On the court Wednesday, the Colonials didn’t look like a team that was in the midst of the worst losing streak in the program’s history.
As GW (6-15, 1-6 Atlantic 10) played its way to its first victory in 12 games, the team dominated the University of Rhode Island both offensively and defensively, coming out on top 53-35 to earn its first A-10 victory of the season.
“Long time coming for that one. I honestly believe that we could have done that maybe four games ago,” head coach Mike Bozeman said. “That’s what we’ve been working on in practices, closing it out, and I think we were able to do that tonight. Still not as sharp as we can be, but we’re sharper than we were in the last couple games.”
The team shot 52 percent in the first half, the second best shooting half the Colonials have had all season. GW kept the Rams to a shooting percentage of just 29 in the first, the worst URI has shot in the first half all season. Bozeman credited his team’s dominant play to a determined mindset.
“I think it’s more attitude,” he said, adding, “I have to give the girls credit because they could really be mailing it in right now and I think there’s a desire to get better, a desire to play better.”
GW’s winning mentality was on full display when, for the third-straight game, three Colonials scored in the double digits. Sophomore guard Danni Jackson once again underlined her importance as a scrappy, athletic player for the Colonials. Jackson posted 13 points, tying teammate Tiana Myers, a junior guard, for the player with the most points in the game. Jackson also grabbed three steals and had five assists throughout the night.
“I’ve had an aggressive mindset. I’m just really trying to get to the bucket as much as I can, and get everyone involved, but for the most part I’m trying to be aggressive,” Jackson said. “Just wanna be the dominant player that I once was and can be still.”
Jackson, Myers and junior forward Tara Booker were the three dominant offensive forces for the Colonials. In addition to her 13 points, Myers grabbed six rebounds and had four assists; Booker posted 11 points and added seven rebounds for the night.
The Colonials struggled to produce similarly dominant results in the second half, dropping their shooting percentage by almost 20 to wrap up the game shooting 40.4 percent. GW also went 0-for-6 from the three-point range after halftime, indicative of the fatigue the team struggles with in light of its five injured players. The Colonials also grabbed just six offensive rebounds during the game, an area that has plagued GW all season.
“When you see us in the first half, that’s fresher legs,” Bozeman said. “We still have to close out and play aggressively. The fatigue factor did step in a little bit, and that’s where we have to fight that.”
Despite momentary struggles in the second, Bozeman’s “close it out” mentality transferred to his players on the court, and GW walked away with its first victory since Dec. 11. As the Colonials prepare to travel to Saint Louis Saturday, Bozeman remains determined to maintain his team’s improved play.
“I think to get that monkey off our back, I think it’ll free us up to focus,” Bozeman said. “It’s got to get to the point where it’s, ‘OK guys, let’s take this win,’ as opposed to, ‘Let’s not lose this.’ I think that’s where we’re going now.”