At the top of the second quarter Sunday, freshman forward Caranda Perea nailed a jumper to give women’s basketball a 14-point advantage over Saint Joseph’s. But the lead was short-lived – the Hawks put up 29 points in the second quarter, raining 21 points from beyond the arc.
A fourth quarter push from GW brought the team within two points, but the comeback attempt proved futile as the Hawks (4-1, 2-1 A-10) toppled the Colonials (4-9, 1-6 A-10) 63–61. GW dropped its second straight game and has just one win in conference play.
“We just didn’t really move the ball as well as we did to start the game,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “I thought we got impatient. We got a little bit stagnant, a little bit sticky with the ball. I thought we fixed some of that in the second half, but it still ended up being something that hurt us down in the end.”
Freshman center Ali Brigham led the team in scoring, notching 16 points and firing at a 45.5 clip. Graduate student guard Sydney Zambrotta and graduate student guard Jasmine Whitney followed with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Whitney led the team from three-point land, knocking in two triples.
Graduate student guard Alayna Gribble led the floor with 17 points for the Hawks, hitting 5-of-9 from distance. Junior guard Katie Jekot followed with 14 points, netting 4-of-7 from deep.
GW shot at a 41.1 percent clip, hitting five treys on 14 attempts. Saint Joseph’s hit 44.4 percent of their shots, including a 12-of-26 clip from the three-point line.
“I thought we did a poor job especially in the second quarter of identifying and getting out to their shooters and making them put the ball on the floor to score,” Rizzotti said. “We got a little bit better as the game went on, but we gave up a couple of key threes late in the game when we needed some stops.”
Each team turned the ball over 13 times. The Colonials forced seven turnovers, while the Hawks forced nine turnovers. GW’s turnovers had been on the decline throughout conference play but spiked on its road trip to Pennsylvania. In the first five A-10 games, GW averaged 9.8 turnovers, and in two games against La Salle and Saint Joseph’s, the team averaged 16.5.
“Today we were also very careless with balls – something that we’ll have to take a look at as the coaching staff and see if we can figure it out,” Rizzotti said. “But it certainly has been a big reason why I believe that we’ve lost the last two games, because we haven’t been able to take care of the ball like we did in the prior couple of games.”
Zambrotta, Brigham and redshirt junior Gabby Nikitinaite combined for a six-point run to start the first quarter. A jumper from sophomore guard Kaliah Henderson broke the Hawks’ two-minute scoring drought, but Nikitinaite responded with a triple to extend the lead to seven.
The Hawks could only muster six more points in the remaining seven and a half minutes as the Colonials jumped out to an early 20-8 lead. Five different Colonials contributed to the team’s scoring.
Saint Joseph’s entered the second quarter with renewed vigor as it fought to outscore the Colonials. A three-pointer by junior forward Elizabeth Marsicano began a downpour of triples from the Hawks, including four consecutive three-point buckets.
The Colonials fell into two three-minute scoring droughts in the second frame, which the Hawks used to go on an 8-0 run and 12-0 run, respectively. Saint Joseph’s outscored GW 29–8 in the second frame after four different players combined to shoot 77.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Down nine at the half, Brigham scored four straight points to open the third frame and cut the deficit to two possessions. GW and Saint Joseph’s traded buckets, and neither team was able to build up consistent momentum.
Both teams struggled to get shots to fall in the third quarter. The Colonials hit just 3-of-10 from the field, and after their efficient second quarter, the Hawks completed just 4-of-14 from the floor. GW dominated the charity stripe, getting to the line 12 times and knocking 10 attempts down throughout the game. Four of those baskets came in the third quarter.
In the final quarter the Colonials began staging a comeback, outscoring the Hawks 23–17. A layup and a pair of free throws from Brigham and back-to-back triples from Whitney worked to keep the deficit to single digits.
A three-pointer from Perea with 17 seconds on the clock shortened the Hawks’ lead to four points. Whitney hit a jumper with a second remaining to bring GW within two, but the team couldn’t secure the comeback, dropping the game 63–61.
“We’re still at a place where we’re still not able to be consistent for an entire game,” Rizzotti said. “We’re going to have to be if we want to be one of the better teams in the league. We’re going to have to show up. We’re going to have to play hard on both ends of the floor. We’re going to have to take care of the ball.”
The Colonials are back on the road Wednesday to take on VCU. Tipoff is set for noon.