What: Women’s basketball vs. Fordham
Where: The Charles E. Smith Center, Washington, D.C.
When: Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Noon
The Colonials (13-8, 6-3 in A-10) square off against Fordham (15-8, 6-3 in A-10) in a Wednesday matinee as they look to rebound from a tough home loss against Duquesne.
The case for the Colonials:
GW had arguably its worst performance offensively in their 73-63 against Duquesne last Wednesday, and yet managed to keep the game tight until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. Sophomore guard Mei-Lyn Bautista was fantastic in creating opportunities off the pick-and-roll, and junior wing Brianna Cummings lent some much-needed firepower off the bench.
The team managed to overcome an atrocious 2-for-20 start from the field in the first quarter thanks to some timely three-point shooting and second chance opportunities. Players like senior Hannah Schaible are known for making all the hustle plays and grabbing loose balls, and GW’s desire was evident throughout the contest.
What hurt the Colonials was their post defense, mostly due to the foul trouble incurred by Schaible and graduate forward Lexi Martins. With senior standout Caira Washington’s status still unclear, Martins must be the focal point both offensively and defensively, as GW’s success frequently runs through their posts.
Part of Martins’ success is in her ability to play inside-out and shoot the three. However, she was just 1-for-4 against the Dukes, and struggled to score (3-for-14 from the field) against Duquesne enforcer Amadea Szamosi. Don’t expect this trend to continue. Martins is far too experienced and skilled, and she had been GW’s best player for a four-game stretch. She will rebound.
GW matches up nicely in this game. Fordham has lost its last three conference games, and were just throttled by Saint Louis. The Rams are not a good rebounding team, nor are they a terrific shooting team. The Colonials can pack the paint and send double teams at Rams forward G’mrice Davis. If the game turns into a defensive struggle, the Colonials are in better shape because they can score in a variety of ways, whereas Fordham is very dependent of Davis.
The case for Fordham:
The gameplan here should be simple: feed the ball to Davis. Without their best defender in Caira Washington, GW has struggled to defend in the posts. Szamosi erupted for 24 points and 14 boards for the Dukes against the Colonials, and looked absolutely unstoppable, allowing for players like Conor Richardson to attack the rim as well.
Fordham should follow the same formula. Give the ball to Davis (averaging 14 points and 12 boards per contest), and run offensive sets through her. It’s more likely that GW will make a more concerted effort to send double teams and defensive pressure in the post, so the backcourt of Danielle Burns and Hannah Missry will have to knock down open shots.
Fordham is going to be extremely hungry for a win, and there would be no better way than to get a conference victory on the road in a nationally televised game. If the Rams can establish dominance in the paint and force GW into more contested jumpers, they’ll likely come away with a big win.
The bottom line:
It’s hard to imagine GW shooting as poorly as it did against Duquesne – and Fordham just doesn’t have the kind of offensive versatility or weapons that the Dukes had – so this should be a more definitive challenge of executing for the Colonials. This one could be close, but coach Rizzotti’s team should rebound with a win to get back on track in the A-10.