Women’s basketball lost their second straight conference game against Rhode Island Wednesday night.
The Colonials (7-8, 0-2 A-10) fell to the Rams (12-3, 2-0 A-10) in a 73–42 defeat. The Colonials were undermanned throughout the night, enduring the absence of several starters due to health and safety protocols.
Among the notable absences from the lineup were graduate student forward Ty Moore, graduate student guard Kyara Frames, junior guard Nya Lok and junior guard Essence Brown. The quartet has combined for a total of 1,187 minutes through 15 games played this year.
In their stead, freshman guard Leila Patel saw her first career start, and sophomore guard Piper Macke and freshman forward Sophie Haydon both set a career high in minutes played with 10 minutes and 20 minutes, respectively. Freshman guard Maxine Engel nearly matched a career high of 21 minutes played with 20 minutes on the night.
“Unfortunately, there’s things outside of our control,” Head Coach Caroline McCombs said. “So who we had today was who was able to compete tonight.”
Graduate student guard Dez Elmore spearheaded the Rams’ onslaught with a double-double, racking up 18 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Dolly Cairns and redshirt senior forward Emmanuelle Tahane also netted 14 points each to boost the Rhode Island offense.
“They’re just a very good team,” McCombs said. “They have a very experienced team as well. So we had different players in different roles, and they haven’t been practicing those for the last two days. So we had a lot of people just in different positions that they’re not necessarily used to.”
In the Colonials’ camp, junior guard Sheslanie Laureano and sophomore guard Aurea Gingras led the squad with nine points apiece.
With so many inexperienced players on the court, GW was overwhelmed and outgunned throughout the night, beginning in the first quarter.
After an early turnover by redshirt junior forward Mayowa Taiwo, she played tough defense, forcing a poor shot by a Rams player before blocking a pass to spring Gingras on the fastbreak and lay the ball in to give GW the first bucket of the game with 9:14 left in the quarter.
But following the opening basket, the Colonials quickly fell behind and remained so for the rest of the game.
By the end of the first quarter, GW was already down by double digits, trailing by a score of 22–8.
The Colonials struggled with shooting throughout the opening quarter, converting just 3-of-16 from the field. The Rams capitalized on GW’s poor shot selection, snagging 13 rebounds to GW’s six.
Rhode Island continued to press their lead in the second quarter, opening with a 7-2 scoring run, highlighted by a 3-pointer on the fast break by Cairns with 7:42 left in the half.
After falling behind by 19 points, McCombs called a timeout with 6:51 remaining in an attempt to rally her team. After a missed layup by Haydon, Laureano hit a trey to end the Rams’ scoring run.
But Rhode Island struck back quickly, hitting an 8-2 scoring run to prompt another timeout from GW with 2:22 left to play. Again, the Colonials answered out of the timeout but succumbed to the Rams offense once more and trailed heading into the locker room 39–19.
Rhode Island dominated in the paint, accumulating 18 points compared to GW’s 10 in the first half. They also controlled the game off the boards, snatching 26 rebounds to the Colonials’ 14, including 20 defensive rebounds to limit GW to just three second-chance points in the whole half.
“I just think people were in different roles so we’ve never experienced that before,” McCombs said. “I thought just competing, getting on the floor for loose balls, making hustle plays – I think that’s something that we can do. That doesn’t take any skill. That’s just effort. And we continually challenge them throughout the game to be able to do that.”
The Colonials finished the half shooting just 25 percent from the field and 9.1 percent from beyond the arc, sinking just 1-of-11 3-point attempts. Meanwhile, the Rams netted 54.8 percent from the floor and 50 percent from deep.
The second half opened a little tighter as both teams traded baskets, but Rhode Island again established their dominance. The Rams built up a 33-point lead following a pair of free throws by Elmore and a score of 62-29 by the end of the third quarter.
The Colonials improved their shooting in the second half, hitting 9-of-27 from the floor but could not find a way to slow down the Rams offense.
Rhode Island earned their largest lead of the game of 35 points with 5:32 left in the game and a score of 68–33. The Colonials put together a trio of 3-point buckets, a pair from Patel and a single from Gingras, to close out the game, but it was ultimately not enough to overcome the sizable deficit.
“It’s just understanding what it is like to play a game, because some of our players don’t always get that opportunity, and being able to bring that now to practice,” McCombs said. “The normal level of competition can be raised because they get to experience that. And again just playing against a really good team today we were able to see those things.”
The Colonials will prepare for a road game against Fordham Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.