This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Alex Kist.
The Colonials extended their winning streak to 13 games with a 19-point demolition of Davidson on the road Wednesday.
It was the first time GW (18-3, 8-0 A-10) ventured to Davidson’s (9-12, 3-5 A-10) John M. Belk Arena since the Wildcats joined the Atlantic 10 in 2014.
Junior guard Shannon Cranshaw led the pack with 15 points and four other Colonials finished with double figures in scoring. Junior guard Hannah Schaible, junior forward Caira Washington and sophomore guard Brianna Cummings posted 12 points each and freshman guard Mei-Lyn Bautista scored 11 while GW won the rebounding margin, 34-28.
GW averages 4.4 three pointers per game, but went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc in the first half alone to beat the zone.
“It started in practice this week, knowing that they run zone and we were going to have open availability to shoot threes and jumpshots,” Cranshaw said. “I think that extra focus and confidence from the coaches and my teammates made us all really confident in shooting the ball today.”
The Wildcats stayed right with the Colonials early and neutralized the interior presence of GW’s zone defense, scoring 12 of 17 first-quarter points in the paint. The Wildcats had a 17-16 lead heading into the second quarter and senior forward Dakota Dukes led all players with eight points in the first frame.
GW accumulated a string of travel violations leading to turnovers in the first quarter. Players struggled to maintain their pivot foot out of the gate, but tightened up their footwork and ball handling in in the second frame.
But starting with six minutes, 41 seconds left until halftime and extending after the break, the Colonials went on a 23-0 run. GW got 15 points off 10 turnovers in the second quarter alone and went into the lockers up 42-26. Davidson scored just nine points in the second quarter.
“I thought we did a good job the whole first half of forcing turnovers,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We were just able to capitalize better in the second quarter and were more sound defensively.”
GW shot nearly 60 percent in the second half to help extend the lead. The Colonials missed only four shots in the third quarter but made six turnovers.
“That was a little bit of the frustration of the third quarter,” Tsipis said. “We shot a high percentage, but we turned it over too much. We just want to come out being sharper than that.”
GW earned a 24-point advantage, its largest lead of the game, after freshman guard Mei-Lyn Bautista scored off a turnaround jumper early in the fourth quarter. For the remainder of the match, the teams traded points, but GW retained its lead by pushing through the Wildcats’ 3-2 zone defense and putting the ball up on the glass.
With just slightly more than three minutes left in regulation, the Wildcats left a shooter open on man-to-man coverage and Bautista took advantage. She made her third three-pointer of the night and helped GW clinch its 79-60 victory.
Senior forward Jonquel Jones did make the trip to North Carolina, but was inactive again on Wednesday. Tsipis said she will be seeing a shoulder specialist again on Friday and is still day-to-day.
GW returns to action on Sunday to host Saint Louis at 2 p.m.