Graduate student guard Ariel Stephenson knocked down a three-point shot to push women’s basketball ahead of Duquesne in the final minutes of the game. She tacked on two more triples in the fourth quarter to pad the Colonials’ lead and secure the season sweep Saturday.
The Colonials (12-15, 6-8 A-10) defeated the Dukes (17-10, 7-7 A-10) 72–65 in their final road game of the season. GW trailed at the close of the first half, but the Colonials roared back in the second frame to come away with another comeback victory.
“I thought both [Alex] and Mayowa were very focused on finishing today,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “Wasn’t something that we did particularly well at Dayton so I feel like they absorbed contact, they were aggressive and then they saw where they wanted the ball to go off the backboard and they knocked down their shots.”
Graduate student forward Alexandra Maund led the team in scoring with a career-high 27 points, hitting 10-of-15 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Redshirt freshman forward Mayowa Taiwo also came away with six rebounds and 16 points of her own.
Rizzotti said as Maund, who averages a team-leading 11 points per game, started heating up, the Colonials wanted to put the ball in her hands as often as possible.
“Just keep getting her touches until they could stop her or they decided to double her, and they never decided to double her,” Rizzotti said. “I was really proud of our guards for continuing to make the decision to pass it into her.”
The Colonials started the game off strong, shooting 6-of-9 from the field to earn an eight-point lead with 3:11 left in the quarter. Despite a solid shooting game, the Colonials conceded seven turnovers, allowing the Dukes to go on a 10-point scoring run. By the end of the first quarter, the Colonials trailed the Dukes 20–17.
“There were times where we were unorganized in our offense,” Rizzotti said. “There were times where our post players caught it and they traveled before they made their moves, and those are more mental mistakes than anything.”
The Colonials failed to maintain their shooting form of the first quarter, shooting 4-of-12 from the field. Both teams suffered a two and a half minute scoring drought in the quarter, missing four total shots. The score remained stagnant at 19–25 until Maund drained a pair from the free throw line with 4:09 left to play.
Despite their slow offensive start, the Dukes found a rhythm from beyond the arc, hitting 3-of-5 attempts. Junior guard Lexus Levy hit a deep shot of her own to stave off a late six-point scoring run by the Dukes. As both teams headed into the locker rooms, the Colonials still trailed at 35–28.
GW opened the third quarter with a six-point scoring run led by Taiwo. A layup from Maund tied the game, and she allowed the Colonials to take the lead soon after with another layup. The Colonials went on to go 8-of-14 from the field, but 0-of-3 from behind the arc.
The Dukes rallied back off a series of three Colonial turnovers to retake the lead. By the end of the frame, GW trailed again, cutting the deficit to just two points.
Taiwo opened up the scoring in the fourth, knotting the game at 49. But the Dukes quickly answered with a three-ball. Stephenson led the charge from deep for the team, hitting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to overtake the Dukes’ advantage late in the game. She finished the night with 12 points — all from the three-point line.
“All of a sudden the attention was going into the paint,” Rizzotti said. “And as I say pretty consistently, that once we throw it in the post a lot, it’s going to be our shooters that need to be ready on kick outs or skip passes and obviously, Ariel was ready.”
The Dukes rallied back against a nine-point Colonial lead to come within three points. But GW kept them at bay from the free throw line, hitting 12-of-14 attempts in the final frame, finishing the night shooting 82.6 percent from the charity stripe. The Colonials closed out the game ahead at 72–65 to complete the season sweep.
“It’s obviously a focus and confidence issue to step up and make free throws at the end and it certainly can win or lose you a game,” Rizzotti said. “I feel like the guys that stepped up to the line, Mayowa, Tori and Alex just did a great job of taking care of business.”
The Colonials return to the Smith Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a matchup with Rhode Island.