Missed opportunities and careless ball handling forced women’s basketball into the loss column once again against Mercer Friday.
The Colonials (2-9) fell behind early in the game after only tallying six points in the first quarter and never were able to recover, with the Bears (7-5) eventually taking the matchup 61–53.
“It’s just hard to dig yourself out of a hole when you’re playing against the teams that are really veteran, and led by their seniors,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “We need to do a better job with how we start.”
GW also left plenty of points on the table due to missed opportunities from the charity stripe, only making 10 of their 18 free throw attempts.
In an eight point game, those missed points could have helped the Colonials to steal the win, Rizzotti said.
“When you look at an eight, nine point game, it can be a little frustrating to look back and have so many turnovers and so many missed opportunities. But it also, as a coach, gives you hope like we’re right there, we just need to finish plays,” she said.
Senior forward Kelsi Mahoney and senior guard Anna Savino were a bright spot for the Colonials, ending the night with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Savino sunk four three-point shots, breaking her career record.
Mercer limited GW’s top two scorers senior guard Mei Lyn Bautista and sophomore forward Neila Luma to just four points each.
Turnovers and weak shooting crippled GW from the start, putting the Bears ahead 16–6 after 10 minutes of play. The Colonials went 2-for-12 from the field in the first quarter, translating to a measly 16.7 field goal percentage. Mercer started out cold as well – opening the quarter by going 2-for-9 – but ended it making five of their last seven shots.
GW compounded their game-opening woes by committing six turnovers in the first frame. Mercer took advantage of these opportunities, converting eight points off turnovers – good for half of their first quarter points.
Ball handling errors continued to plague the Colonials throughout the game. The squad ended the day with 21 total turnovers, a significant increase from their season average of 15.2 turnovers per game. In total, Mercer converted 24 points off GW’s turnovers, representing almost half of Mercer’s total points for the game.
The Colonials were able to shake off their slow start to open the second quarter, nabbing two baskets in the first three minutes of play and increasing their shooting to a 54.5 percent clip and finally settling into an offensive rhythm. They were also able to neutralize Mercer’s shooting and hold them to a 33.3 field goal percentage.
Despite sustaining their effective offense into the third quarter – the Colonials again posted a 54.5 field goal percentage – the team’s defense faltered. Mercer opened the first half going 5-for-5 from the field, knocking down three triples and putting their lead well into the double digits.
GW’s surge of production stalled in the final quarter, with the Colonials shooting at a 36.4 percent clip. Despite Mercer posting their worst offensive frame of the game, the Bears had piled on enough points early to hold on to their victory with eight points to spare.
The Colonials will return to action on the road in Williamsburg on Saturday, where they will face off against William & Mary. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.