After hot start, Colonials falter in road loss to South Dakota State

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Barbara Alberts. 

After snapping its four-game winning streak in an overtime loss Friday night, women’s basketball traveled to South Dakota State University where they looked to redeem themselves and get back into the win column.

But the Colonials (7-4) were unable to hold back a relentless Jackrabbits team (8-2). SDSU overcame an 18-point deficit to gut out a 55–60 win over GW and to give head coach Aaron Johnston his 400th career victory.  

“We had a few lapses in our attention to detail, and I think those little issues cost us down the stretch,” senior guard Shannon Cranshaw said.

Senior forward Caira Washington was the only Colonial who saw double-digits in the game, scoring 14 points. Junior guard Brianna Cummings, who scored at least 10 points in the last five games, was held scoreless in today’s match. Baskets off turnovers accounted for 24 of the Jackrabbits 60 points.

The game opened with a lopsided first half.  The Colonials came out of the gate red-hot both on offense and defense, going on an 11-0 run before the Jackrabbits scored their first points.  

Early on GW iced out SDSU, who shot only 13.3 percent – 2-for-15 from the field – to the Colonials’ 57.1 percent in the first quarter.

The Colonials took advantage of their strong post players, utilizing a high-low lob-from-the-key combo to Washington, who contributed six of the team’s 22 points in the first quarter for the Colonials.

The second quarter belonged to the Jackrabbits. Despite trailing 22-7 going into the second quarter, SDSU found their offensive momentum, going on an 11-2 offensive run and outscoring the Colonials 21-8 in the frame.

Senior guard Clarissa Ober sparked the Jackrabbit offense in the first half with nine points and three rebounds and and helped chip GW’s lead down to just two points, with the Colonials leading 30-28 going into the break.

GW was held to only 4 points in the second quarter, leveling the playing for the Jackrabbits, who shot an improved 46.7 percent from the field  in the second quarter.

“I thought our defensive intensity was excellent in the first quarter,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said.  “We just weren’t able to keep it up throughout the second quarter.”

The scoreboard barely budged in the second half, with the score tied three times in the third quarter and neither side having the clear edge.

Free throws from sophomore guard Madison Guebert resulted in the Jackrabbits tying the game 30–30, and deep three from junior forward Ellie Thompson gave SDSU their first lead of the night at 35–32.

But the Colonials answered.  Cranshaw went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in the third quarter and junior forward Kelli Prange dropped a massive three to keep the Colonials competitive and the score tied up at 35.

“Coach expects a lot from me to come in and be ready to shoot and knock down big shots,” Cranshaw said.

A Prange buzzer-beating jumper from elbow gave the Colonials a minuscule 40-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was tight once more, but good shooting and offensive hustle from SDSU guards Kerri Young and Thompson have the Jackrabbits their biggest lead at 50–58.

The Colonials didn’t go down without a fight.  A made basket off the glass by Washington narrowed the difference to six points with less than 30 seconds left in the game.  

Sophomore guard Mei-Lyn Bautista came up with the ball after Cranshaw stole the Jackrabbits’ inbound play and launched a step-back three. The shot went in, keeping GW’s hopes alive and closing the gap to a one possession game with 10 seconds remaining. 

However, made free throws and a final costly turnover, just one of 20 by the Colonials on the night, solidified the Jackrabbits win as time ran out. 

“Third quarter we came out and defended well,” Washington said. “But [in the fourth] we didn’t close out the way we should have,” 

The Colonials have a 10-day break before they face Stanford at home on Dec. 21. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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