With senior day festivities in full swing and a shot at the second seed in the upcoming Atlantic 10 tournament up for grabs, there was plenty for the GW women’s basketball team to celebrate before its regular season finale. After a 59-49 loss to Temple in front of a larger than usual Smith Center crowd, the smiles that were so abundant pregame had disappeared.
Everything about Sunday’s game seemed to go wrong for the Colonials. Normally a good shooting team, GW shot just 26 percent from the floor against Temple. After struggling with untimely turnovers against Charlotte in their previous game, the Colonials again had issues hanging onto the ball at crucial moments, turning the ball over 17 times.
But despite the turnovers and the poor shooting, the Colonials stayed in the game. GW never trailed by more than 11, and at no point did the game seem out of reach. Making runs to win games have been the norm for GW this season, and although they tried for one more comeback, the hole the Colonials had dug for themselves proved to be too deep. For head coach Mike Bozeman, all the mistakes Sunday boiled down to one missing element: effort.
“I don’t think it would’ve took a miracle for us to win this game,” Bozeman said. “It doesn’t take a miracle for us to win a lot of the games that we’ve lost, but what it takes is concentrated effort and I think that some of that was lacking tonight.”
Senior center Jessica Adair, who was honored as part of the pregame ceremonies, agreed with her coach’s assessment of the game.
“Even when we were down 10, I felt like that was definitely a game we could have won, if we had stepped up and taken it,” she said. “But we didn’t do that.”
Jessica Adair also said that even though the game marked her final appearance at the Smith Center, once she hit the court for tip-off, any emotions she might have been feeling were put on the back burner.
“I was ready to play,” she said. “It’s senior day and everything, and I was excited about it but when it really comes down to it, we have a game to play, and that’s what I was prepared to do.”
Adair and freshman Tara Booker each tied for second on the team with 12 points, while senior Antelia Parrish led the Colonials in with 13. Senior day was likely not a memorable on-court experience much for the rest of GW’s seniors as Jamila Bates, Jazmine Adair and Yolanda Lavender combined to miss all 14 of their shots. Of the three, Jazmine Adair was the only one to score, with her lone point coming on a free throw.
GW nearly took the lead at the four and a half minute mark when a Jessica Adair layup brought the Colonials to within two. Temple responded with five quick points, including a three off of a Booker turnover, and GW never recovered.
The loss also means that GW, which could have climbed as high as second in the A-10 with a win, will fall to fifth in the conference and not receive a bye in next weekend’s conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C. The Colonials struggled to beat the elite teams in their conference down the stretch, losing on the road at Xavier and Charlotte before falling at home to the Owls.
GW will now face an uphill battle if it hopes to reach its third straight NCAA tournament, a challenge for which Bozeman said he is ready.
“There’s no other thing I can do,” he said. “I’m not giving up. I’m not going to quit. It’s not in me. That’s not why they hired me. I still feel like my girls have it in them, and it’s my job to get them to perform well. And I will.”
The Colonials will face 12th-seeded Rhode Island Friday in the opening round of A-10 championship play. GW beat the Rams 55-48 in their last match-up Feb. 8 at Smith Center.