Women’s basketball lost their fourth consecutive game Saturday afternoon against Massachusetts.
The Minutewomen (15-4, 3-2 A-10) were in control for much of the game and emerged victorious 68-41 for their first-ever win at the Smith Center. The Colonials (7-10, 0-4 A-10) struggled offensively throughout the game, shooting only 16-of-61 from the field and just 5-of-29 from behind the arc, an area of the court in which they’ve struggled all season.
“I think we beat ourselves in this game,” graduate student guard Kyara Frames said. “We just discussed – I don’t think this team is 30 points better than us. They’re definitely a solid team, but I think that there’s a lot of things that we could’ve fixed as a team that would’ve kept us in this game a lot longer.”
The Colonials have slowly been returning to full health recently after a rash of injuries and COVID-19 sidelined key starters. Frames returned to the lineup Sunday after she missed the team’s last two games due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the rust showed for the Albany transfer, who went 2-of-11 from the field and 2-of-8 from deep.
“I didn’t have a great night tonight offensively or defensively, but I’m just happy to play basketball,” Frames said. “A lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to step on the floor, or when they get sick – because I had COVID, I was out for that – they don’t get to return to play. So honestly, I’m just grateful to be back on the floor and play with my teammates.”
Redshirt junior forward Mayowa Taiwo played well on defense despite the team’s struggles, racking up 13 rebounds while nabbing three steals as well.
On the other side of the court, the Minutewomen got back on track after losing consecutive games to Dayton and Rhode Island. Graduate student forward Sam Breen scored 20 points and notched 13 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block to earn her 12th double-double of the season and 27th since the start of the 2020 season, per Nathan Strauss of WMUA 91.9 FM.
The only player with more double-doubles over that period is Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, who is projected to be the first overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft.
“She’s great close to the basket,” Head Coach Caroline McCombs said. “And then you obviously have to be out to the 3-point line. You can’t let her take contested threes. And then she puts the ball on the floor, and you have to guard her. So it’s a tough matchup, she’s one of the best scorers in the league.”
Reigning A-10 Player of the Week and junior guard Sydney Taylor also chipped in an efficient 17 points of her own on 5-of-8 shooting, while nabbing five rebounds and an assist. Sophomore guard Ber’Nyah Mayo capped the stat sheet with 6 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Massachusetts shot 45.3 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range and finished at 50 percent or above from the field in every quarter except the third. Meanwhile, GW finished 26.2 percent from the field and 17.2 percent from beyond the arc.
The Colonials kept it tight to start the game, only trailing 17-14 at the end of the first quarter. GW played strong defense, forcing six turnovers and racking up four steals. Junior guard Sheslanie Laureano gave the Colonials a 4-point lead, their largest of the game, with 3:02 left following a turnover by Massachusetts.
But the Colonials began to crumble in the second quarter, going scoreless for 5:53 of gametime, allowing the Minutewomen to jump out to a 21-14 lead. Massachusetts scored 22 points in the second quarter, compared to GW’s four, two of which came off free throws.
The Minutewomen, who were 11-0 when leading at halftime coming into the game, led 39-18 at halftime and never looked back.
“I thought we had a decent first quarter, but we had too many turnovers,” McCombs said. “And then after that we couldn’t put the ball in the basket and then gave up 22 points in that second quarter, and it kind of got out of hand.”
Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter, with Massachusetts shooting 3-of-14 and GW shooting 5-of-22 from the field. But Massachusetts still held a commanding 50-30 lead by the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter proved to be more of the same, as the Minutewomen outscored the Colonials 18-11 in the final stanza. The Minutewomen got out to a 64-33 lead, their largest of the day, with 3:52 remaining in the game before the Colonials trimmed the deficit slightly to end the game lagging behind 68-41.
“Unfortunately, we were all off today,” McCombs said. “On offense, we couldn’t really put the ball in the basket and then they were able to obviously beat their average tonight so we’re just going to get back to being who we are.”
A notable absence for the Colonials the past few games has been graduate student forward Ty Moore, who has played in 17 games this year, starting 11 of them while averaging 7.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Moore came to Foggy Bottom as a transfer from Troy this offseason, while also spending time at Trinity Valley Community College earlier in her career.
McCombs said Moore remains ineligible to play moving forward due to health and safety protocols.
GW will look to snap their losing streak against Davidson at home Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
This article appeared in the January 24, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.