Your Guide to GW sports

Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 5:08 p.m.

Preview: Men’s basketball vs. Richmond

What: GW (17-9, 7-6 A-10) vs. Richmond (14-12, 7-6 A-10)
Where: Robins Center, Richmond, Va., CBS Sports Network
When: Saturday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.

GW travels to Richmond on Saturday for a game in which both teams will be playing to get back on track and avoid falling to .500 in conference.

While the Colonials are on a three-game skid, Richmond has gone 2-3 over its last five games, including a home loss to Rhode Island and an overtime defeat at the hands of George Mason.

It’s unlikely that the Colonials will break the slide with an X’s and O’s approach. Instead, it’s a matter of whether the team will find itself again in time to get out of the current tailspin.

GW, on paper, is still the more talented team, and the Colonials match up well with the Spiders. But a win on the road will take a different level of play than what has come in the last couple weeks.

The case for Richmond:
The Spiders will be hosting a “Red Out” game at the Robins Center, and though the Colonials won the last game between the two squads in Richmond last year, GW has had very little success on the road this season.

Most of the Colonials’ struggles of late have come on the defensive end, and they’ll get no help from the Spiders in denying shots via turnovers. Richmond commits the second-fewest turnovers in the Atlantic 10 at 9.9 per game.

The Spiders, led by Kendall Anthony’s 16.6 points per game from the backcourt, are draining nearly seven three-pointers per game, while the Colonials have struggled to stop the three ball in recent contests.

The case for GW:
The Colonials have done better when they have been able to get an inside game going, which they should be able to do against the Spiders. Richmond ranks last in the A-10 in rebounding margin at -5.5 per game.

After scoring most of his baskets off rebounds in his latest outing, junior Kevin Larsen could dominate inside on Saturday. He recorded 22 points and 11 rebounds in GW’s double-overtime win over Richmond earlier this season.

Larsen could get an even bigger edge with the absence of the team’s top shot blocker in Alonzo Nelson-Ododa.

A bright spot for GW has been the play of freshman Paul Jorgensen, who scored nine points against Davidson and seems to have kept some of the attitude and confidence the team as a whole has lacked. If Jorgensen can keep it up, especially with the scoring issues junior Kethan Savage has had, it could go a long way in helping the Colonials keep pace with Richmond’s outside threats.

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Senior guard Lauren Chase was one of four Colonials to score in double figures in GW's win over VCU Wednesday. Chase scored eight of her 10 points in the second half of the 65-57 victory. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Senior guard Lauren Chase was one of four Colonials to score in double figures in GW’s win over VCU Wednesday. Chase scored eight of her 10 points in the second half of the 65-57 victory. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

The Colonials owned a strong 17 point lead with 5:50 left in regulation, but GW (23-3, 12-1 A-10) couldn’t send its starters to the bench to finish out the last moments of the game.

VCU chipped away at GW’s lead by capitalizing on a 9-0 scoring drought and sinking clutch shots from the perimeter. The Rams were able to cut lead to 61-56, but head coach Jonathan Tsipis knew what he needed to do to keep his team in the driver’s seat.

But VCU’s drive was immediately shut down when senior guard Lauren Chase finished with a dagger to kick the lead back out to eight after head coach Jonathan Tsipis called a timeout to help his team refocus and close out the game.

The Colonials pulled out the 65-57 victory by penetrating the zone, controlling the pace of the game and crashing the boards to get second and third chance opportunities.

The dynamic duo of posts junior Jonquel Jones and sophomore Caira Washington both notched double-doubles on the night, contributing 31 points and 30 boards combined.

Even though Washington reached some foul trouble early, racking up three in the first half, she was able to use her height advantage to drive in the basket and box out for rebounds including seven off the offensive glass.

“I knew that they were going to switch screens and I would have a smaller guard on me, so I took advantage of that and tried to get to the basket,” Washington said. “Our guards did a good job of looking for us, both me, J.J. and Kelli.”

Even though Jones and Washington were the statistical leaders, Tsipis said sophomore guard Hannah Schaible was the one who got the ball rolling for the Colonials in the first half. Schaible finished the night with 13 points and eight rebounds.

