Davidson stifles women’s basketball’s comeback attempt

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Eric Lee | Staff Photographer

Graduate student forward Alexandra Maund secured a floor-leading and season-high 17 points in a game against Davidson Saturday. GW fell to the Wildcats 62–55.

Despite outscoring Davidson by seven points in the second half, women’s basketball couldn’t overcome its 14-point first half deficit Saturday.

The Colonials (7-10, 1-3 A-10) fell to the Wildcats (12-6, 5-0 A-10) 62–55 in a hard-fought match. GW racked up more points than Davidson in the second half, but it had already lost its chance to come back after a 17-9 scoring stretch by the Wildcats in the second quarter.

“We took a couple of quick shots and went away from our game plan of pounding into the post – and we had a couple of turnovers,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “They’re really good turning defense into offense. So if you turn it over, or you take a quick outside shot that they could get a long rebound on, then they’re really good.”

Graduate student forward Alexandra Maund secured a floor-leading and season-high 17 points, followed closely by sophomore center Kayla Mokuwah with 14 points of her own. Both players also collected seven and eight rebounds, respectively.

“I think that the fact that they’ve been splitting minutes a lot has really allowed their efficiency to go up higher,” Rizzotti said. “We were very insistent, I will say with our guards, about making sure that our offense ran through both of them in the second half, and so I thought we did a great job of that and they finished plays.”

The three ball was not falling for the Colonials, and the squad hit just 1-of-19 attempts. Junior guard Lexus Levy made the team’s only successful shot from beyond the arc in the third quarter.

Despite the three-point struggles, the Colonials performed markedly better from the free throw line. The team successfully drained 20-of-24 shots from the charity stripe compared to its .626 season average. Mokwuah and redshirt senior guard Sydney Zambrotta each notched eight attempts, and the duo knocked down 13 total points from the line.

A triple from freshman guard Suzi-Rose Deegan put Davidson on the board first and gave it a lead it would never give up. Zambrotta knocked down two free throws to bring GW within one, but Deegan responded with another triple.

The Colonials and Wildcats traded attempts throughout the first quarter, and both teams shot poorly to start the afternoon. The Colonials fired at a .182 clip and the Wildcats shot at a .250 clip. GW was cold from behind the arc as well, missing all five attempts.

The Wildcats shouldered out the Colonials on the boards, capturing 14 to GW’s seven rebounds. Davidson capitalized off second chance opportunities, scoring eight points from five offensive rebounds to give it a 12–6 lead by the first quarter’s end.

The Colonials closed the gap early in the second frame, going on a 5-0 run to bring the game within one point. But the Wildcats rallied back, stringing together several threes to keep the Colonials at bay. GW entered the locker room trailing 29–15.

GW came back reinvigorated for the second half. The Colonials put together a 7-0 run capped by the squad’s lone three-pointer to cut the lead down to eight in the third quarter.

The squad outshot Davidson, converting 6-of-11 from the field. Maund netted 10 points in the third frame and led the Colonials to a 21-15 quarter. The Colonials were also perfect from the free throw line, hitting all eight attempts.

Rizzotti said the team found success from running the offense through Maund and Mokwuah, allowing them to get one-on-one opportunities at the basket in the absence of a double team.

“We had some opportunities to drive to the basket and we had some good pick and roll decisions,” Rizzotti said. “When we settled into following that as our main offense, we not only were able to score but then able to set our defense. So even when we missed around the basket, it’s a lot harder to get out on transition on a missed layup than a missed three.”

Despite outscoring the Wildcats in the fourth quarter, the Colonials shot 33.3 percent from the field and fell scoreless from three-point range. On the other end of the court, the Wildcats made 5-of-10 shots from the field and hit two crucial threes to stifle the comeback attempt.

The Colonials performed well in the paint, outscoring the Wildcats 12-6 and cutting the deficit to three with 3:25 remaining. But by the final buzzer, the Colonials trailed 62–55.

“We really limited our outside shot attempts and went to the basket on drives, passed to the free throw line and threw to the post,” Rizzotti said. “So I’ve just got to get them to do that for 40 minutes, but it was definitely a good step in the right direction that they recognized it.”

The Colonials return to the Smith Center against Dayton Wednesday at 7 p.m. after a two-game road stretch.

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