Shut-down defense leads to third-straight victory

Tara Booker
Senior forward Tara Booker sank three treys during Friday's away game against the Maine Black Bears. File photo

This report was written by Hatchet staff writer Daniel Wright.

The women’s basketball team used sharp shooting from the perimeter to defeat Maine 54-46 in their first match of the Navy Classic Friday for their third consecutive win.

Despite being outshot and out-rebounded for the second-straight game, GW (4-3) went just 20-for-64 from the floor, but shot a blistering 63.6 percent from three-point range.

“It was a lift for us,” head coach Mike Bozeman said. “What I tell the girls is that it shows that we can put the ball in the hole. We just have to make a more concerted effort on the short shots. A lot of shots we were missing were give-me shots.”

Coming off of a win over Old Dominion where the Colonials shot just 29 percent from the field, GW’s offensive struggles continued in the first half against Maine. In a back-and-forth first half, the Black Bears outscored the Colonials 10-1 for five of the final nine minutes in the half, before junior guard Megan Nipe hit a three to halt the run.

Senior forward Tara Booker held the Colonials’ offense together in the first half, posting nine points off of three trey’s to propel GW to a 31-29 lead at the half.

“[Booker] is one of the best shooters in the country,” Bozeman said. “She’s been working on getting her footwork together and that came through today. She was very patient and showed her maturity and experience, and that helped us a lot.”

On an afternoon where the Colonials struggled offensively from everywhere except deep, the defense limited Maine to just 2-for-14 shooting from the perimeter and 33.9 percent from the field.

Led by redshirt junior Brooke Wilson with three steals, the defense tallied 11 steals by seven different players compared to just three takeaways by Maine. Despite losing the battle on the boards and being out-rebounded 48-40, GW turned the ball over just five times in each half. Bozeman cited the team defensive effort as the deciding factor in GW’s victory.

“All in all, the defensive effort is what carried us tonight,” Bozeman said. “These guys are really working hard. It’s not just one person running up the stat sheet in that area. We were hitting the passing lanes and our press was working pretty good for us in the second half. We’re getting that end of it, and I’m very confident that these guys are skilled and the shooting will come around.”

Nipe contributed two three’s and 10 points to go along with nine rebounds, with junior guard Danni Jackson also adding 10 points for the Colonials. Senior point guard Kristin Aldridge dished out four assists and posted six points, while nine different Colonials scored.

“That’s always been my style, to use the width of the court,” Bozeman said. “When you use the width of the court that means you’re sharing the basketball. We’ve worked a lot on skill development and everybody’s capable. These guys are shooting the basketball and sharing with one another.”

The Colonials take on Houston Baptist in their second game of the Navy Classic at 6 p.m Saturday in Annapolis, Md.

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