“The activity level was good from the start,” Tsipis said. “And I thought Hannah Schaible set that tone. She was ready to shoot, she was hunting down loose balls and getting those offensive rebounds.”

VCU had good hustle and raw physicality, but the team did not have the numbers to shake GW. The Colonials had composure and patience from the line where they shot 81 percent while the Rams were a shaky 42 percent from the stripe.

With only three games left to scout in the regular season, Tsipis said he is confident his team will be prepared to matchup against Fordham, who currently sits in the fourth spot in the conference leaderboard, on Saturday at 2 p.m..

The Colonials solidified a top four seed with a bye in the tournament with the win, but Tsipis said his players have a lot of pride and will do whatever it takes to clinch the No. 1 seed.

“My concern is more ‘are we ready for a really good Fordham team that we’ve not had a chance to play at home yet since I’ve been here?’,” Tsipis said. “You have to protect your home court and we need to continue to play our best basketball as we head into the tournament.”

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Junior Joe McDonald recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Colonials fell to the Wildcats 65-63. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Junior Joe McDonald recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Colonials fell to the Wildcats 65-63. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Junior guard Kethan Savage did not start Wednesday night against Davidson for the first time this season, but down by two with 16.6 seconds remaining, the ball found him once again in a crunch-time situation.

His replacement in the starting five, freshman Yuta Watanabe, was supposed to shoot the three but passed up the opportunity.

Forced to step back and take a long three that didn’t go, Savage and the Colonials were inches from a win, but fell 65-63 to the Wildcats for their third straight loss.

“We wanted [Yuta] to shoot the three and for whatever reason I guess he didn’t want to shoot it,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “But I’m not blaming Kethan for the last shot because I thought he executed the play exactly how we wanted and threw it back to Yuta. But he’s a freshman and I think he’s still a little hesitant.”

Four Colonials scoring in double digits, led by junior guard Patricio Garino and junior forward Kevin Larsen who had a dozen points each, was not enough.  Junior guard Joe McDonald also recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and had a team-high six of GW’s 14 total assists in the loss.

The Wildcats struggled in the first half, but went 54.5 percent from the field in the second to go 40.9 percent to GW’s 36.7 on the night. Sophomore guard Jordan Barham led his team with 15 points, all coming in the second half, as guards Brian Sullivan, Tyler Kalinoski, and Jack Gibbs combined for 34 points.

“The biggest thing right now is that we are struggling to play 40 minutes on the defensive end of the court,” Lonergan said. “We were pretty good in the first half but to give up an eight point lead like that so early in the second half, that’s definitely disappointing and I think that’s just our lack of defense.”

Davidson’s three-point prowess was on display early, as the Wildcats sunk their first four field goals from beyond the arc to jump to 12-5 lead. Sullivan led Davidson with seven points in the half while senior guard Tyler Kalinoski added a half-high seven rebounds.

But the Wildcats began to lose their touch as the Colonials found theirs. Down 16-11, GW embarked on a 13-0 run topped off by a three-pointer from senior forward John Kopriva, who co-led his team in the half with eight points.

Larsen also had eight in the first, adding three rebounds and two assists to help GW secure a 31-23 at the

Junior Kevin Larsen co-led the team in scoring with 12 points against Davidson. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Junior Kevin Larsen led the team in scoring with 12 points against Davidson. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

half. Davidson’s scoring drought left them with a 28.1 percent clip from the field in the half to GW’s 42.9 percent.

Davidson, however, responded in the second with an efficient inside game led by Barham. The Wildcats would go on a 10-0 run of their own out of the break, quickly regaining a 33-31 lead. GW’s first points of the half came off a short jumper from McDonald with about 15 min to play, and stopped the bleeding.

“[Davidson] is very disciplined and they can shoot,” Lonergan said. “You mix in [Barham] with four kids who can shoot and its tough to guard them for 35 seconds. That’s why if you give them 15 offensive rebounds that’s 15 more times you have to play defense.”

