Firing a laser to the post, redshirt freshman guard Tori Hyduke put the ball in graduate transfer forward Alexandra Maund’s hands. Maund sunk the basket through contact, sealing the game and her first double-double as a Colonial with 20 seconds left.
The Colonials (9-11, 3-4 A-10) beat the Hawks (8-12, 2-6 A-10) 56–50 to come within one game of a .500 Atlantic 10 record. Maund led the Colonials, notching a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Maund got the ball rolling to start the game, netting four straight points on two jumpers in the paint. The Hawks responded with a balanced 12-point run in which three guards – junior Lula Roig, senior Nailah Delinois, and freshman Kaliah Henderson – divided up the spoils with four points a piece.
“They went on a run because we just did not run the plays right,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “We didn’t have offensive discipline about what we were doing, so we talked about that. We need to not go outside of our offense. We need to run our offense until they stop it so that we can have that opportunity to get back and set up defensively.”
Hyduke broke the scoring streak with a triple from deep, disrupting the conference foe’s momentum. A jumper from graduate student guard Ariel Stephenson cut the deficit to three heading into the second quarter. The Colonials shot at their lowest percentage in the first frame, connecting on just 4-of-15 shots from the floor.
The squad opened the second quarter hot, adding six consecutive points to its five-point scoring run from the end of the first half. The squad picked up a 15–12 lead with less than seven minutes left in the half.
“I’m trying to teach that our execution on offense very much is directly related to how we defend,” Rizzotti said. “When we’re turning the ball over and we’re getting bad shots, we’re typically not ready to defend or we’re not set defensively, and so it honestly stems from poor execution on offense.”
With renewed focus on the offense and staunch defense, the Colonials outscored Saint Joseph 15–5 in the second quarter. The squad fired at a .500 clip from the field and held the Hawks to just a .167 clip. The Colonials entered the locker room with a seven point advantage.
The Hawks clogged the paint in the second half and forced GW’s post players to kick the ball outside. Rizzotti said Maund, who led all players with four assists, facilitated the ball to her teammates well to help knock down shots from the perimeter.
“Alexandra did a good job of kicking it out consistently and other players stepped up to take tough shots,” Rizzotti said. “She’s been a steady, stable presence for us.”
The third quarter was an offensive showdown, with the Colonials sinking eight shots from the field on 8-of-11 shooting and connecting on one three-point shot. The Hawks fired at a .571 clip from the floor on 8-of-14 shooting and hit all two of its attempts from beyond the arc.
Maund accumulated most of her points as a dominating force in the post. She put on a strong performance from whistle to whistle and scored the game’s first and last field goals.
The Colonials led the Hawks in rebounds 35-28, improving in a field where they’ve lagged behind throughout their early A-10 campaign. The squad carries a negative rebounding margin in conference play.
“Rebounds are an important part of the game,” Rizzotti said. We’ve focused on them over those past two games.”
With a nine point lead heading into the fourth frame, the Colonials had an answer for every Hawks’ basket. Redshirt junior guard Sydney Zambrotta knocked down a shot from the charity stripe to extend the lead to 10 with 2:20 on the clock.
Maund continued her strong performance in the fourth quarter as Saint Joseph made a run at the lead, hitting shots down the stretch. With a little more than a minute left in the contest, the Hawks went on a five-point run with two quick jumpers to pull within two points.
But Hyduke made what Rizzotti called “the play of the game,” shooting the ball to Maund for the layup. Freshman forward Faith Blethen added a pair of free throws to bump her total to 11 points and the lead to six points. GW put the game to bed and left Philadelphia with a 56–50 win and its second consecutive A-10 win.
The Colonials return to the Smith Center hardwood Sunday to host Saint Louis. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.