After watching a halftime lead slip away against No. 9 Maryland on Saturday, GW’s game against Grambling State was never in question: The Colonials cruised to an easy victory over Grambling State, beating the Tigers 89-51.
The Colonials rode a strong shooting game to the win, making nearly 55 percent of their field-goal attempts and finishing with four players scoring in double digits.
The game plan was familiar: GW’s forwards led the team for most of the game. Freshman Kelli Prange and sophomore Caira Washington dominated the paint, using a size advantage to overpower Grambling State. Forty of the Colonials’ points came from inside the paint, and GW out-rebounded the Tigers 56-27.
Prange, who tied Grambling State’s Yosha Watson for a game-high 23 points, tied sophomore Shannon Cranshaw for the most minutes off the bench for GW, continuing to show confidence as a role player in the offense.
“As far as 15 feet and out, [Prange is] shooting the best percentage of anybody on our team right now, and there’s no hesitation,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “Some freshmen, sometimes you have to beg and plead for them to shoot. I don’t have to tell Kelly Prange to take a shot. She’s ready to shoot it.”
Continuing her streak of strong games, Washington earned her second double-double in a row, with 17 points and 13 rebounds, five of them offensive. She was also 5-6 from the free throw line.
“To see Caira get on the offensive glass, to see Caira get to the line and be able to finish at the line, you can see that confidence rising in her,” Tsipis said.
Forward Jonquel Jones was a rebound short of a double-double herself, scoring 10 points.
GW’s bench also saw significant playing time. Besides Prange’s presence in the post, junior Aaliyah Brown was deadly from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting three of three in the first and scoring 11 points overall. GW hit over 35 percent of their shots from downtown.
The one concern for the Colonials was turnovers. Like their game against Maryland, GW struggled to hold onto the ball, with 26 turnovers on the game, though those missteps often were the flipside of a strong passing game. GW dished out a season-high 26 assists.
“We’ve got to help each other,” Tsipis said. “At times tonight, when the extra pass was contagious, all of a sudden we tried to make the extra pass to the extra pass when it was not necessarily there.”
Looking ahead, the Colonials will spend Thanksgiving in the Bahamas competing in the Junaknoo Jam. Washington said she hopes the team learns from its play against Grambling State before the tournament.
“It wasn’t the best win. We could’ve played much better and cleaned up a bunch of turnovers,” she said. “When we go to the Bahamas, we have to be much stronger and much more physical.”
Tsipis added that the way GW mixed up defenses in the win over Grambling would be helpful preparation for the upcoming tournament.
The Colonials’ first game in the Bahamas will be Friday, Nov. 28 against North Carolina State, which is 4-0 on the season.