A nine-point showing in the fourth quarter crippled women’s basketball in a close match against Monmouth at the Smith Center Sunday.
The Colonials (2–6) kept pace with the Hawks (3–4) through three quarters and led for more than 13 minutes, but stagnant play in the final 10 minutes caused GW to drop its sixth game of the season 55–51.
“We didn’t execute how we wanted,” senior guard Mei-Lyn Bautista said. “We have trouble finding that extra gear when things aren’t going our way. Tonight was one of those nights.”
In nearly all areas of play, GW and Monmouth appeared evenly matched, shooting a 31.3 and 34.4 percent clip, respectively. But the Colonials were unable to shut down junior guards Sierra Green and Emani Clough, who were responsible for 44 of the Hawks’ total 55 points.
Green turned in a career performance with 25 points to her name and Clough’s 19 points marks her best offensive showing this season.
GW was led by Bautista, sophomore forward Neila Luma and redshirt sophomore forward Olivia Gumbs, who each recorded 10 points on the afternoon. Under the rim, redshirt sophomore forward Sarah Overcash collected a team-leading and career-high 14 rebounds.
But from beyond the arc, the Colonials converted only four of their 20 attempts. Bautista and senior forward Kelsi Mahoney, responsible for the majority of GW’s total triples this season, were limited to a combined 3-for-14 effort.
“When we’re 4–20 from three, it’s going to be tough for us to score a lot of points,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “We did get a few good looks that we just didn’t lock down.”
Mahoney and Bautista, two of the team’s leading scorers, finished shooting a combined 27.3 percent from the floor.
“If Mei and Kelsi don’t play well, like today, like against Iona, then we have a tough time beating teams that we maybe should be beating,” Rizzotti said.
The Colonials also left a significant number of free points on the court, converting just seven of 14 free-throw attempts.
GW utilized a 2-3 zone for most of the game, limiting the Hawks in the key but leaving Green and Clough, their main outside shooters, open. The duo scored all eight of Monmouth’s three-point shots.
“It’s tough to look at a box score and see numbers like that,” Rizzotti said. “We need to be a lot better with our defensive focus.”
In the first quarter, Monmouth found most of its offense from beyond the arc, converting on four of eight attempts from the three-point line to jump out to a 17–12 lead. Luma provided the majority of GW’s first quarter offense by quickly racking up eight points, but foul trouble relegated her to the bench for much of the second quarter.
“I love the way Neila started the game, I love the aggressiveness and intensity she brought,” Rizzotti said.
A three-point basket from freshman guard Maddie Loder and a jumper from Bautista tied the score at 17 a minute into the second quarter. Mahoney continued the run, picking up five unanswered points and pushing GW ahead 22–17, but the Colonials lost their momentum when two Monmouth steals led to fast-break layups.
The contest stayed close through the second quarter, and GW did not trail by more than three points, but Monmouth picked up eight points off turnovers in the second quarter alone and led 30–27 heading into the locker room.
Bautista opened the third frame with a three-point shot to tie the score at 30 and Gumbs sparked the Colonials’ offense with eight points in the quarter.
Both sides went basket-for-basket in the frame, but hot shooting from the three-point line by the Hawks kept them ahead 42–40 at the end of the third.
In the final frame, a stagnant fourth quarter doomed the Colonials. GW recorded just nine points and shot at a 13.3 percent clip while going 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.
The Colonials were trailing 54–51 with six seconds left in the game and looked for a triple to tie the score, but Mahoney’s shot bounced off the rim and solidified GW’s loss.
The Colonials return to action Thursday when they host Villanova. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.