Women’s basketball dropped their final game of the season Saturday afternoon.
The Colonials (11-16, 4-10 A-10) fell to La Salle (15-12, 9-6 A-10) by a score of 62–55, marking their third straight loss as they head into the Atlantic 10 Championship. GW was plagued by turnovers and foul trouble all game, racking up 17 giveaways and putting La Salle on the bonus in the second, third and fourth quarters.
It was an emotional night for graduate student guard Kyara Frames, who played her last regular season game in her collegiate career. She said she is proud of the team for the way they stuck together despite losing the first eight games of conference play this season.
“I think that the most important thing is the effort we’ve put into becoming a better team,” Frames said. “We’ve never put our head down and never quit. Just like today’s game, we had a rough start altogether. That wasn’t our best basketball, but again we fought back. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we’re going to a tournament next, and it’s 0-0 for everybody.”
The Colonials offense struggled from the start and couldn’t find any rhythm in the first quarter, shooting just 2-of-6 from the field.
Freshman forward Maxine Engel notched the first two points for GW at the free throw line, after La Salle opened with 12 straight unanswered points. Both teams continued to trade turnovers before Engel hit a wide-open 3 to cut the deficit to seven with 3:20 left in the quarter.
Sophomore guard Taylor Webster closed the quarter with a strong finish at the rim, making the score 16–7 at the end of the first.
Ball security proved to be a challenge for the Colonials, as they registered four more turnovers than their own points in the first quarter. Head Coach Caroline McCombs said the Explorers’ defense switched between zone and man-to-man throughout the contest to cause GW trouble and keep them out of rhythm.
“I think they did a really good job defensively coming out, switching and denying,” McCombs said. “We didn’t have a rhythm offensively so we were really just throwing it to them.”
The second quarter was a different story for the Colonials offense, netting 22 points compared to just seven in the first. Engel led the way throughout the first half, scoring 15 points and going 3-of-6 from behind the arc.
After an Engel 3 cut the Explorers lead to eight, junior guard Sheslaine Laureano banked in a turnaround jumper high off the glass to put GW back by just two possessions. With 3:45 to go, La Salle, up six, switched to a half-court zone trap that the Colonials were able to take advantage of, going on an 11-9 run that saw Engel hitting a baseline jumper to cut the lead to four at the half.
“We dug ourselves a hole, and they didn’t put their heads down,” McCombs said. “We fought back. I think they were down defensively as well as that was the game plan. So I thought just going in the second quarter, looking at other options to score, other things kind of combating what they were doing on defense to have some better offensive execution.”
Laureano opened the third quarter with a quick 3-ball to slice the La Salle lead to just one.
But GW racked up four fouls in the next three minutes, including a third personal for redshirt junior forward Mayowa Taiwo forcing McCombs to limit her minutes. Foul trouble was a recurring theme in the third, with the Colonials committing nine in the quarter.
“We just have to keep our heads – you can’t control the refs and you can’t control what they’re calling. You can’t control the other team’s mentality,” Taiwo said. “We have to stay within ourselves, keep our own energy and just keep playing hard.”
Taiwo capped off the third with a slick left hand layup off an offensive rebound, putting GW within 3 points of the lead.
The shooting inefficiency continued for the Colonials in the fourth quarter, launching 20 shots and hitting just four of them. Despite this GW kept it close, never going down by more than five until the final possession.
Laureano muscled her way for a jumper inside to tie the game with just less than four minutes to go, setting the stage for a tight finish at the Smith Center. Ultimately, the fouls continued to haunt the Colonials and La Salle’s 65 percent success from the line proved too much to overcome.
Both GW and La Salle will head to the A-10 Championship this week, starting on Wednesday. Despite a losing record of 4-10 in A-10 play, McCombs said she is confident in her squad’s abilities, emphasizing their team-first mentality.
“I think that it’s 0-0 right now, and everyone has the same opportunity right now to go make some noise in the conference tournament,” McCombs said. “And so we’re going to do everything we can to prepare to be our best starting tonight with all the choices that we make moving forward.”