Updated: Feb.16, 2017 at 9:34 a.m.
After dominating its last four games, women’s basketball stumbled on the way to its fifth consecutive victory Wednesday night – its longest winning-streak of the season.
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies (9-17, 4-10 A-10) slashed an 11-point Colonial lead to tie the game at 51 midway through the fourth quarter. But clutch free-throw shooting kept the Colonials (18-8, 11-3 A-10) alive in a nail-biting 63–57 win.
“We have talked all year about how our defense is what is going to drive the ship and we will figure out how to score as long as we don’t turn the ball over and we’re patient,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “I don’t think we had that patience and that focus in the second half today.”
Graduate student forward Lexi Martins led the game with 21 points and seven rebounds, while senior forward Caira Washington, the back-to-back Atlantic 10 Player of the Week, was scoreless on the night.
“They were literally guarding [Washington] with two players before she caught it and then three players once she received the ball,” Rizzotti said.
The Colonials, who grabbed 31 rebounds to the Bonnies’ 37 were outrebounded by for only the seventh time all season.
The first half of the game went in favor of the Colonials.
Sophomore guard Mei-Lyn Bautista opened the night hitting two consecutive threes to spark the Colonials’ offense. GW went 7-for-14 from the field in the first frame while the Bonnies were held to just 2-of-10 shooting.
Bautista, who entered the the matchup in a shooting slump, ended the night with nine points and five dimes.
“I’m always going to keep shooting because at the end of the day, when I make them, I help my post because they’ll start getting open,” Bautista said. “They’ll have to start playing me higher and then things inside will starting working so much better for Caira, Lexi and [junior forward] Kelli [Prange].”
Prange, who had 13 points on the night, went 4-for-7 from the field in the second quarter to help push the Colonials’ lead to 38—27. The Bonnies were shooting a 39.1 percent clip from the field at the halftime break, and their leading scorer, Mariah Ruff, was held to just three points.
While a slow start out of the gate for both teams plagued the scoring pace to start the half, a late 7-2 run by the Bonnies heading into the final frame slashed the Colonials’ lead to just six points. GW went just 2-for-13 from the field while allowing the Bonnies to pick up 13 points in the period.
St. Bonaventure’s Sarah Hart and Mckenna Maycock combined for 22 points on the night, and started the Bonnies’ offensive push in the third quarter, when the pair hit two three-point shots in a row.
The Bonnies gained even more momentum at the beginning of the fourth, when a costly Colonials foul on Ruff sent the guard to the charity stripe on a three-point attempt to cut the Colonials’ lead to one basket.
The momentum went back-and-forth between the teams in the fourth. Martins was fouled on a layup and made her free throw to put the Colonials up 54-–51, but Maycock answered back with a driving layup to put the Bonnies within one point of the lead.
Martins, who picked up 11 points in the fourth quarter, went a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stipe.
“We didn’t win the game because we made a bunch of threes in the third quarter, we won the game because Lexi got fouled and made free throws and got an offensive rebound layup and then Mei got a layup and we continued to move the ball well and get it into the post,” Rizzotti said.
Bautista split her free throws with 14.7 seconds left in the game to make the match a two-possession game for St. Bonaventure and solidifying the Colonials’ 11th A-10 victory and their fifth win in a row.
“We might not be able to score but once we get a lead, we can’t lose either if we don’t let them score and that was the message in the last timeout with three and a half minutes to go,” Rizzotti said.
The Colonials play their final game at the Smith Center on Saturday afternoon, when they host George Mason. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the photo is of junior Kelli Prange. The photo is of graduate student Lexi Martins. The Hatchet regrets this error.