The immediate result of any basketball game is a tally in the win or loss column, but GW’s 59-49 home loss to Temple Sunday had much higher stakes than a number on a season record.
Not only was it the Colonials’ (17-12, 9-5 Atlantic 10) final regular season game, and the last Smith Center contest for seniors Jessica Adair, Jazmine Adair, Antelia Parrish, Yolanda Lavender and Jamila Bates, but it was the deciding factor for GW’s seeding in next week’s Atlantic 10 tournament.
With a 9-4 conference record going into the game, the Colonials had a shot at tying Temple in the A-10 standings with a victory. A win would have catapulted the Colonials to third place and guaranteed an automatic first-round bye in the conference tournament, a privilege GW has grown accustomed to.
Based on program history, the Colonials weren’t supposed to lose. GW had won its senior day game every year dating back to 1992, including a victory over Temple just two years ago. But the Colonials fell nonetheless, as an early lead became a deficit GW never overcame despite having displayed a knack for stronger second halves this season.
Head coach Mike Bozeman said that while the fault of the loss falls on GW’s shoulders, they were outplayed by their opponents.
“Temple didn’t shoot the ball extremely well, but they did the intangible things,” Bozeman said. “It’s not like they came in here and torched up the nets, but what they did was they toughed it out.”
Now Temple will take the second-place seed, while Richmond’s victory over Saint Louis knocks GW down to fifth. The Colonials will play the first-round game in the A-10 Championships for the first time in 23 years.
“We played ourselves into fifth place. I think Richmond deserves to be in front of us,” Bozeman said. “What that means is we have to win four games instead of three games. What that means is we have to play somebody in order to earn the right to play somebody else. We played ourselves here, now we have to play ourselves out of it.”