With two seconds left to play, sophomore guard Chakecia Miller drained a layup off an assist from senior forward Shi-Heria Shipp, solidifying the Colonials’ three-point win over the Richmond Spiders.
The last 24 seconds of the game consisted of aggressive defense between Miller and Shipp that pushed GW to victory. After leaping to gather her fourth rebound of the game, Shipp passed the ball down to Miller, who forced her way into the paint in order to give GW a one-point lead. Soon after, Miller stole the ball to drive home the final tally.
Thanks in part to the team’s aggressive play until the final seconds, GW walked away with a 57-54 victory over Richmond.
“When we went into the locker room [at halftime], [head] coach [Jonathan Tsipis] said that we have to find a way sometimes,” Miller said. “And I think we did that.”
GW (10-12, 4-4) started the game with strong transition play and an equally formidable offensive effort. But both teams played an aggressive man-to-man defense, which ultimately led to 11 lead changes.
Within the first four minutes, the Colonials attacked the Spiders with a half-court press that included traps whenever possible. A Miller dish to freshman Alexis Chandler, who ended the game with five points, made the score 14-11 with 11 minutes remaining in the half.
Richmond replied with a half-court press during the Colonials’ next offensive possession but GW was able to maintain their composure.
“With the timeouts we just had to re-group, calm down and just think about what we were doing down there,” Miller said. “We just can’t get too amped up during the game because your adrenaline is running.”
At the end of the first half, the Colonials were up by five points, 32-27, due to senior forward Megan Nipe’s closing three-pointer.
Richmond, however, entered the second half with a renewed intensity and went on an 8-0 run until Nipe broke the Spiders’ momentum with a quick jumper.
“I think [Richmond head] coach [Michael] Shafer had his team ready coming out of the locker room to start the second half with just a higher intensity than we had,” Tsipis said. “We kind of went back and forth.”
Graduate student forward Tara Booker helped the Colonials slowly come back from a six-point deficit with two made free throws and a quick jumper off of fellow graduate student forward Sara Mostafa’s offensive rebound.
Booker ended the game with six points and 10 rebounds, while Mostafa contributed four points and four rebounds.
“I think the thing I’m most proud of is the way the team battled. We had to get the rebounds off of the missed free throws. We had to push the ball up the floor,” Tsipis said.
As both teams battled back and forth, the Colonials were one point from tying the game with 52 seconds left. After missed free throws from the Spiders, GW capitalized on the additional opportunities to execute plays.
The final series of plays between Miller and Shipp were not drawn up by Tsipis, but ultimately led the team to an exciting victory. It was an example of his team “finding a way to win,” and the head coach was quick to note that, overall, the win was a teamwide effort. Nipe contributed a total of 12 points while senior Danni Jackson added six.
“You don’t get style points in basketball,” Tsipis said. “You get wins and losses.”