Updated: Feb. 28, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.
After trailing Duquesne by one point at halftime, women’s basketball fell in a tightly-contested rematch Wednesday night for its final regular season home game of the year.
The Colonials (10–18, 7–8 A-10) couldn’t keep up with a 42-point second-half performance from Duquesne (16–12, 10–5 A-10) and ultimately lost 64–53.
The last time the two teams played, the Colonials served Duquesne a narrow 55–54 loss last month.
Duquesne shot 41.1 percent from the floor on the night while GW shot 37.9 percent. The Colonials allowed the Dukes to go to the free-throw line 18 times, resulting in 13 points for Duquesne.
For the visitors, senior guard Chassidy Omogrosso led all players with 19 points on 55.9 percent shooting. Sophomore guard Libby Bazelak notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Four Dukes reached double figures in scoring.
The Colonials were paced by freshman guard Maddie Loder, who racked up 14 points. Sophomore forward Neila Luma tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds while senior forward Kelsi Mahoney also reached double figures with 10 points.
“We don’t feel as defeated as when we lost to Davidson and we had no competitive drive or anything like that,” Mahoney said. “We had much more today and it’s just getting better every day.”
Senior guard Mei-Lyn Bautista sat out her second-straight game while abiding by concussion protocol, according to an athletic department spokesman.
Freshman center Kayla Mokwuah, the reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, led the floor with 11 rebounds while contributing nine points.
“Her development has been ridiculous,” Mahoney said. “She’s a very valuable asset as you’ve seen in the past couple games. She’s really hit her stride.”
Without Bautista in the lineup, Loder and senior guard Anna Savino took over as the primary ball-handlers for the Colonials.
The first quarter was low scoring and both teams made just three baskets apiece. Mokwuah opened the scoring with a layup inside before Loder drained a three to give GW an early 5–0 lead.
The lead was followed by a six-minute scoring drought during which Duquesne amassed 10 points of its own. A triple from sophomore guard Lexus Levy pulled GW within a bucket of tying the game as the quarter wrapped up 10–8 in favor of the Dukes. GW shot 18.8 from the floor in the quarter and surrendered six free throws.
The Colonials improved to 41.7 percent shooting in the second quarter but committed four turnovers to Duquesne’s two turnovers.
GW went on a 6–2 run to start the second quarter, powered by four points from Luma. For the Dukes, Omogrosso and redshirt junior forward Angela Staffileno both tallied six points in the frame, which constituted the team’s entire offensive output in the quarter.
A three from Mahoney gave the Colonials a 19–16 lead with 5:33 left on the clock. A 6–2 Duquesne run in the final three minutes – punctuated by a shot from beyond the arc from Omogrosso with 40 seconds on the clock – created a 22–21 halftime scoreline in favor of the Dukes.
Duquesne’s lead would not last long in the third quarter. Mahoney drilled another three to start the half and put GW back on top, 24–22. A Bazelak layup and an Omogrosso three with 6:20 remaining put Duquesne up 31–27. A layup courtesy of Loder tied the game, but two minutes later and from then on, it was all Dukes.
An 11–3 run, including seven points from Duquesne senior guard Julijana Vojinovic, in the final four minutes of the third quarter gave Duquesne a 42–34 lead heading into the final frame. The Dukes shot 53.3 percent in the quarter to GW’s 38.5 percent.
“They just shot the ball really well and they have a really quick release,” Luma said. “That was difficult for us.”
Things did not start well for GW in the fourth quarter. A turnover from Luma quickly turned into a three-pointer from Vojinovic and gave the Dukes their first double-digit lead of the night.
Luma and Mahoney answered back with a pair of mid-range jumpers to bring the Colonials within seven points of Duquesne with less than eight minutes to play.
“We have so many different options on the court so if it’s not one guy’s night on one night, then we have someone else to pick up the slack,” Luma said. “We’ve just been sharing the ball very well and everyone’s getting the opportunity.”
Just as the Colonials were building momentum, senior guard Kadri-Ann Lass scored a pair of buckets on either side of a layup from redshirt junior forward Paige Cannon to put the Dukes up 51–38 and forcing head coach Jennifer Rizzotti into a timeout with six minutes remaining.
The Colonials came to life after a jumper from Mahoney with 5:21 remaining in the game, sparking an 11–2 GW run finished off by a three from Loder. The Colonials’ push slashed Duquesne’s lead to 55–51 and caused the Smith Center to erupt as they fought to keep up with Duquesne.
“She’s trying to find that balance between running the team but also being a scorer because we need scoring,” Rizzotti said. “I think she’s done a really good job and you know the turnovers are part of being a freshman.”
After getting within four points of tying the game, GW’s offense disappeared. While Duquesne knocked down free throw after free throw, the Colonials failed to score until less than 30 seconds remained, when sophomore forward Chyna Latimer converted a layup to make it 60–53 in favor of the Dukes. A quartet of Duquesne free throws finished off the game.
Up next for the Colonials is the final game of the regular season on the road against Richmond Saturday. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m.