Despite a dominant second half, ending the game on a furious 16-3 run, GW couldn’t overcome a stagnant first half Wednesday afternoon.
The Colonials fell at Fordham 66-56, snapping a three-game win streak. Head coach Jonathan Tsipis blamed the team’s slow-moving offense, saying that it put the team in a hole before the break that it couldn’t dig its way out of.
“We weren’t locked in during the first half,” Tsipis said. “Beginning the game down 17-2 doesn’t help. We took too many jump shots instead of going to the basket. We didn’t make our shots, and they are a good shooting team, so they took advantage of our misses.”
The Colonials (11-13, 5-5) struggled to make baskets early in the game. GW managed to convert only 28.6 percent of its shot attempts in the first half and was unable to fight through the aggressive Fordham defense.
Fordham’s defensive intensity augmented its efficient offensive attack. The Rams began the game on a 17-2 run and continued a torrid pace throughout the first. GW entered halftime down 43-23, after allowing Fordham to shoot 54.3 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from the three-point line.
Senior point guard Danni Jackson attributed her team’s early struggles on offense to poor communication and credited its improvement in the second half to a change in mindset coming out of the locker room at halftime.
“We came out with intensity in the second half,” Jackson said. “Us not communicating in the first half let them get into a rhythm. We played harder and were focused in the second half.”
The Colonials could not erase a 20-point deficit over the first half, but they outplayed Fordham in the second, resulting in a closer game than anticipated at the break.
GW shot 51.9 percent from the field in the second, pressuring Fordham endlessly with a press that forced 11 Rams turnovers after the break, and resulted in 18 points for the Colonials.
“We fought hard in the second half, and the right activity level was there,” Tsipis said. “We were able to do things better because of that effort, but Fordham played harder than us in the first half. We didn’t play a good half, and we can’t dwell on that.”
Senior guard Shi-Heria Shipp led the Colonials with 14 points, and Jackson added 13 points. Sophomore guard Chakecia Miller contributed six points, four assists and four steals, while graduate student center Sara Mostafa grabbed 10 rebounds.
Tsipis looked at the second half of play as evidence of his team’s potential while acknowledging the first half of play as a reminder that GW still has room for improvement.
He insisted that teams must take care of the “things that they can control” when playing games on the road, and today, Tsipis said, the Colonials made sure to wrest control of the second half of play.
“You take care of the things you can control on the road, and that first half was acceptable because we worked hard. We are a team that always works. Shots didn’t fall in that first half but we still worked hard. That won’t change,” he said.
The Colonials have four more games on their schedule before the Atlantic-10 tournament, and Tsipis has challenged his team to finish strong.
Jackson acknowledged that though the Colonials will be playing their hardest in the final stretch of games, their opponents will, too. GW must not back down over the last weeks of play, and have to stay aggressive, Jackson said.
“We didn’t necessarily deal with the pressure well today in the first half, and teams will try to pressure us,” Jackson said. “So we are going to bring more pressure against those teams. Pressure is what gets our team going.”