The GW women’s basketball team hosted the defending Atlantic 10 champions at the Smith Center Saturday, and though the Colonials never led and walked away with their fourth straight loss and 12th in 13 games, head coach Mike Bozeman did not seem overly disappointed with his team’s play.
“I thought it was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Bozeman said of the 52-42 loss to Charlotte. “I’m as proud with my girls as I can be, to be on the losing side of the game.”
Part of that pride, he said, came from GW’s (3-12, 0-3 A-10) continued adjustment amid a season that has seen the team’s already small and inexperienced roster further limited by injuries. The Colonials entered the game with only eight healthy players and three sidelined by injuries, then lost freshman Shi-Heria Shipp for Saturday’s game when she went down with a sprained ankle in the first half.
“We had people playing out of position,” Bozeman said. “We moved [sophomore] Tiana [Myers] to the one. She showed a lot of character and a lot of heart.”
Myers ended up leading the team with 15 points while grabbing seven rebounds, but it was not enough to beat a Charlotte team that took control early with an 8-0 lead and never fully let it go.
GW made just eight of 36 shots from the floor in the first half and was unable to find a way to consistently break the 49ers’ aggressive zone and man-to-man defenses. Still, the Colonials were able to keep the game close, matching Charlotte in the rebounding and turnover departments to go into halftime trailing by seven.
Charlotte head coach Karen Aston said she thought GW’s defense is what kept the game close despite its poor shooting.
“[Zone defenses] have a tendency to slow the tempo of the game down and I think that was to their favor against our team,” Aston said. “We got out of the gates pretty quick and then the tempo really slowed. And they obviously are doing that for the right reasons.”
Aston went on to praise Bozeman for the job he has done dealing with his team’s injuries.
“He’s limited on players, and I have to say that he’s doing a tremendous job with the personnel he has,” she said. “They give themselves a chance to win and they’ll upset some teams, without question.”
The Colonials made several runs in the second half that threatened Charlotte’s lead. After redshirt freshman Brooke Wilson hit a three and sophomore Sara Mostafa added a layup on GW’s next possession, GW cut its deficit to one point with less than 13 minutes remaining.
The game stayed close throughout the next few minutes until the 49ers went on a 9-0 run beginning near the 6-minute mark led by junior guard Shannon McCallum, who led all scorers with 21 points.
GW, which trailed by 10 by the time the women scored again, was not able to overcome the deficit in the game’s final minutes.
Despite his team’s continued struggles, Bozeman said the Colonials are not getting down on themselves.
“You go into our locker room after the game, there’s nobody in there feeling sorry for ourselves. We don’t wanna hear that,” Bozeman said. “We’re gonna keep fighting, and we’ll get it together.”
The second-year head coach also said that his team’s shooting woes – GW finished the game shooting 27 percent from the field – need to improve for a turnaround to begin.
“I truly believe we could walk in the gym blindfolded and shoot better than 27 percent,” Bozeman said. “We’ll raise that percentage up and it’s gonna result in a different result at the end of the game.”
The Colonials will continue their season Tuesday when they travel to Richmond. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.