Late run not enough for GW against Dukes

As the snow fell Wednesday night outside the Smith Center, things seemed to be snowballing on the women’s basketball team as the Colonials looked to snap their program-record, nine-game losing streak.

Early on, it looked as though the injury-plagued Colonials wouldn’t be able to keep pace with its Wednesday-night opponent, Duquesne. GW allowed the Dukes to go on a 13-2 run midway through the first half, putting the Colonials in an 18-point hole early. GW went on a 10-3 run to close out the second half, but still trailed 35-24 at halftime.

Things didn’t go much better for the Colonials in the second half, as Duquesne built its lead to as high as 18 points with just over 13 minutes to play. GW showed signs of life late though, using an 11-1 run over the final 5:35 to close the Dukes’ lead to five points with 40 seconds left, but it was too little, too late for the Colonials, who extended their program-worst losing streak to 10 games with a 61-53 loss.

Now, women’s basketball head coach Mike Bozeman said, the Colonials (5-14, 0-5 Atlantic 10) find themselves in the difficult position of trying to regain their confidence as a team in the midst of the worst stretch the women’s basketball program has ever seen. Games like the one against the Dukes Wednesday night, Bozeman said, will have to be building blocks as GW tries to rediscover its winning ways.

“We just have to be able to get that winning attitude and its tough when you are going through a stretch like we’re going through right now,” Bozeman said. “I’m saying, ‘Have a winning attitude,’ and we haven’t been winning. But that’s going to change. It’s not going to rain or snow, like it is outside, all the time. I’m so fired up right now, I want to go right back to practice tonight if I could.”

The Colonials struggled offensively for the bulk of the night, shooting under 30 percent in both halves and 15 percent from behind the three-point line for the game. GW made its late comeback largely on the strength of defensive adjustments that limited the Dukes to 20.8 percent shooting from the field in the second half.

“I’m trying to preserve my ‘pressing crew’ until the second half,” Bozeman said. “We get to the second half and we wanted to go more zone. But not just a passive zone, we wanted to do some more trapping out of the zone.”

The Colonials were led by sophomore Danni Jackson, who had 16 points in the loss. Junior Tara Booker put up 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to record the second double-double of her career. Junior Tiana Myers also had 10 points in the loss, but even with three players in double figures, the hole GW dug for itself early in the game proved to be too difficult to escape from with the late run.

“What you’re getting is a massive amount of effort that tries to overcome that 28.6 percent shooting,” Bozeman said. “So then we dig ourselves a hole. And the hole is so deep it’s hard to come out of.”

GW will get its next chance to snap its losing streak Saturday night in Philadelphia against La Salle. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

“We are trying to develop that winning attitude and it’s hard when we are losing like we are. We are coming together a lot,” Booker said after the loss. “Everyone on the bench is cheering for each other. We are fighting hard down the stretch, it’s just we need to put it together for the whole 40 minutes.”

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