This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.
For the first time since 2003, No. 21 women’s basketball is the Atlantic 10 tournament champion.
GW defeated Dayton 75-62 for the third time this season to take the championship in Richmond. The win also gives the Colonials an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and sets the record for the most wins in a season in program history.
“They’re a very resilient bunch,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “When you get them all on the same page, it’s amazing the things you can accomplish.”
Junior forward Jonquel Jones led the game with 21 points and added six rebounds.
Sophomore Hannah Schaible led the game with 11 rebounds and tallied seven points. Sophomore Caira Washington recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Colonials went into the half down 37-29 and on the wrong side of a 17-11 Dayton run over the final 10:34.
GW came out of the locker room to score the first eight of 10 points in the second half and brought the game back even. Senior Chakecia Miller had six of those points.
The Colonials were able to build a double-digit lead after Jones scored seven-straight points with 10:47 left. The game did not get closer than eight points, as GW outscored Dayton 46-25 in the second half.
“The first thing we said after the half was that we didn’t want anything that we didn’t have to work for,” Jones said. “This game definitely made us work for it.”
The Colonials shot 42 percent from the field for the game and held Dayton to 36 percent. GW dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Flyers 56-43 and holding a 32-22 scoring advantage in the paint. The team also outscored Dayton 23-7 on the second chance.
One of the biggest differences for the Colonials between the first and second halves was turnovers. In the first half, GW turned over the ball 15 times, which led to 17 Dayton points. But then GW gave up zero points on only six turnovers in the second half.
“I felt that it would be a game of runs,” Tsipis said about the first half. “Every game this year against Dayton, we’ve had to battle for runs.”
Despite Jones missing significant time in the first half because of foul trouble, the Colonials still out-rebounded the Flyers 29-17. They also held a 18-14 scoring advantage in the paint and a 9-2 advantage on the second chance.
But Dayton shot 48 percent from the field, including 4-10 from beyond the arc. GW shot only 33 percent in the first half. Miller led GW in the first half with six points. Washington led all players with seven rebounds.
The Colonials now await their NCAA Tournament seed. The first round of the tournament begins March 20.
“Today is a great day to celebrate,” Jones said. “We just want to keep playing at this level going in the NCAA tournament.”