The stage seemed set for the women’s basketball team to snap its losing streak Saturday night. Up by four with just under 4 minutes to go in the game, the Colonials were poised to earn their first victory in 10 games after snatching the lead away from La Salle with a 16-4 run.
But just as quickly as GW had taken the lead, the team’s fatigue caught up with the players and the Explorers quickly overpowered the undermanned Colonials, defeating GW 73-64 and extending the Colonials’ losing streak to 11.
In spite of adding another tally to a losing streak that is already the longest in program history, Saturday night’s contest was not without impressive efforts from GW (5-15, 0-6 Atlantic 10) players. Junior Tiana Myers recorded her first career double-double, posting 23 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against La Salle. She scored 8 of her 23 points in GW’s 16-4 run late in the second half, which gave the team a brief lead over the Explorers.
“She’s showing the grit that I need five players to play like that all of the time,” head coach Mike Bozeman said. “There were five spurts where all the players were playing like that and then we had our lulls. Part of that is the fatigue.”
Sophomore guard Danni Jackson also played well against the Explorers, scoring 13 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists Saturday night. But Jackson’s high-energy style of play combined with her 38 minutes on the court against La Salle meant that one of GW’s best offensive weapons was running on fumes late in the game.
“Jackson was playing tired, and I had nowhere else to go for that,” Bozeman said. “If I had another sub, I would have taken Danni out. What that does is render her ineffective for four-minute spurts.”
At the beginning of the game, GW struggled to break La Salle’s press defense, but after some adjustments, the Colonials managed to develop an offensive rhythm, maintaining pace with La Salle and taking the lead for a good portion of the game. The Colonials went 26-of-66 from the floor, shooting 39.4 percent throughout the game.
“[We] just wanted to attack the middle and keep the ball from the trapping areas, we found that it was easier for us to hound it that way,” Bozeman said. “I thought we did well in the second half, it was just too late.”
The Colonials especially struggled defensively to stop the Explorers from going on extended scoring runs, including runs at the end of both halves that proved to be the difference in the game. La Salle also scored a significant portion of its points from behind the three-point line, something Bozeman said was a surprise to him since his scouting report on the Explorers said La Salle typically struggles to shoot from long range.
“At times, we were just defending the three very, very poorly. Particularly in the first half,” Bozeman said, adding that in the scouting report, “[La Salle] just didn’t shoot the three ball that well, so our defensive strategy was to invite them to take a three.”
GW will return to the Smith Center Wednesday night, Feb. 2, to host Rhode Island at 7 p.m. As Bozeman traveled home with his team, he praised the determination the wounded Colonials continue to show, despite the loss.
“The girls are playing hard. I know it’s hard for GW nation to see the women’s program going through this right here,” Bozeman said. “The girls are fighting hard, we just have to grind it through and hope to get some of these players back on the court.”