This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
Who: GW (16-7, 7-3) at Fordham (18-5, 7-3)
Where: Rose Hill Gym, Bronx, N.Y.
When: Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m.
Sitting in a tie for fourth in the Atlantic 10, both team’s pursuit of rising a banner this year hinges on this game. The Colonials have six conference games remaining this year – three at home and three on the road.
Case for Fordham:
The Rams have the top-scoring defense in the conference, allowing 57.7 points per game, while GW has the third-highest scoring offense, at 77.3 points per game. If Fordham can control the tempo, they will likely be able to pull out a win.
If they choose to play up with the Colonials’ fast-paced game, the Rams are certainly still capable of putting up a lot of points. The Rams have three different players averaging in double figures, including redshirt senior guard Erin Rooney at 18.7 points per game, second in the league, and senior guard Abigail Corning with 13.6 points per game.
The three ball will likely be the Rams’ friend as well. Fordham averages 36.8 percent from behind the arc, good for second in the conference, and during the course of the season, average 7.9 treys a game.
Perhaps the biggest statistic head coach Jonathan Tsipis will pay attention to is rebounding margin; the Rams out-rebound their opponents by 6.1 boards a game – best in the A-10. They also have the second-best rebounding defense, with 33.0 rebounds a game.
Case for GW:
Confidence should not be a problem for the Colonials, coming off a statement road win against Duquesne. Not to mention they have all of their tools available, healthy and playing major minutes.
GW now has four very potent scoring options: graduate student Megan Nipe, sophomore Jonquel Jones, graduate student Danni Jackson and freshman Caira Washington. At Duquesne, Tsipis allowed all four to play on the court at the same time; there should be even more of this shared action against the Rams.
Look to see who becomes the go-to scoring option Saturday afternoon. Given Fordham’s top defense, it is likely Tsipis will look to go inside to Jones and Washington to score with high efficiency and to rebound, especially on the offensive side. But the Rams will most likely be ready for this, preparing to give the Colonials post-presence trouble, which means Nipe or Jackson could have a big game.
Perhaps scrappy freshman Hannah Schaible will find her way through the defense’s cracks and put up a big day by continuing her knack of being in the right spot.
Once again, the game’s story will likely be the tale of the glass. Winning the rebounding margin is always a key goal for the Colonials, but against the conference’s best, they will have their greatest challenge yet. If Jones and Washington can stay out of foul trouble, alongside Schaible and a quietly rising graduate student Brooke Wilson, GW could pick up a second-straight big road win.