This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
WHO: GW (6-4) vs. North Carolina A&T (7-1)
WHERE: Smith Center
WHEN: Saturday at 12 p.m.
Case for North Carolina A&T:
The Aggies are off to their best start in program history, winning seven straight games after dropping their season opener. The highly efficient A&T offense, shooting at 45.6 percent from the floor, uses a similar style to the Colonials: a fast-paced mindset that also predicates itself on a post game and getting to the free throw line.
They are led by their rather tall backcourt of Tracy King – a 5-foot-10 senior from Alexandria, Va., and 5-foot-8 redshirt sophomore Christina Carter – both of whom were named to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason all-second team. Together, they are average 13.9 and 13.8 points, respectively – shooting over 51 percent from the field. Carter leads the MEAC with 5.6 assists per game, while King leads with 3.6 steals a game.
Likely to bump elbows with Jonquel Jones and freshman center Caira Washington is the Aggies Preseason ALL-MEAC first team and reigning MEAC Rookie of the Year, 6-foot-3 redshirt-sophomore Eboni Ross. In just 21 minutes of play, she is averaging 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
The MEAC preseason pick to finish second, A&T already knocked off the Atlantic 10 preseason sixth-ranked Richmond Spiders, 69-60. Although the Colonials generally bode well on their home floor, that advantage could be neutralized during winter break.
Case for GW:
Although the Colonials dropped their matchup to the Aggies last season, 67-56, GW has every reason to believe they have made huge strides since then.
With the addition of the 6-foot-4 transfer forward Jones to the frontcourt for the first time this season, there’s no saying what type of team we will see out there. That aside, the women’s basketball team has already found a go-to leading scorer in graduate student Megan Nipe, averaging 18.1 points per game.
In recent games, they have also found other ways to win, relying on their defense and the post presence of A-10 rookie of the week, Washington, who is averaging 10.4 points and 7.9 boards a game.
The addition of Jones, with her known offensive prowess, is likely to alleviate the reliance on any one hot hand, and balance the Colonials attack. GW currently averages 72.5 points per game, while forcing 22.5 turnovers a game on the defensive end.
On the personal achievement radar: graduate student Danni Jackson is one assist away from 400 career assists – which would put her alone for seventh all time. Seven dimes on the day would bring her to 406 and tie her for sixth place.
With a week off and the completion of the fall semester, the Colonials should be fresh and fairly healthy. Look to see graduate student forward Brooke Wilson see more minutes, adding to GW’s depth and significant size advantage over the Aggies. Aside from Ross, A&T does not have any other player listed over 6-foot. The addition of Jones will also allow freshman Hannah Schaible to play more in her natural wing position, which could help spark her offensive game.