Women’s basketball shot the lights out in a 99-45 exhibition defeat of Virginia Union (Division II) at the Smith Center on Sunday.
The Colonials put on an offensive clinic, finishing with three players scoring in double figures and eight finishing with seven points or more.
Though the Panthers are a step down from the competition GW will face for most of the season, the Colonials’ play was coordinated – with even freshmen seeing significant playing time – and they had the shot-machine humming throughout the game.
“Setting the tone early on that our team has grown this week since our closed scrimmage is great for today,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “But they know there’s still a lot of great things ahead of them and they’re excited.”
Sophomore Hannah Schaible led the Colonials with 15 points, and was 3-for-3 on three pointers. Junior Jonquel Jones and sophomore Caira Washington both had eight rebounds to lead the team, and Jones added 14 points.
The Colonials showed their ability to capture momentum and score in bunches. GW went on a 22-6 run in the first nine minutes of the second half. In the final eight minutes, the Colonials outscored the Panthers 18-2.
They kept momentum by shooting over 47 percent from the field and out-rebounding the Pathers 49-31. GW also won the turnover battle, giving the ball away 19 times to Virginia Union’s 33 and creating 33 points out of those extra chances to Virginia Union’s 14 points off turnovers.
Though the turnover margin came more from Virginia Union’s high number than GW’s low one, smooth playmaking enabled the Colonials to be the cleaner team and select good shots to bolster their high shooting percentage. There were glimpses of what could have been mistaken for midseason form in some of GW’s runs.
“As the season goes on, we’re going to want to get better at it,” Schiable said. “But we did a good job moving the ball today.”
Tsipis was also able to give the freshmen significant minutes during the second half, including stretches with five freshmen on the floor. Kelli Prange led the freshman with 11 points and added six rebounds. GW also got a rookie boost from the outside in Mia Farmer, who was 3-for-8 on three pointers to tie with Schiable for the team lead.
Prange called her classmates “very versatile” after the game, and Tsipis also said he was pleased with the different styles of defense the team was able to use to put pressure on the Panthers. In particular, GW used a successful full-court press to create many of Virginia Union’s turnovers.
“You can see players like Hannah and Lauren Chase who both have a military, no-holds-barred attitude that they’re going to go after every lose ball,” Tsipis said. “We’re going to need to change defenses and be aggressive.”
Senior Lauren Chase started for the Colonials on Sunday, after missing all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules and then a personal medical condition, which she revealed last week to have been a concussion. She scored six points and added a team-high eight assists, which Tsipis said was good for her both on a personal and team level.
“You can see how she can find people on the post or by kicking it out for threes,” Tsipis said. “She puts our kids in really good positions to be successful.”
Tsipis added that he was happy with the depth of the team in the exhibition game, especially in the rebounding department, and he expects the bench to play a significant role this season.
The team will open the season officially on Nov. 14 on the road against Florida Gulf Coast.