Women’s basketball advances past first round of A-10 Championship

Media Credit: File Photo by Tyler Krambeer | Photographer

GW’s squad fell behind for much of the game but surged to a victory over the Bonnies.

Women’s basketball took down St. Bonaventure to advance past the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Wednesday afternoon.

The No.12 seeded Colonials (12-17, 4-11 A-10) knocked out the No.13 seeded Bonnies (12-16, 4-12 A-10) in a 54-49 comeback victory at St. Bonaventure. After a strong start to the game, the Colonials found themselves stumbling behind before they came roaring back in the fourth quarter to send St. Bonaventure packing.

Graduate student guard Kyara Frames led GW on offense, racking up 17 points while hitting 3-of-6 from deep. Redshirt junior guard Mayowa Taiwo and freshman guard Maxine Engel also reached double figures, netting 14 and 12 points apiece, respectively.

On the other end of the court, redshirt senior guard Tori Harris and senior guard Asianae Johnson garnered 18 and 17 points each in strong individual efforts.

Engel kicked off the scoring with 8:20 left to go in the first quarter, hitting a jumper just outside the paint. Engel then came back on the next possession, hitting a 3 from the top of the arc after getting the ball from junior guard Sheslanie Laureano.

Frames pulled up and converted a jumper to stretch the lead to 7-0 with seven minutes left to go in the quarter before Johnson found her way on the scoreboard, sinking a jumper of her own. But Engel came back a few possessions later, draining a turnaround jumper off another pass from Laureano to reestablish a seven-point lead.

Engel found junior guard Essence Brown making a cut in behind to put GW up 11-2, prompting a timeout by the Bonnies’ bench with 3:23 left. Harris scored a layup out of the break, but Brown found Engel wide open at the corner for another trey.

Harris tacked on the Bonnies’ first 3-ball of the game to wrap up the quarter with GW ahead 16-9. The Colonials converted 7-of-19 from the field while St. Bonaventure cashed in on 4-of-12 attempts from the floor as they began to find a rhythm heading into the second quarter.

Despite the first quarter surge of the Colonials, the Bonnies went on a run of their own in the second frame.

Harris opened the quarter with another trey and then cut GW’s lead to two with a layup. Johnson knotted the game up on a jumper with 7:29 left in the half.

St. Bonaventure captured their first lead of the game with 5:41 on a driving layup from Johnson, prompting a timeout by Head Coach Caroline McCombs. But GW did not find their first score of the quarter until 1:34 remaining on a layup by Taiwo, finally ending a 19-0 run by the Bonnies and a Colonial scoring drought more than 10 minutes long.

GW finished the quarter trailing 23-18 while netting just 1-of-14 from the field and 0-of-5 from deep with the Bonnies 6-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Taiwo drew a foul to start the second half and converted one from the stripe to cut the deficit to four. But St. Bonaventure padded their lead on consecutive layups by junior forward I’yanna Lops.

McCombs called another timeout with 6:53 remaining after GW fell down 29-19. Engel found Taiwo making a backdoor cut for a quick layup out of the break.

After a jumper by Johnson, Frames notched her second score of the game with 5:24 left to kick off a 7-0 run by the Colonials. Taiwo added a layup on a no-look pass by Laureano before Taiwo found Laureano open outside the arc a few possessions later to cut the Bonnies’ lead to three.

Johnson answered with a jumper inside the paint, and Harris netted a jumper on the fastbreak and sank the “and one” opportunity to consolidate an eight-point lead. But Frames got going with 1:48 remaining, hitting a jumper of her own and an extra point at the line after a foul by Harris.

Brown kicked it out toward Frames on the edge of the arc on a rebound and Frames delivered a 3-point bucket. Frames returned the favor to Brown, assisting her on a layup on their net possession, but GW still trailed 41-36 heading into the final quarter.

After shooting just 7.1 percent in the prior quarter, the Colonials improved their average to 46.7 percent in the third. But the Bonnies were still firing on all cylinders, netting 77.8 percent despite not finding any looks for three point attempts.

Harris hit a corner 3, the first score of the quarter, 2:21 into the frame. Taiwo then converted a turnaround layup driving to the basket to keep the Colonials within reach behind 44-38.

Taiwo drew a foul and sank one from the line before drawing another foul, finishing a jumper through contact to bring GW within three. Each team traded a basket and Taiwo cut the lead to one with a layup on an inbound pass from Laureano with 2:24 left in the game.

Frames seized the lead for the Colonials, corralling a pass from Taiwo to nail a 3-point bucket, forcing a timeout by St. Bonaventure with 1:33 left. GW played some stout defense before Frames created some space for herself, stepping back to deliver another 3-point dagger with 18 seconds left.

Johnson finished a layup through a foul by Brown and made her extra attempt from the charity stripe to bring the score to 51-49. But Frames and Engel closed out the game with some timely free throws to survive into the next round with a final score of 54-49.

The Colonials will now take on La Salle Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the second round. Last time out, GW conceded a narrow 62-55 defeat in the final game of the regular season on Feb. 26.

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