Women’s basketball starts A-10 play with loss for first time in five years

Media Credit: Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Senior guard Brianna Cummings drives past an American defender during a women's basketball game earlier in December.

Women’s basketball dropped its conference opener Sunday, losing 61–50 to the Fordham Rams on a chilly afternoon in the Bronx.

The Colonials (5-8, 0-1 A-10) were unable to contain the Rams’ trio of senior forward G’mrice Davis, redshirt freshman guard Bre Cavanaugh and junior guard Lauren Holden – who combined for 42 points and helped Fordham (10-4, 1-0 A-10) keep the lead for nearly the entire game.

The loss snaps a two-game winning streak and is the first time since the 2012-13 season that the Colonials have started Atlantic 10 action with a loss.

Freshman forward Chyna Latimer led GW with 14 points, while senior guard Brianna Cummings and junior point guard Mei-Lyn Bautista each added 12 points.

The absence of senior forward Kelli Prange – who missed her sixth straight game with a concussion – continued to be notable, as the Rams outrebounded the Colonials 33-25 on the glass, including 12 offensive boards that led to 13 second-chance points.

Fordham’s dominance on the offensive glass was evocative of its control of the interior, as the Rams outscored GW 34-16 in the paint. The Rams also knocked down seven three-pointers, compared to just three made attempts for the Colonials.

“Fordham was going to be a challenge for us to open conference play with because they are tough at home and really good defensively,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “I think that a lot of our mistakes we set upon ourselves. When you make those mistakes it’s really hard to be consistent on both ends of the floor.”

Both teams struggled to score early, combining for just seven points midway through the first quarter. After the Rams embarked on an 8-2 run out of the timeout, GW responded with a 6-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to one.

The second quarter saw the balance swing in favor of the Rams. Freshman guard Lexus Levy knotted the game up at 15 after knocking down a three, but GW never pulled into the lead for the remainder of the contest. Fordham exploded on an 18-3 run during the next five minutes, and closed the half with a 33–22 lead.

The Rams amassed four offensive boards in the second quarter, with Davis and frountcourt mate freshman Johanna Klug getting to the ball at will and Cavanaugh and Holden controlling the perimeter and leading Fordham’s inside-out attack.

Meanwhile, GW seemed helpless to get good shots up, with Bautista scoring on a number of difficult drives at the end of the shot clock and barely keeping the Colonials in the game. The Queens, N.Y. native scored seven points for GW in the second frame.

“The mentality we have is ‘whatever is working, go for it,’” Bautista said. “Early on I was finding Chyna for some jumpers, but when the defense adjusts I have the confidence in myself to try and score and help our team.”

The Colonials did not go down without a fight. After the Rams extended their lead to 17 at the start of the third quarter, GW mounted a 15-5 run over a five-minute span to trim Fordham’s lead to seven.

However, the Rams countered GW’s run with one of their own. Five straight points to begin the fourth quarter effectively put the game out of reach for the Colonials, with Davis grabbing an offensive rebound and getting the bucket with contact.

“I think that when we look at the tape we’ll see that on some possessions they were great and boxed out well, and on others they just watched the ball and didn’t put a body on anyone,” Rizzotti said.

The Colonials will take on VCU in Richmond Wednesday for their first contest of 2018. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 p.m.

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