Who: Women’s basketball
Where: Tom Gola Arena, Philadelphia, Pa.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 5 p.m.
The Colonials (5-11, 2-1 A-10) are coming off a one-point win over conference powerhouse Dayton and will face a struggling La Salle (3-14, 0-3 A-10) in an attempt to bring the team’s winning streak to three.
In last season’s Atlantic 10 meeting with La Salle, GW strolled to a 60-45 win after senior guard Mei-Lyn Bautista put up a career-best 22 points in the game. The teams also met in the first round of the A-10 Championship, which GW won 69–49 en route to the conference crown.
Case for the Colonials:
After scoring 64 points against Rhode Island on Jan. 9, GW has struggled to put points on the board. A matchup with a porous Explorers defense provides an opportunity for Rizzotti to kickstart her team’s offense.
La Salle has allowed opponents to pick up more than 80 points on six separate occasions this season, including a 100–46 drubbing at the hands of No. 9 Oregon State.
The Colonials have seen increased production from sophomore forwards Chyna Latimer and Neila Luma. Luma notched 20 points in the win over Rhode Island and added 13 against Dayton. Latimer also found double digits against the Flyers and has seen her role expand in the past month.
The stout defense that has been a hallmark of the team all season continued in the win over Dayton, with GW allowing the Flyers to score just five points in the fourth quarter. Combined with their 30.7 percent shooting this season, the Explorers may be lucky to reach 40 points on Wednesday night against GW’s defense.
Case for the Explorers:
La Salle does not have a player averaging double-digit points per game and instead relies on the depth of scoring by sophomore guards Deja King, Michelle Nichols and Rayshel Brown. No player has started every game for La Salle, highlighting that head coach Mountain Macgillivray is willing to go deep into his bench in search of a solution – but often comes up empty-handed.
Junior forward Shalina Miller has dominated the glass for the Explorers, pulling down 6.4 rebounds per game, while the Colonials’ best rebounder is Luma, with an average of 5.6 per game. Blocked shots have also been a key part of Miller’s game. She has rejected 29 shots on the year, dwarfing GW’s freshman center Kayla Mokwuah, who leads the team with 10. If La Salle forces the Colonial to put the ball on the floor and play a post-heavy game, the Explorers will have an easier time shutting down GW under the glass.
GW’s main offensive threat, Bautista, has gone quiet after exploding out of the gate early in the season. The Colonials have been susceptible to having off days on offense and if Luma and Bautista don’t land their shots, the Explorers may be able to squeak out a victory.
The Colonials enter the game on a high after winning two consecutive A-10 matchups while La Salle is still searching for its first victory in conference play. The Explorers do not score nor defend particularly well and Wednesday’s game will be an opportunity for GW to keep building momentum.
If La Salle manages to pull off an upset, it will be in the event of an offensive implosion from the Colonials, which they have fallen victim to several times this season. Even without the offense consistently firing on all cylinders, the Colonials should easily brush their opponents aside and add to their winning streak.