This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
The women’s basketball team will play on the road over Thanksgiving break, but one Colonial should feel right at home.
Freeport, Bahamas, the hometown of star forward and rising junior Jonquel Jones, will host the annual two-round tournament, Junkanoo Jam.
It’ll be a working holiday for the Colonials, who will face NC State in the Freeport Division’s first round. The winner will play either Texas Tech or Purdue.
NC State was upset as a No. 5 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament by No. 12 seed BYU, which ran all the way to the Sweet 16. Similar to the Colonials, the Wolfpack graduated two starters, including Academic All-American Kody Burke. But with the majority of their lineup expected back, NC State will not be easy to beat.
Texas Tech stopped short of the postseason after a first-round exit in the Big 12 championship, but will return all but one starter. Purdue, a No. 4 seed in last year’s big dance that lost in the second round, returns a majority of its team as well.
Both the Boilermakers and the Wolfpack could be nationally ranked heading into the tournament Nov. 27 to 29.
Last year’s Freeport Division featured Penn State, Florida and Oregon State, which would go on to earn seeds of No. 3, No. 11 and No. 9, respectively, in the NCAA tournament.
November’s trip will mark the third Junkanoo Jam for GW, the most by any team in the tournament’s history. The Colonials last appearance was during the 2009-10 season, when they fell to No. 25 Michigan State and again to Marist in the consolation game.
They previously appeared during the 2005-06 season, knocking off No. 19 Purdue then losing the championship game by five points to No. 18 Texas. That was the same year GW went to the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed and lost in the second round to Candace Parker and No. 2 Tennessee.
GW’s first appearance was in the 2003-04 season. The Colonials lost to Penn State but defeated Arizona State.
The tournament props up a schedule that already features a home game against Maryland, which was a Final Four team last season, and GW could see other high-profile programs added to the list soon. A strong non-conference schedule would help the Colonials’ NCAA tournament push this year after they made it to the third round of the WNIT last season.