Women’s basketball trailed by eight as the third quarter wound down against Fordham Sunday. With less than a minute to play, graduate student guard Jasmine Whitney snatched a defensive rebound and drove across court, passing a dime to freshman center Ali Brigham.
Brigham cut to the rim for a layup that began an 8-0 run – scored entirely by Brigham’s layups – spanning the final two quarters to tie the game. The Colonials (3-4, 0-2 A-10) were not able to maintain a lead of more than three points in the last quarter, dropping the contest 53–47 to the Rams (4-2, 2-1 A-10).
“We’re obviously competing with some of the better teams in the league, but there needs to be some improvement for us to find a way to secure the win in the end,” head coach Jenifer Rizzotti said. “At Davidson, we were up and gave the lead away late, and today we had a chance to go ahead, and we weren’t able to execute.”
Brigham, freshman forward Caranda Perea and redshirt junior forward Neila Luma each netted 10 points for the squad on a combined 13-of-29 shooting. Luma ripped a team-high seven boards and Whitney dished a team-high five assists.
Sophomore guard Anna DeWolfe led the Rams with 21 points on 36.8 percent shooting, including nine points from the perimeter. Senior guard Kendell Heremaia notched 12 points, and junior forward Kaitlyn Downey trailed with 10 points and a floor-leading 18 boards. Downey accounted for half of her team’s total rebounds.
The Colonials shot slightly better than the Rams, firing at a 35.2 percent clip from the floor compared to Fordham’s .340 field goal percentage. GW showed its most efficient three-point shooting game of the season, hitting four of its 11 attempts. Fordham sunk 9-of-24 from the arc.
The Colonials were outrebounded 36-26, its lowest rebounding total since a Dec. 1 showing at Virginia Tech.
After averaging 20 turnovers in the last four games, the squad turned the ball over just 11 times in its bout with Fordham. The squad also capitalized off Fordham’s 13 turnovers, netting 15 points.
“I was definitely happy, especially with our point guards – they took care of the ball great today,” Rizzotti said. “We continue to be better about running our offense better. But it was nice to see them after the game at Davidson where we had some careless turnovers. I felt like today we were much more secure with the ball.”
GW began the game with a jumper from Brigham. But senior guard Katie McLoughlin sank two triples on back-to-back possessions to give Fordham a quick four-point lead.
A jumper from Luma and a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Essence Brown tied the squads at six. But Heremaia and DeWolfe combined for back-to-back triples, and Fordham held a six-point advantage into the second frame. GW shot just 18.8 percent from the floor and Fordham completed 33.3 percent, all of which came from downtown.
A Downey triple to open the second quarter elevated the lead to three possessions, and both teams traded buckets on ensuing possessions. Back-to-back buckets from Perea and freshman guard Aurea Gingras decreased the deficit to five points.
The Colonials worked the lead down to two with a minute left in the half until Fordham hit a layup down the stretch. GW went into the locker room trailing by four with 20 minutes left to play. Both teams shot over 50 percent in the second frame, and GW hit 2-of-3 buckets from deep.
Fordham started its scoring in the third with another triple and followed up with two points inside to lengthen the lead back to nine. It took GW four minutes to get on the board as Luma landed a jumper. The squad would score just two more times to finish the quarter 3-of-14. GW’s defense kept Fordham shooting just 15.8 percent in the frame.
An eight-point GW run, bolstered by Brigham’s scoring, stretching from late in the third through the first three minutes of the fourth knotted both teams at 36. A pair of jumpers put the Colonials behind again until a three-pointer from redshirt junior guard Gabby Nikitinaite around the halfway mark equalized the game.
Luma completed the and-one layup 30 seconds later and put GW up for the first time in almost 35 minutes. Fordham fought back with two jumpers, and Gingras brought the teams back to a tie at the 2:41 mark.
DeWolfe and Heremaia pumped the advantage to five, and Perea deflated it again with her second triple of the day with under 10 seconds to play. Fordham would hold on to keep the Colonials at bay, finishing its final four free throws to take the game 53–47.
“Well get a chance for them to return to us at GW,” Rizzotti said. “I’ll be excited to see the progress that we make in that time in between, and I’m confident that we’ll do a much better job that time around.”
The Colonials will return Friday for a two-game stay at the Smith Center. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.