A back and forth contest the rest of the way, GW found itself down 65-63 with 21 seconds to go when Davidson called a timeout. The Wildcats inbounded to Gibbs in the backcourt, but ended up committing a backcourt violation, giving the Colonials the chance they could not capitalize on.

Despite matching the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country in three-point shooting with eight from beyond the arc, and outrebounding Davidson 41-38, Lonergan thought GW could also have been better offensively.

“I thought we shot way too many threes to be honest with you,” Lonergan said. “You don’t have to shoot when you’re open. And when you shoot them once in a while you’ve got to make them, and we’re not making them.”

Looking forward though, defense seems like it will remain the Colonials’ top priority.

“We know we have to win it with defense and we didn’t do it. That’s been a problem the last few games. We know what the problem is, we just have to fix it,” McDonald said.

The Colonials travel to Richmond for a rematch with the Spiders Saturday at 4 p.m.

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Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 12:11 a.m.

Preview: Men’s basketball vs. Davidson

What: Men’s basketball (17-8, 7-5 A-10) vs. Davidson (17-6, 8-4 A-10)
When: Feb. 18, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Where: Smith Center

Following their first loss at home in nearly a year in a 79-66 loss to VCU on Saturday, the Colonials will try to turn things around Wednesday night when they host Atlantic 10 newcomer Davidson.

The high-scoring Wildcats sit one spot ahead of GW at fifth place in the conference. The teams will meet Wednesday for the first of two games in 10 days. GW has lost four of its last five and will look to snap a two-game skid, while Davidson will roll in riding a three-game win streak.

With head coach Mike Lonergan considering line-up changes to get GW out of its recent slump and the top spots in the A-10 still up for grabs, both the Colonials and the Wildcats will be hungry for a win.

The case for Davidson:
Despite low scoring league-wide this year, Davidson has the fourth-highest-scoring offense in nation. Leading the A-10 with an average of 81.3 points per game to GW’s 67.4, the Wildcats will present the Colonials’ defense with an even tougher test than VCU.

Senior guard Tyler Kalinoski leads the Wildcats averaging 16.5 points per game and a 43.4 percent clip from three. Junior guards Brian Sullivan and Jordan Barham follow Kalinoski, and the three combined for 83 points in Davidson’s last two wins.

Davidson is also averaging an A-10 best 40.2 percent three-point shooting percentage and 17.3 assists per game, sixth-most in the country. Defensively, GW may have an edge, but the Wildcats are currently out-rebounding the Colonials on the defensive boards 25.5 to 24.5.

The case for GW:
While the Colonials’ defense conceded a whopping 157 points in the last two losses, the team is still allowing an average of 61.1 points per game, fourth-best in the A-10 and 65th in the country.

Davidson will also most likely be without sophomore Jack Gibbs, who suffered a slight meniscus tear during a loss to Richmond last month. Gibbs was averaging 15.8 points per game and a team-high 4.9 assists before he was injured.

GW is averaging 36.9 offensive rebounds to Davidson’s 36.3, but will also need smart ball movement and efficient shooting to hold serve with the Wildcats’ 47.5 percent field goal shooting percentage.

After a demoralizing stretch for GW, it will be interesting to see how Lonergan shakes things up with the starting five and if it works. If not, the Colonials will have one more chance when they travel to Davidson for a rematch on Feb. 28.

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Junior Jonquel Jones jumps for a layup in the Colonials' 70-48 win over St. Bonaventure on Sunday. Jones posted her 15th double-double of the season with 17 rebounds and 13 points. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior Jonquel Jones jumps for a layup in the Colonials’ 70-48 win over St. Bonaventure on Sunday. Jones posted her 15th double-double of the season with 17 rebounds and 13 points. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

No. 20 women’s basketball returned to its winning ways in dominating fashion at the Smith Center today, defeating St. Bonaventure 70-48.

Junior Jonquel Jones posted her 15th double-double of the year with 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, and added a season high eight assists. Sophomore Caira Washington also recorded a double-double, as she led all players with 18 points and tallied 11 rebounds.

