This post was written by Hatchet reporter Marty Fenn.
Oftentimes in sports, a contest can be described as a “tale of two halves.”
The saying certainly applied to the women’s basketball team Sunday afternoon, which gritted out a 68–62 victory over the Memphis Tigers despite trailing by as much as 16 points midway through the second quarter.
Despite shooting just 11 for 36 from the field in the first half, the Colonials bounced back with a 44.4 percent clip in the second half, while limiting Memphis to just eight field goals in the frame.
GW trailed 34–18 with 4:49 to play in the second period, but slowly chipped away at the home team’s lead. Although Memphis led 36-29 at the break, GW finally took a 58–56 lead with 5:33 remaining in the final quarter after scratching and clawing its way back into the game. The Colonials lead for less than five minutes in the game’s entirety, but were able to hold that advantage down the stretch.
“I thought it was huge that we were able to trim the lead to seven at the half,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We began to string stops together and change defenses. When you’re on the road I think you have to weather the storm, and that’s what we had to do in the first half. Keeping the lead under 10 and then scoring early to start the second half, I think it gave us confidence.”
The Colonials once again received an outstanding performance from senior forward Jonquel Jones, who scored 18 points and added 17 rebounds with five assists in an impressive all-around performance. Jones’ double-double was her seventh in a row.
“I thought JJ was very efficient,” Tsipis said. “We talked in the locker room about how they were going to let her shoot jumpers, and at the half we told her she needed to engage her defender more and make plays. You saw that in the second half she found her rhythm and even found Bri [Cummings] and Caira [Washington] for some easy looks.”
Cummings, a sophomore guard, provided a spark off the bench, notching a double-double of her own with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Colonials also got a big contribution from junior guard Hannah Schaible, whose return to the lineup has added another option at the guard position.
“It was a great comeback win and obviously a total team effort to get back in it,” Schaible, who added 12 points and five rebounds, said. “They were pressing a lot, and our post players did a great job of drawing attention which left the lane open for me to drive to the paint.”
Tsipis commented on Schaible’s return to the lineup, and praised her versatility as a player.
“She gets loose balls, she can switch on to post players, she can take the ball out against the press…she really gives us depth and a needed extra decision-maker,” he said
GW also dominated on the boards, winning the battle 57–31 and grabbing 28 offensive rebounds. The visitors also got to the free throw line, converting 13 of 18 attempts from the charity stripe.
Tsipis was quick to mention that the offensive efficiency of the Colonials must improve, and that it may come down to the little things.
“I think if we capitalize on turnovers early and put more emphasis on pressing defensively, that will put a lot of pressure on opposing teams and lead to easier offense,” Tsipis said. “When we’re in the half-court it’s about getting to the line early and getting those foul calls. Any time you see the ball go through the hoop, you gain confidence.”
The Colonials will look to continue their winning ways when they return home to play Villanova Sunday at 2 p.m.