In the women’s basketball season opener, the young Colonials team was unable to keep up with Princeton, leading to their first loss of the season Friday night.
GW (0-1) fell to the Tigers (1-0) 72–52 on the road after getting outscored 27-9 in the third quarter and trailing for all but 17 seconds of the game.
The loss was the first time Princeton had defeated the Colonials since Jan. 12, 1979.
Head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said the team lacked energy and focus, but still displayed a strong effort despite the new additions to the program. Rizzotti played each of the team’s four eligible newcomers for at least 14 minutes on the night.
“We are very inexperienced and we are working a couple new pieces,” Rizzotti said. “We are optimistic about the kind of season we can have but are also realistic about how much better we need to get.”
Junior forward Kelsi Mahoney played a career-high 28 minutes and started in the frontcourt. In addition to her three rebounds and two steals, she marked a career-high 11 points in the game.
In her first-career start, Mahoney said the first quarter was a lot of jitters, not only for her, but for the whole team.
“In the first quarter we had to get our feet under us,” Mahoney said. “We’re still a young team and we’re still learning.”
The Tigers started out with fast transition play and took a 19-7 lead seven minutes into the game. After a long, 13 minute break due to technical problems with the shot clock, GW did not answer shots by Princeton and ended the first quarter trailing by 10 points.
The Colonials closed in rapidly on the Tigers’ lead with a 9-0 run in the middle of the second quarter and held the team to score only 10 points in the frame.
Senior forward Kelli Prange led the Colonials with a game-high 21 points and six rebounds, 11 of those points coming in the second quarter. She had a game-high 13 points in the first half, leading the Colonials into the halftime break down by only three points.
Coming out of break, the Colonials could not connect the ball to the basket, scoring only nine points in the third quarter, six of which were scored by Prange.
“We worked really hard for in the second quarter and I think that we kind of got a little bit lax,” Mahoney said. “We just thought it was going to happen again.”
Princeton came out firing in the second half, scoring 12 unanswered points in the opening seven minutes. The Tigers capitalized on their lead and went into the fourth quarter ahead by 21 points.
GW outscored the Tigers in the final 10 minutes of the game, 13-12, but it was not enough to take the victory.
All three of GW’s freshmen were able to see time on the court Friday. In her 17 minutes of action, forward Chyna Latimer was able to score two points with one rebound, one assist and one block. Forward Neila Luma scored two points and grabbed four rebounds in 14 minutes and guard Lexus Levy helped with one assist in 16 minutes of play.
Although the team lost, Rizzotti said they are looking forward to redeeming themselves in the quick turnaround before their next game.
The Colonials have a short break and will host South Dakota State in their home opener Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Smith Center.