Women’s basketball will look to senior guard Maddie Loder to provide a bridge between the newcomers and the veterans of the squad.
Basketball has been a part of Loder’s life since the beginning, picking up basketball when was just 4 years old and playing the sport and soccer for most of her youth. She said she ended up choosing to stick with basketball because she was simply better at it.
“I just fell in love with it because I was bigger than everyone else, and I was better than everybody else,” Loder said. “And from there, you just grow with the sport. You grow up with it and it grows with you. So it was just great having that for so long.”
Loder said she grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota, about 30 minutes west of the Twin Cities. She played a season-high 21 minutes against the Golden Gophers last Sunday in her hometown reunion.
She said she has been encouraging the rest of the team to not only be great basketball players, but “great D.C. residents” as well and take full advantage of their time being in the nation’s capital.
“Slightly put, I’m very much not from the city,” Loder said. “So coming here has been one of the greatest adventures, just living in D.C. being so close to the monuments. Sometimes when I’m frustrated after practice, I just walk down, I find myself down by the National Mall and I’m like ‘How did I get here? This is where I live.’”
This year, Loder is the only senior and four-year veteran of the program on the roster. Though three graduate students are also on the roster, all of them have transferred in from other schools.
“I’ve played a lot of games,” Loder said. “I’ve played a lot of minutes. I know what’s going on. And I think that’s the biggest thing for me has been just like, ‘Hey, I know what happens here. I know what we do. And this is what coaches say that we’re going to do.’ So I know how to implement it.”
Last year, Loder appeared in 23 games, starting in 18 of them, while averaging 4.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. She shot 29.5 percent from the floor and led the team from the charity stripe shooting 87.9 percent.
In her GW career, she has played in 75 games for a total of 1,609 minutes donning the buff and blue prior to the beginning of this season.
Though Loder has spent four years with the Colonials, she said it doesn’t feel that long with the arrival of a new head coach Caroline McCombs and her staff in her final year. This year Loder has hit just 1-of-8 from the field for a total of 3 points while accumulating five defensive rebounds and four assists.
“I’m basically a freshman again because everything is new,” Loder said. “We’re playing a completely different defense than I’ve played in the last three years.”
Despite being the only senior, Loder said she can rely on the other five returning members of the roster to deliver the message of what they’re about to the rest of the squad.
“I’m not doing this by myself,” Loder said. “I have Mayowa. I have Faith and Essence who were both here. And even our sophomores Piper and Aurea, they’ve been awesome and helping us just move forward with what we want to do and what we want to be.”
Loder will look to recreate some similar season defining moments in the remainder of her final season, starting with a home matchup against Quinnipiac Monday.
Loder said the most memorable moment of her long GW career was redshirt junior forward Mayowa Taiwo’s buzzer-beating shot with 0.9 seconds left against Memphis that gave the Colonials a 64-63 win over the Tigers in 2019. Junior forward Faith Blethen hit Taiwo with an inbound pass and Taiwo leapt to snatch the ball and power her way through contact to lay in the ball.
“There was just so much freaking joy from that moment,” Loder said. “Beating a school like Memphis, that was the second year that we had played them and we beat them the first year, and just going down to Memphis being able to play them and having that moment of just seeing all your hard work pay off.”