Women’s basketball squanders fourth quarter lead in loss to Davidson

Women’s basketball entered the final four minutes of its Atlantic 10 opener with an eight-point advantage over Davidson Friday. Then, an and-one layup from sophomore forward Adelaide Fuller turned into a three-point play.

Davidson used the momentum to conjure up a 12-0 tear to recapture the lead and down GW. The Colonials (3-4, 0-1 A-10) scored more points in the paint and ripped six more rebounds than the Wildcats (5-3, 2-0 A-10), but an offensive implosion late in the game led to a 66–62 loss.

“I thought we did a lot of things really well, and I thought our guys showed a lot of toughness and competitiveness to almost beat one of the top teams in the league on the road in our first A-10 game,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said.

Graduate student guard Jasmine Whitney led all scorers with 18 points and added six steals for the Colonials. Whitney’s seven helpers bumped her over the 400 career assist mark. Redshirt junior forward Neila Luma added a double-double in the effort with 10 boards and 11 points.

GW entered the contest shooting 34.6 percent on the season but improved to 41.1 percent against the Wildcats despite freezing up in the fourth quarter.

“It’s encouraging, but I think it’s also expected,” Rizzotti said. “There’s no way we were going to continue the season shooting as poorly as we had. I wasn’t really too worried about it. It’s just nice to see the ball go in the hole a little bit.”

Junior guard Cassidy Gould, junior guard Chloe Welch and Fuller reached double-digit scoring for the Wildcats. Davidson was paced by Gould, who sunk 14 points, and Welch went a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range.

Sophomore guard Essence Brown notched the game’s first point with a free throw one minute into the contest. Brown knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner shortly afterward to give the Colonials an early 4–2 advantage.

A deluge of Davidson triples rained down at the halfway mark of the first quarter. Sophomore guard Cameron Tabor dropped a trey to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game, edging ahead 8–6. Welch and senior guard Katie Turner followed up with their own long balls to extend the lead to 14–8.

Despite Davidson’s success from beyond the arc, points from Brown and Whitney in the opening frame helped keep the Colonials close as they trailed 20–16 heading into the second quarter.

After two turnovers to begin the second frame, the Colonials settled in and went on a 10-3 run that deadlocked the match at 29 with three minutes left in the quarter. Redshirt junior guard Gabby Nikitinaite saw her first minutes on the floor as a Colonial, hitting a layup and notching a steal during the tilt.

After redshirt sophomore forward Mayowa Taiwo tied the game, a layup from sophomore guard Suzi-Rose Deegan pushed the Wildcats in front. A three-pointer from Whitney followed, but with less than 30 seconds on the clock, Gould hit her second three of the night to send Davidson to the locker room with a 34–32 lead.

The Colonials were the more efficient team from the field, shooting at a 44.8 percent clip compared to Davidson’s 37.5 percent rate. But the Wildcats hit from downtown three more times than GW in the half to hold a narrow advantage at the break.

Freshman center Ali Brigham scored a layup in the first possession of the second half to even the score, but a 6-0 Wildcat run stunted any potential momentum for the Colonials and forced Rizzotti to call a timeout.

GW scored seven points unanswered out of its timeout, with a layup putting GW in front 41-40 with four minutes left in the quarter. Whitney’s bucket to start the rally put her into double digits with 11 points.

“She’s got a heart of a lion,” Rizzotti said. “She just refuses to not compete every second she was out there, so she’s really raising the level of competitiveness of our team. I love to see everyone following behind her, but it was certainly one of the better individual performances we’ve had in a long time.”

Another three from Welch nudged Davidson back in front, but a step-back triple from Whitney less than a minute afterward changed the lead yet again.

The Wildcats battled back, scoring five straight points in just 20 seconds, but a GW onslaught was soon to follow. An 8-0 run in the final two minutes of the third frame gave the Colonials a 52-48 lead with one quarter left to play.

The teams traded baskets in the fourth quarter, and GW extended its lead to eight, thanks to a free throw from Taiwo with four minutes remaining. That would be the Colonials’ last point of the game.

The Wildcats went on a 12-0 run to close out the contest. Turner tied the game at 62 with a three-pointer, and Fuller twisted the dagger with a pullup three from the corner as the clock showed 13 seconds remaining.

The Colonials called a timeout to advance the ball into Davidson territory, but freshman forward Caranda Perea committed a turnover on the ensuing play, and GW couldn’t claw its way back.

GW is back in action Sunday afternoon on the road against Fordham. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

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