Women’s basketball couldn’t contain a hot Davidson offense Thursday afternoon.
The Colonials (8-13, 5-3 A-10) allowed the Wildcats (12-8, 6-1 A-10) to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field without building enough offensive consistency for themselves, falling 62–42 in the team’s third Atlantic 10 loss in the Smith Center this season.
Davidson employed an aggressive man-to-man defensive strategy for the majority of the game, preventing the Colonials from making much headway in the key. In total, GW scored 18 points in the paint – 10 fewer than the Wildcats.
“I thought they did a great job of putting the pressure on the ball and being prepared to rotate when we get attacked,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “Sometimes it’s just about playing good individual one-on-one defense, and they had a lot of guys who are very committed to guarding today.”
Freshman guard Maddie Loder was the only Colonial to record a double-digit scoring total for the third game in a row, putting up 14 points on the day along with three assists.
“She’s really our only guy who can score at three levels,” Rizzotti said. “If you can make a three, make a pull-up and make a layup, you’re going to be hard to guard in your college career, and she’s the only guy we have that can do that on a consistent basis.”
Senior forward Kelsi Mahoney finished the game with nine points and five rebounds, followed by senior guard Mei-Lyn Bautista – who recorded seven points. Sophomore guard Neila Luma ended with four points in only 15 minutes of play, marking her third consecutive game with less than 10 points to her name at the final buzzer.
“Davidson’s defense was phenomenal, they know what we’re trying to do, they know who are our go-to guys are, they know our offense,” Bautista said. “They were tough and they took away what we want to do.”
Continuing their trend of solid shooting from beyond the arc, GW had six triples in 14 tries during the contest, good for a 42.9 percent clip. The Colonials shot 34.6 percent from the field overall, while allowing Davidson to sink 48.2 percent of their shots.
Wildcats senior guard Justine Lyon scored 20 points on the day, nearly a third of the Davidson’s overall point production. Two more of her teammates joined her with double-digit scoring totals.
To start the outing, the Colonials were the first to get in a groove with Mahoney making two triples in the opening minutes. But the Wildcats answered back, embarking on a 13-0 run on 8-for-14 shooting to end the first quarter up 17–8. During the opening frame, GW gave up seven of its 14 total turnovers on the night.
Three-pointers from Mahoney and Bautista brought the game within five points two minutes into the second quarter. But GW’s scoring slowed down and the Wildcats matched their 12-point showing in the frame, allowing Davidson to lead 29–20 entering the halftime break.
After a Wildcats turnover to start the second half, the visiting squad hit its stride and grew its lead to 34–22 after a 5-0 run less than halfway through the third quarter.
Things began heating up for the Colonials when sophomore forward Chyna Latimer quickly netted six points off the bench for GW. A triple from Loder added to GW’s momentum, but Davidson’s offense appeared even more dominant. The Wildcats continued to outshoot the Colonials, making seven baskets in 13 tries during the third frame – taking a 48–33 lead into the final 10 minutes.
The Colonials were unable to conjure up enough offense to close the gap in the fourth quarter, scoring only nine points in the frame and shooting at a 28.6 percent clip.
“I thought that Davidson played really hard. I thought that they played well together as a team, and we need to do that better,” Rizzotti said. “I think every game we play in these last eight games has kind of given us an idea of how much better we need to be to try and win a championship.”
The Colonials hit the road to take on Saint Louis Sunday at 2 p.m.