This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Alex Kist.
Without standout senior forward Jonquel Jones, the Colonials still outlasted George Mason Friday afternoon, extending their winning streak to 12 games in the process.
Junior forward Caira Washington scored 18 first-half points to aid early in the 82-68 win, which was moved up from Saturday because of the weather, and finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
After sustaining a shoulder injury during Wednesday’s contest, Jones was inactive against George Mason. According to head coach Jonathan Tsipis, Jones saw a specialist about her injury on Friday. He said her progress will be monitored on a day-to-day basis and did not know when she would be back.
“I think everybody is stepping up because JJ wouldn’t want us to have it any other way,” Graduate student guard Lauren Chase said. “We are just out there fighting for every game.”
Without their (and the nation’s) leading rebounder, the Colonials still pulled down 47 total rebounds including 12 from Kelli Prange, who also posted a double-double with 17 points.
Chase had a big game from around the perimeter, finishing with 18 points and eight assists.
“I think Kelli, Caira and DaLacy ran the floor well and put pressure on the rim,” Tsipis said.
The Colonials got an early spark from freshman guard Mei-Lyn Bautista, who sunk an early three-pointer to aid GW in a tight first quarter. The Colonials started to pull away at the end and went into the first break up 15-10. GW ultimately got 15 points from the bench.
Chase and Washington found their rhythm at the end of the first frame. Washington followed through with a turnaround jumper, stole the ball and dished it out to Chase for a quick bucket.
GW headed into the second quarter with a four-point lead and continued to push the offensive envelope with fast-paced drives. Chase drove in for a layup and junior guard Shannon Cranshaw knocked down a three-point shot as the Colonials used their quick tempo to catch the frontcourt defense off guard.
“We got in a good rhythm from the transition game, that they could never really set their defense, man or zone,” Tsipis said. “We were just able to move the ball.”
On the night, GW amassed 17 second chance points to George Mason’s 10, and got another eight points off the fast break.
Going into halftime, George Mason chipped away at the lead with an 8-0 run including back-to-back layups as the Patriots found driving lanes. Prange knocked down a seamless jumper to give GW the last word and a 46-39 edge heading into the locker room.
Sophomore guard Brianna Cummings and Washington each posted jumpers, igniting an 8-0 run and giving GW its largest lead of the game at 13.
The final minute of the third quarter was all about the perimeter. With tight defense in the paint, guards saw the opportunity from the beyond the arc. Cummings knocked down a shot from beyond the arc, followed by Chase’s three pointer at the buzzer.
“Bri Cummings was attacking from the very beginning, even though a couple of the attacks were baseline or drift passes that led to the next shot,” Tsipis said.
The Colonials held a 67-54 lead entering the final frame and closed out the game without any letdown. With 23 seconds on the clock, Cranshaw made a three to close out the game. Overall, GW went 7-of-21 from behind the arc.
The Colonials return to action on Wednesday to take on Davidson on the road. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.