This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
Who: GW (17-8, 8-4) vs. Massachusetts (3-22, 0-11)
When: Saturday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m.
Where: Smith Center
Case for UMass:
Maybe a blowout loss to George Mason – then winless in conference play – will serve as a wakeup call for the Minutewomen. Maybe a second meeting with the Colonials in a little over two weeks will serve as proper preparation. Maybe, but unlikely.
Last time out on their home court, UMass fell to GW 89-76. It was an even bigger win for GW than the score indicated, but the Minutewomen did outscore the Colonials 46-38 in the second half – a potential confidence booster.
In that loss to GW, junior Emily Mital went 2-8 from behind the arc as the team went a combined 3-15. As one of the top three-point shooters in the A-10, expect Mital to keep shooting and have a better performance this time around. The guard is shooting it at 39.2 percent, with 47 made treys this year.
The Colonials also held team-leading scorer, junior Kim Pierre-Louis, to just eight points on 4-8 shooting from the field. But Pierre-Louis was in foul trouble all night and was limited to only 15 minutes of gameplay. With more playing time this time around, expect her to get much closer to the 13.4 points that she is averaging per game.
Bottom line, though: UMass is still looking for its first Atlantic 10 in, while GW will be going for its ninth.
Case for GW:
The biggest storyline coming into Saturday’s game is graduate student Danni Jackson. The point guard sits at 497 career assists, fourth all-time in GW history. Three more dimes and she will have reached 500 career assists and over 1,000 career points. Jackson would be only the second Colonial to achieve this mark, joining fellow women’s basketball great, Kimberly Beck (’08).
The Colonials should have no trouble in their second time around against the Minutewoman. They played their best man-to-man defense of the year against VCU Thursday night, according to Tsipis, and their offense looked as smooth as it has been in weeks. Look for sophomore Jonquel Jones and freshman Caira Washington to fill up the stat sheet once again.
Last time out against Massachusetts, junior Chakecia Miller had a solid game: 14 points and six assists in a team-leading 30 minutes. UMass could find its hands full again, as the junior guard and defensive specialist has come into her own on the offensive side of the ball.
With four regular season games remaining, the Colonials could use a boost from sophomores Alexis Chandler, Aliyah Brown or Dalacy Anderson. Bench production will be important as GW heads into games against a Richmond team that has beaten conference leaders Fordham, St. Bonaventure and Dayton.