take control of,” GW head coach Mike Bozeman said in a telephone interview.
Perhaps GW’s best chance to take over the game came in the from its only lead of the game. Freshman Tiana Myers drained a three with just over 10 minutes to go in the second half, putting the Colonials ahead 44-41 and giving them all of the momentum. GW followed Myers’s three with three turnovers and three missed shots over the course of the next three and a half minutes, allowing the 49ers to regain their composure. For Bozeman, the game came down to that sequence.
“That’s where major games like these are won and lost. We had the game by the neck right there and the last couple weeks we’ve been able to close games out like that and that was the difference,” Bozeman said. “I think Charlotte was reeling from us getting to that point and we let them off the hook.”
Even with the missed opportunity, the Colonials did manage to put themselves in position to force overtime on the game’s final play, but Yolanda Lavender’s last second layup that would have tied the game was waved off by officials, and GW was sent packing. Without a monitor to check a replay, Bozeman was forced to simply accept the result.
“It was close, it was really close,” Bozeman said of the shot. “They didn’t have a monitor so they couldn’t check it, so we just had to go by the referees. It’s a tough way for it go down. It could have gone either way, it really could have.”
GW relied largely on its veterans for offense in the loss. Seniors Jessica Adair and Antelia Parrish scored 15 and 10 points, respectively. No other Colonial reached double figures.
Up next for GW is its final game of the regular season, senior day against Temple on Sunday. The game will have extra significance for both teams, as the winner will clinch third place in the A-10. The magnitude of the game, combined with final Smith Center appearances from Colonial veterans like Adair and Parrish, Bozeman made it clear that Sunday’s game would be among the biggest of the season.
“It’s crucial. I want to send these seniors out in style . those players have contributed to this program,” he said. “We’re gonna play for the seniors on Sunday.”