Women’s basketball notches second win of the season in victory over Towson

Media Credit: Eric Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Sophomore forward Neila Luma shoots the ball during Tuesday night's game against Towson. The Colonials came out on top, beating the Tigers 76-63.

Women’s basketball turned in its best offensive performance of the season in a victory over Towson Tuesday night.

GW (2-5) had five players reach double-digit scoring and the Colonials capitalized on numerous trips to the free throw line to pull out a 76–63 win over the Tigers (3-3).

Sophomore forward Neila Luma led the floor with 18 points, 12 of which came from the charity stripe. Freshman guard Maddie Loder contributed 15 points to the cause despite struggling with turnovers and inaccurate passing.

“It’s nice to come away with a win when you don’t play pretty, but I think there’s a lot for us to use in this game to go forward and feel good about the direction that we’re heading in,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “There’s a lot of moving pieces that we’re still trying to figure out.”

A large chunk of GW’s scoring came from free points – the Colonials picked up a season-high 29 points from the free throw line on the night.

“We definitely knew in the scout report that they were pretty handsy on defense,” Loder said. “You know you can get to the line pretty easily.”

The Colonials ended the night shooting 41.2 percent from the field despite the Tigers making one more field goal than GW. The team’s shooting percentage is its highest since GW’s win over Princeton earlier this month.

Redshirt sophomore guard Kionna Jeter entered the game averaging 24.6 points per game for Towson, good for seventh in the nation, but was held to 17 points and 1-of-10 shooting from three-point range against GW.

“We’ve talked a lot about the other team’s best player not getting their average,” Rizzotti said. “We’re not going to just give you the easy night, we want to be a team that’s going to make you have to work.”

The win was not without its problems. The Tigers outrebounded GW in the contest 41-37 despite the Colonials’ strong defensive play. Turnovers also played a part in keeping the game close. The Colonials gave the ball away 20 times but many other plays broke down due to poor passing, dribbling and awareness.

“You just got to work through it, it comes a lot with confidence and that’s been a big focus for the past couple of weeks for me,” Loder said. “It’s just understanding everything.”

Both teams also faltered in their long-range shooting. The Colonials shot at a 5-for-18 clip from beyond the arc while the Tigers converted just four of their 23 attempts.

A closely contested first quarter began with a three-pointer from freshman forward Aislinn Flynn as Towson broke out to an early lead. The Colonials battled back with a three from senior forward Kelsi Mahoney – who ended the night with 10 points to her name – and layups from Luma.

Both teams tallied 10 points in the paint in the opening quarter while attempting just five three-pointers combined. Towson had a height advantage over the Colonials but could not exert dominance down low, with GW holding an 8-6 rebounding advantage in the first.

The Colonials did not let the Tigers’ lead grow to more than five and GW went point-for-point with Towson to keep the game close. As the quarter wound down, GW pulled ahead 19-16 to end the first frame after Luma sank both her free throws to give the Colonials the slight advantage.

Jeter came alive for Towson in the second quarter and helped the Tigers bite at the heels of GW’s lead. Jeter registered eight points despite briefly exiting the game due to a shoulder injury. Her dynamic dribbling and ability to get to the basket caused problems for the Colonials – half of her scoring in the quarter came from the paint.

Despite Towson’s best shooter getting on the scoreboard, the Colonials cracked open a 10-0 scoring run in the middle of the second quarter after redshirt sophomore forward Sarah Overcash scored six unanswered points. Multiple made free throw opportunities also allowed GW to maintain the lead.

Towson ran into foul trouble with three players racking up three fouls at halftime, including Flynn, who received a technical foul after a scuffle with Mahoney. Loder sank a deep three pointer at the buzzer to pad GW’s lead before halftime, 38-31.

Jeter led all players with 12 points in the half, while only Luma was in double digits for GW with 10 points despite shooting just 28.6 percent from the floor. Six of those points came from the charity stripe.

Loder’s three started a 13-2 run for GW that stretched into the third quarter, aided by several Towson turnovers and a shot from downtown by senior guard Mei-Lyn Bautista. Bautista then turned provider, dishing a no-look assist to Mahoney, who drained a shot from distance.

The Colonials led by as many as 19 in the third, but a pair of threes by Jeter and redshirt junior guard Qierra Murray in the final 15 seconds of the quarter cut GW’s lead to 56-44.

The Colonials managed to hold on for the victory in the fourth quarter, despite committing eight turnovers and giving up seven offensive rebounds. Rizzotti also had to cope with the loss of Overcash and freshman center Kayla Mokwuah, who aided GW 12 points and a team-high four blocks. Both fouled out in the final frame.

“I think that in our case, it was a lack of discipline when you foul that much,” Rizzotti said. “We’ve got to be able to defend without fouling.”

Luma notched six points and four rebounds in the fourth quarter to ensure a GW victory.

The Colonials hit the court at 2 p.m. Sunday when GW hosts the Monmouth Hawks.

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