Big shoes for bigs to fill

Two physically dominant centers; a pair of players with four years of experience; a 6-foot-3 duo that took over the rebound department – gone.

The GW women’s basketball team will open the season without two familiar faces – Jessica and Jazmine Adair, two low-post stalwarts with experience and an ability to control the boards throughout the game. This season, the Colonials will need to find ways to make up for the absence of Jazmine, a reputable defensive presence, and Jessica, a three-time, all-conference honoree and WNBA draft pick.

“You gotta replace that,” head coach Mike Bozeman said. “Jazmine, if not for her knees. could have been one of the top post players in our conference.”

Most likely to step into their stead will be 6-foot-5 sophomore Sara Mostafa, 6-foot-2 redshirt freshman Brooke Wilson – who missed last season due to a knee injury – and 6-foot-2 freshman Nicole Shelton.

While the latter two have yet to see action for the Colonials, Mostafa played 20 games as a freshman last season while battling foot problems. She averaged 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, averages that are likely to increase if she sees more than last year’s 6.4 minutes of playing time per contest.

“She’s so aggressive,” Bozeman said, calling Mostafa the team’s biggest surprise this preseason. “I knew she had the post moves. I just didn’t know if she had the aggression to match.”

The burden of making up for the Adairs’ graduation will fall on more than just a few shoulders, Bozeman said.

“I need six rebounds from everybody,” he said.

One potential fix may be a change in playing style that utilizes the team’s strong points.

“We’re gonna be a lot quicker,” Mostafa said. “Everyone’s a good shooter.”

Bozeman, who also described the Colonials as a “better shooting team overall,” also suggested a different style of play will be implemented this season.

“Where we’ve lost height and size, [we’ve] gained… skill [from the] shooting aspect,” he said.

For Wilson, the solution is even simpler.

“I think that we’re just gonna go out here and play basketball,” she said.

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