Women’s basketball coughs up fourth quarter lead to St. Bonaventure

Women’s basketball entered the fourth quarter Thursday with a 12-point cushion over St. Bonaventure, but the Bonnies weren’t ready to accept defeat. Led by sophomore guard Asianae Johnson’s 12-point quarter, St. Bonaventure outscored GW 22–6 in the final frame to notch the comeback victory.

The Colonials (9–13, 3–6 A-10) blew a double-digit lead and lost to the Bonnies (6–17, 3–7 A-10) in a 59-55 upset at the Reilly Center.

“I thought when the game started, we might be able to bust out of our shooting slump,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “But we got a little tentative late in the game, and St. Bonaventure did a good job in not letting us get a lot of touches in the post, which is where we’ve been more successful.”

In the first three quarters, the Colonials shot 43.2 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three-point range. But GW fell cold in the fourth frame, connecting on 2-of-12 from the floor and 0-of-6 from deep.

The Colonials held the Bonnies to a similar clip through the first three quarters from the field, shooting 43 percent. Through the same amount of time, GW held St. Bonaventure below its 28.4 percent three-point conference average, and the Bonnies netted 8.3 percent of three balls.

In the fourth quarter, the Bonnies remained consistent from the field, hitting 8-of-17 shots from the floor and tacking on 1-of-6 from deep to pull ahead and claim the lead.

GW jumped out to a commanding lead in the first quarter as redshirt freshman guard Tori Hyduke opened up the scoring sheet with two triples. Graduate student transfer guard Ariel Stephenson added a layup to build an eight-point lead with under three minutes played.

The Bonnies battled back through the rest of the quarter, going on a 15–7 run to snag a slim one-point lead and control of the game. St. Bonaventure entered the second frame up 15–14, but the Colonials did not let the deficit last for long.

GW reignited its offense to start the second quarter and locked down St. Bonaventure with a stingy defense. The Bonnies only netted six points throughout the quarter, going 3-of-11 and 0-of-4 from deep.

The Colonials relied heavily on perimeter shooting and added three more triples to finish the first half with five buckets from deep. After a 15–6 run, the Colonials entered the break ahead 29–21.

The Colonials and Bonnies had their best offensive quarter of the game in the third frame. Both teams traded blows early on, with St. Bonaventure firing at a 54.6 clip from the floor and GW netting 46.7 from the field. But the Colonials extended their lead to 14 and started the fourth quarter with a 12-point advantage.

Ten of the 11 players who saw minutes Thursday put points on the board for the Colonials. Redshirt junior guard Sydney Zambrotta led the team with 10 points and freshman forward Faith Blethen followed with nine. Sophomore center Kayla Mokwuah and Stephenson followed closely behind with eight points apiece.

On St. Bonaventure’s side, four players finished in double figures. Junior guard Jurnee President, sophomore guard Deja Francis, junior forward Emily Calabrese and sophomore guard Asianae Johnson, who led the floor with 20 points, combined for 55 points.

St. Bonaventure bounced back in the fourth with an 11–2 run to put the game within three points. The Bonnies consistently found ways to break through the Colonials’ press defense and made good use of the charity stripe in the second half, converting 9-of-13 for 69.2 percent.

Despite the offensive surge, the Colonials fought hard to preserve the win, and Stephenson hit a clutch free throw to extend the lead to two possessions. But the Bonnies closed out the final minutes with a 7–1 run punctuated by a game-winning triple from President to eclipse the Colonials 59–55 and outscore them 22–6 in the final quarter.

“[We] just got to take a look at the game film and find ways to make better adjustments when teams are packing it in on us, and make sure we do a better job in our defensive intensity,” Rizzotti said. “When we’re not scoring we just need to be able to get stops, and I thought our frustration and lack of confidence on offense definitely impacted our defense today.”

The Colonials return to the hardwood Sunday at VCU. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.

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