Women’s basketball has ironed out its kinks and seems to be peaking at the right time, having won nine in a row after a big win over La Salle at home Wednesday night. GW looks like the threat everyone expected it to be, so let’s take a look at some of the other teams hoping to unseat the Colonials as Atlantic 10 Champions.
Duquesne (16-1, 4-0 A-10)
The Dukes made waves Monday after cracking the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history at No. 25. Duquesne is the first A-10 team to score a spot in the national rankings since Nov. 23, when GW sat at No. 24/23. After losing its only contest this season to Princeton on Nov. 15, the group has embarked on a two-month long, 15-game win streak. Duquesne’s high-powered offense currently leads the A-10 in scoring (75.2 points per game), field goal percentage (43.4 percent), three-point field goal percentage (33.7 percent) and assists (17.8 per game). The Colonials play the Dukes in Pittsburgh on Jan. 17.
St. Bonaventure (15-2, 4-0 A-10)
The Bonnies have the stingiest defense in the league, allowing just 52.6 points per game. It’s a tall task to get a good shot up against St. Bonaventure, which has held two opponents in conference play, Fordham and Massachusetts, to just 41 points. Senior forward Katie Healy leads the offense with 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and also has 42 assists, 28 blocks and 15 steals on the season.
Dayton (8-7, 1-3 A-10)
The Colonials beat Dayton in Dayton on Jonquel Jones’ last-minute three-pointer last Sunday and will see them again at home on Valentine’s Day. But there’s no love affair between the two league powerhouses that could easily meet again in the A-10 tournament. The Flyers own wins over Louisville and Princeton, and are averaging 6.7 threes per game, while also leading the league in blocks at 5.5 per game. Led by Amber Deane (15.3 points per game), the Flyers have four players averaging double-figures in scoring and seven averaging more than seven.
Saint Louis (13-4, 3-1 A-10)
The Bilikens were responsible for the lone blemish on GW’s otherwise impeccable record in conference play last season in which they went 15‒1 against A-10 opponents. Saint Louis currently boasts the third best offense in the league, averaging 71.1 points per game to GW’s 72.5. Although the Bilikens suffered a 10-point overtime loss to George Mason in its A-10 opener, they have since responded with two strong road wins at VCU and Davidson. Shooting a 75.9 clip from the free throw line, best in the A-10, could also pose a threat when the squad visits the Smith Center on Jan. 31.
VCU (13-4, 2-2 A-10)
The Rams turned heads on Dec. 5 when they upset then-No. 10 Arizona State 57–48 for their first and only Top 25 win this season. But VCU’s momentum, since then, has stalled. The team dropped its subsequent contest to unranked Toledo by nearly 20 points, and lost to Saint Louis and Saint Joseph’s in A-10 play before beating Dayton on Wednesday. With an offense that ranks fifth in the league, the Rams find ways to win with its second-best scoring defense, which concedes the A-10’s second-lowest 54.8 per game. VCU visits the Smith Center on Feb. 20.