This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
WHO: GW (11-4, 2-0) vs. Saint Louis (5-9, 0-1)
WHEN: Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Smith Center
Case for Saint Louis:
Following their 74-52 loss to Fordham to start conference play, the Billikens were unable to fly back home for their game against Atlantic 10 giant Dayton, due to the snow storm. Instead of potentially losing at home and starting A-10 play 0-2, the very young team spent team bonding time in New York City.
Come Wednesday, it will have been almost a week since they last played, and a hungry Saint Louis team could grab the early game lead against a GW team that is riding a seven-game winning streak.
Saint Louis averages a subpar 62.6 points per game, but they only allow their opponents shoot 38 percent from the field on their way to 64.9 points per game. This will be a change of pace for GW, who likes to play in fast-paced, high scoring games.
Freshman forward Erin Nelson leads the team with 14.5 points per game, redshirt junior Desirae Ball – the most veteran player of the five starters – averages 13.1 points per contest.
GW freshman Caira Washington will have her hands full as she takes on fellow freshman center, 6-foot-3 Saddie Stipanoovich. She is averaging 8.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds a game. Washington has been in constant double-double territory as of late, but the extra energy on defense to guard Stipanoovich could cause problems on the offensive end.
Case for GW:
After a statement win on the road against Saint Joe’s, the Colonials will return home – where they have suffered just one loss this year – and likely be able to defend their court with ease.
This game could see the return of the team’s leading scorer, graduate student Megan Nipe, but even if she only sees limited minutes off the bench, GW should be fine with three other players who average in double figures.
In sophomore Jonquel Jones’ first five games, she is averaging a double-double with 12.6 points per game and 10.6 rebounds, including a career 21 point, 14 rebound performance against Saint Joe’s. Meanwhile, graduate student Danni Jackson has found a way to score night in and night out, averaging 12.3 points per game along with 5.1 assists. With eight dimes against Saint Joe’s, Jackson now has 432 career assists, moving her past Lindsey Davidson (’03) for fifth all time at GW.
The Colonials beat Saint Louis last year in their final contest of the regular season to secure their eight-seed in the A-10 conference tournament. In the game, Nipe dropped 20 points and Jackson finished with 17 – and that was against a much more veteran Billikens team.
On defense, GW forces an average of 22.1 turnovers per game, leading to a 22nd best turnover margin in the nation (5.20). With Saint Louis already averaging 15.8 turnovers a game, look to see the Colonials bring out their 1-3-1 or 1-2-2 pressure to create easy baskets off turnovers. The team’s confidence should be near a season-high leading to a likely A-10 win against a middle-of-the-pack of Saint Louis team.