This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.
Who: GW vs. Loyola Maryland
Where: Smith Center
When: Monday at 7 p.m.
Case for Loyola:
GW has lost three of their last four games and may be lacking in some confidence coming off a 68-67 upset by the Towson Tigers. Loyola (2-6) looks beatable on paper, but so did the Tigers.
Both teams were blown out by 36 points at Maryland this year, so they may be more evenly matched than records indicate. Loyola did beat the Colonials as recently as 2011, 70-62 in the Smith Center.
Loyola hasn’t won much this year, but when they have, it’s been when they’ve been able to put points on the scoreboard. They’ll have opportunities to rack up points against a GW defense that has held opponents under 68 just once – limiting USC Upstate to 56.
Loyola has two key scoring threats in Kara Marshall and Nai Brown, who lead the team with 14.3 and 12.6 points per game, respectively. The Colonials defense will need to stay focused for a full 40 minutes, not letting either Marshall or Brown get hot. Greyhounds head coach Joe Logan will look for a similar offensive performance from his team’s last game – a 65-59 loss at Mount St. Mary’s – in which four of his players scored in double figures.
Additionally, the Greyhounds are strong long-range shooters, hitting 35.5 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, compared to the Colonials mediocre 30.5 percent.
Case for GW:
After dropping two straight games and suffering the frustration of a one-point loss, GW will have extra motivation to get up off the mat against the Greyhounds. Playing in the comforts of the Smith Center, GW has the firepower to grab this bounce-back win.
The Colonials are 11-1 all time against Loyola, who currently ranks last in the Patriot League in scoring. GW, averaging 74.2 points per game, should be able to put up a lot more points than a Loyola team that averages just 57.1.
Despite its .500 record, GW has been extremely efficient at taking care of the ball. The Colonials have a +4.3 turnover differential so far this season, while the Greyhounds are losing the rock almost two and a half times more per game than their opponents. Look for GW’s defense to use its speed to put a lot of pressure of Greyhound ball handlers and then move out into a fast transition offense.
Although Loyola holds a slight edge in three-point shooting, the Colonials should dominate inside the paint where the Greyhounds foul often and struggle rebounding. Loyola’s leading rebounder, Tiffany Padgett, averages just 6.3 boards a contest, and as a team, they average seven less rebounds than the Colonials. GW has been out-sized in their last few matchups, and the frontcourt may enjoy a bit of a break against a smaller Greyhounds squad.
Loyola lacks the prolific scorer GW has in graduate student Megan Nipe, who is averaging 19 ppg, ranking third in the Atlantic 10. She’ll once again be the main priority for the Greyhounds defense, but will look for some buffer help from her teammates.