Women’s basketball had been working toward Sunday’s matchup against Dayton all season. After losing to the Flyers by two points last month, the Colonials played with revenge on their minds.
The Flyers entered the contest on an 11-game win streak and tied for first place in the Atlantic 10. But this time it was the Colonials’ turn to dish out a cold, hard loss.
In arguably one of women’s basketball’s strongest defensive showings, the Colonials (17-8, 10-3 A-10) marched to a 52–39 win over the Flyers (17-8, 11-2 A-10), a sweet victory for GW in an age-old rivalry. The Colonials are now in a four-game win streak with only three games remaining this season.
“We know this team and they know us, so it is always a good competition, a fun competition,” senior guard Hannah Schaible said. “It is always great to win, no matter what it is, but it is always good to win against Dayton as well.”
Schaible contributed 12 points and four rebounds to go along with her four swipes of the day.
Senior forward Caira Washington led the floor with 15 points and 14 rebounds for her 34th career double-double.
While GW’s offense started the game red-hot, it was their defense – head coach Jennifer Rizzotti’s most emphasized part of the game – that carried them to victory.
“We have been really locked in defensively the last few weeks,” Rizzotti said. “Obviously having Caira back on the floor has a lot to do with that, but I think at every position they are really starting to understand the benefit of playing great team defense and make sure that we can rebound.”
Dayton, the second-highest scoring offense in the A-10, was held to three points in the second quarter and made only 10 field goals in the game. Not a single Flyer finished in double digits.
The Colonials jumped out to a fast 12–2 start against the Flyers in the first quarter, before a 10-4 run narrowed GW’s lead to 19–12 at the close of the first quarter.
Both teams’ offenses stumbled in the second quarter, going a combined 2-for-14 from the field midway through the period before GW went on an 8-1 scoring run.
The Flyers couldn’t answer back, ending the second quarter 1-for-14 from the field and closing the half trailing 30–15, a season-low halftime score for the Flyers. All eight points in the quarter came in the paint for the Colonials, who were shooting a 46.4 percent clip from the field at the break.
There was no margin of error for the Flyers. At the midway break, GW picked up 15 points off 10 Dayton turnovers. In total GW forced 21 turnovers and scored 21 points off of Dayton miscues.
“These guys have always played smart and I have challenged them throughout the season to be just as intelligent as we are physical and intense,” Rizzotti said. “We can bring that level to our defensive mindset.”
While Dayton was again held to single-digit scoring in the third quarter, the Colonials also struggled to get offensive momentum going, shooting at just above 17 percent from the field and picking up just 10 points to pad their 40-22 lead.
The lone bright spot for the Flyers was their rebounding game. Both teams were neck-in-neck in number of boards grabbed in the game, but Dayton out-rebounded the Colonials 45-42 on the night.
The Flyers outscored the Colonials 17-12 in the fourth quarter, but they were unable to repeat history and come back from behind for the win.
“The way we have been playing the past few weeks, if you look at the scores of the games and how hard we have made it for people to score on us, I just felt really confident that we would be able to do the same thing even though Dayton is a really good team,” Rizzotti said. “I felt like it was in our hands to make that difficult for them today.”
The Colonials host St. Bonaventure Wednesday night at the Smith Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.