No. 20 Colonials lose first game in almost three months

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

For the first time since Nov. 22 of last year, No. 20 women’s basketball lost a game.

Falling to St. Louis 79-61 Wednesday night on the road, the Colonials (21-3, 10-1 A-10) snapped a 19-game winning streak and conceded their first loss in Atlantic 10 play.

St. Louis (12-12, 5-6 A-10) hadn’t defeated a ranked opponent since Jan. 24, 2003 when the team took down No. 20 DePaul, and entered the contest sitting in the bottom half of the conference, but came out strong to secure the 18-point victory.

“I felt from the opening tip that we were not mentally and physically ready to play the same way St. Louis was,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “It was 17-2 to start the game. They were the aggressors in everything they did.”

Sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw led the Colonials with 12 points, all scored on her four three-pointers, tying a career high. Senior guard Lauren Chase added 10 points and four assists, while junior forward Jonquel Jones led the game with 14 rebounds and put up eight points.

St. Louis controlled the game from the very beginning, as the Colonials went 1-11 from the field out of the gate, compared to 7-11 for St. Louis. The Billikens’ onslaught did not waver after halftime either: They outscored the Colonials 51-36 in the second half of a game in which GW never led and the score was tied just once.

“We work our offense through Jonquel and Caira and Kelli, and that didn’t get started early. We were kind of dazed when that didn’t work,” Tsipis said.

St. Louis was able to build up what would eventually become a 22-point lead in part because of three-point shooting. St. Louis shot 58 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 11 threes compared to GW’s five. St. Louis also shot 75 percent from the free throw line, while GW shot 55 percent.

“We had some defensive lapses, and they were able to exploit it and knock down some jumpers,” Jones said. “On our end we just have to handle our defense and build from there.”

Despite the loss, the Colonials still managed to out-rebound St. Louis 36-31 and outscore them in the paint 34-22 and 11-5 on second-chance points. However, the Billikens were able to score 20 points off of 19 GW turnovers.

GW entered the first half down 28-25 after a last-second St. Louis three-pointer. However, GW ended the half on a 18-10 run over the final 8:50. Cranshaw led the Colonials in first-half points with six after hitting two threes. Jones led all players with six rebounds in the first 20 minutes, and added three points and three assists. Both teams shot 38 percent in the first half.

With three days before the next game, Tsipis is already looking for ways to get the team back on the winning track.

“We have to be better defensively,” Tsipis said. “We weren’t at our best offensively and we still scored 61 points.”

The Colonials return to action Sunday to face St. Bonaventure at the Smith Center.

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