Women’s basketball trounced the Wilmington Wildcats at the Smith Center Tuesday, running up the score to 88-40 in Head Coach Caroline McCombs 150th career win.
The Colonials (7-5) built a 48-point difference, which marked the largest winning margin for GW since 2017 when they crushed George Mason 80-49. GW was met with little resistance from the Wildcats (1-10) while connecting on more than 50 percent of shots from the floor and shooting from the 3-point line at a .414 clip compared, up from their respective season averages of .414 and .362.
The Colonials tight defense was also constant theme throughout the whole game – the Wildcats coughed up the ball 13 times and shot a measly .291 percent from the field.
Five Colonials scored in double digits, led by senior guard Nya Lok, who netted in 19 points for a spectacular showing off the bench. Redshirt senior forward Mayowa Taiwo scored 14 points with a dazzling .875 shot percentage and recovered 10 boards, which pushed her past 600 career rebounds as the 19th player in program history to reach the milestone.
“I think we played really well,” Lok said in the post-game conference. “There’s always improvements to be made every time we step on the floor. Today I think we did a really good job of trying to do things that we practiced in practice, and I think we still have improvements of staying in the gaps. And it’s important that we keep teams below their average because we’re a defensive team.”
Freshman guard Caia Loving and junior guard Piper Macke came off the bench to start their first game of the season in place of senior guard Essence Brown and freshmen guard Nya Robertson, who were both unavailable to start. Loving and Macke netted in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
GW opened the game with a quick 8-0 scoring run while the Wildcats faced a two-minute scoring drought as the Colonials’ defense kept them from taking possession with frequent turnovers that turned into points in the paint. The Colonials never looked back after their hot start, building up a 15-5 lead before Wilmington called a timeout late in the final two minutes of the first quarter.
Taiwo made her mark early in the game, scoring 6 points to go along with four rebounds prior to the first stoppage on her way to a 14-point, 10-rebound performance that suffocated Wilmington’s interior offense.
The Colonials continued their dominance in the second quarter, scoring a season-high 32 points after a layup by Macke set off five 3-pointers by four different players, continuing a season-long trend of sharpshooting for the team.
Junior guard Asjah Inniss dished out three assists in the second quarter on her way to a game-high of 7. Lok finished the half off with a 3, extending the lead to 54-17 while the Wildcats continued to fall behind on both sides of the court.
GW continued its stifling defense into the third quarter, holding Wilmington to 4 points and forcing five turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Wilmington outscored GW 19-12 in the final quarter, but it was not enough for the Wildcats to overcome a 48-point deficit.
The Colonials took advantage of the 3-point line, draining 12 of 29 shots from deep led by star forward Mia Lakstigala, who was four-for-eight. Shooting from 3-point range has been a point of emphasis for the team this season, improving to a .362 average from last season’s .271 clip.
The team’s shooting average was due in large part to the team’s shot selection in addition to quick, steady ball movement that found open players in the paint.
“One of the things our coaches continuously say to us is to take shots in the game that we would take during practice, so it’s not a surprise that 3-point shots are looking pretty good recently,” Macke, who hit two 3-pointers, said.
McCombs attributed much of the team’s success to their dominance in the paint, where several players were able to dish out assists for shots from beyond the arc.
“I know we are taking a lot more 3s than we have but the kind of 3s that we want to get are inside-out 3s, so that means we get a paint touch before we get that 3,” she said.
This win marked McCombs’ 150th in her collegiate career, after recording 130 victories over seven seasons at Stoney Brook and now 20 wins with the Colonials. She brushed off congratulations during the press conference, crediting her team and players like Lok, Macke and others who have come in clutch while other key players remain injured.
“They do really accept their roles, and they’re always doing whatever they can to help the team win,” she said. “So, we have a lot of players like that on the team which I enjoy coaching, and love that about this group.”
The Colonials will take on the Coppin State Eagles at the Smith Center Dec. 31 at noon.