Updated: Jan. 8, 2015 at 8:28 p.m.
This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.
GW took down Saint Joseph’s 83-69 by dismantling the Hawks’ offense prowess with a clear game plan: use accurate entry passes to feed the post and capitalize on a dominant game inside with fast-break chances.
It worked, giving the Colonials their 11th straight win and moving GW to 2-0 in conference play.
Sophomore forward Caira Washington knocked down a game-high 23 points, while junior forward Jonquel Jones and sophomore guard Hannah Schaible followed suit with double-digit finishes, racking up 16 and 14 points, respectively. Jones notched her fifth double-double in the last six games, her seventh of the season, with 14 rebounds.
“It’s great to be able to come back off a high emotional game like Sunday and not feel like we were lackadaisical to start the game,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We were pretty focused, and I think you have to key our leadership and understanding of we can get great shots if Caira and Jonquel get touches because it opens everything up for everyone else on the floor.”
GW came out swinging, building an 11-point lead early capped by two free throws from senior guard Lauren Chase.
Chase kept the momentum going with back-to-back dimes. She fed the posts, finding Jones and freshman forward Kelli Prange to put the Colonials up 19-7.
But the Colonials began to have trouble pulling away from the Hawks and became stagnant offensively. After allowing the Hawks to be within four (32-28), the Colonials were able to storm back with shutdown defense after Tsipis called a timeout.
To close out the first period, GW went on a commanding 11-2 run in the final two minutes to elevate to a 13-point lead. The Colonials entered the locker room after sophomore Shannon Cranshaw laid it in at the horn to propel her team to its largest lead at 43-30.
When the entry passes from the guards were spot on, the posts were able to take care of the ball, especially with two post players missing from the Hawks’ lineup due to injury. GW had a 50-20 advantage in the paint and shot over 47 percent to Saint Joe’s 39.
“During half time, we told them we had to crash the boards harder and get on the board, make sure we follow the long shots and box out,” Washington said.
With strong offensive rebounds, GW retained the advantage in the paint and towered over the Hawks by 20 points. The Colonials succeeded with 47 total rebounds, 17 on the offensive side, while Saint Joe’s pulled down just 35. GW had an 18-0 advantage in fast-break points and a 25-10 mark in second-chance points.
But the Hawks played up to their strengths along the perimeter and knocked on the door well into the second, helped by GW’s 1-9 shooting on three pointers after the halfway mark.
Saint Joe’s cut the lead to eight after an impressive 3-pointer with 3:53 left in regulation, but GW worked the clock and kept a safe distance. Schaible took the final layup of the match with one second left on the shot clock.
As the Colonials await their next rival this weekend, Washington said the team has some refining to do.
“We need to work on not allowing the other team to get to the line and keep playing GW basketball, which is a fast-paced, up-tempo kind of play,” Washington said. “We need to get everybody involved and get the post plays to crash hard.”
The Colonials return home to the Smith Center next, matching up with Richmond on Saturday at 2 p.m.
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
In a photo caption, The Hatchet incorrectly referred to Caira Washington as a freshman. Though the photo was taken during Washington’s freshman year, she is now a sophomore. We regret this error.