“It was a fun game to be out there and bounce back after the game we had in Saint Louis,” Jones said. “We had a lot of things we wanted to focus on and things we wanted to get better.”

With the win, GW improves to 22-3 overall and 11-1 in Atlantic 10 conference play.

“We needed to be better the last couple of days and that would play into today,” said head coach Jonathan Tsipis. “I’m really proud of our group and how they were able to be what you’ve seen a GW women’s basketball team be all year.”

The Colonials controlled the paint, out-rebounding the Bonnies 57-31 for the game. They held a 34-12 scoring advantage in the paint and a 22-3 scoring advantage on second chance points. GW shot 40 percent from the field.

Tsipis said he was happy with the way the defense responded after Saint Louis snapped his team’s 19-game win streak on Saturday, saying it was back to its “customary level.” The Colonials held the Bonnies to only 28 percent shooting and only 24 points in each half. However, St. Bonaventure hit 41 percent from three-point range, making seven three-pointers.

“We didn’t let any of the threes drain us,” Tsipis said. “On Wednesday after Saint Louis hit them there was frustration. But even when it was at 11-11 early today it was at our pace.”

GW went into the half on a 26-13 run over the final 13:10 to build a 37-24 lead. The Colonials shot 45.5 percent from the field, while holding the Bonnies to 32.3 percent. GW dominated on the glass, holding a 26-13 rebound advantage.

Similarly, GW outscored the Bonnies 16-6 in the paint, and 10-3 on the second chance in the first half.

“We were shooting really well,” said sophomore Hannah Schaible, who had 13 points. “That plays into a snowball effect of being able to hit certain people and play off the defense.”

Washington led all players with 10 points on five for six shooting, and added six rebounds. Jones was close behind with nine points, and tallied a first half high eight rebounds. Miller lead all players with four first half assists, and added four points and three turnovers.

“We need to make sure our practice translates to the game,” Washington said of the plan for the stretch run. “That’s running the floor, guards pushing it, and our bench being just as active as people on the floor.”

GW returns to action on Wednesday to face VCU on the road at 7 p.m.

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The Colonials discuss strategy in a game against UMass last season. The Colonials split a double-header against NJIT in this season's opening on Saturday. | Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet staff photographer

The Colonials discuss strategy in a game against UMass last season. The Colonials split a double-header against NJIT in this season’s opening on Saturday. | Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet staff photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

In the 16th inning of ball play at the newly christened Tucker Field at Barcroft Park, a handful of fans stood up to ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’ A few of them stretched and sung. Most remained seated, like the fan draped in a blanket with the faces of three warm teddy bears on it.

Two teams played until everything was numb Saturday at “The Tuck” as GW split a doubleheader against NJIT. Sunday’s game was cancelled due to weather.

The Colonials would take the first game, 5-1 on the strength of a strong start from junior Bobby LeWarne. GW would then fall in the second game, 6-2, unable to keep it close in the bullpen and failing to capitalize on a bases loaded, one-out situation in the bottom of the seventh.

It was a game pitted against two former Colonials, GW head coach Gregg Ritchie, a former All-American, and NJIT head coach Brian Guiliana, who was the captain of his Colonials team his senior year.

“It’s another GW guy getting another program in a better direction,” Ritchie said. “If there’s a good side to it, that would be it. Otherwise, I don’t like losing to anybody at any time. And quite honestly, we should win that game. We have enough ability to win that game.”

The first game was all LeWarne. He went seven comfortable innings for the first win of the season. On 91 pitches, LeWarne gave up one unearned run, struck out six, walked two and allowed three hits – not one coming after the third inning, even in the cold.

“It’s not bad. I’m from Iowa. I’m used to pitching in the cold,” LeWarne said.

The only damage done came in the first, which was the only time the Colonials trailed in the first game.

LeWarne was throwing a little high the whole game, but for the most part didn’t get burned for it. He struck out the NJIT leadoff batter with high heat, but following an infield single that made him give special attention to the runner, LeWarne gave up his hardest hit ball of the game.

The three hitter stroked a liner over the glove of freshman second baseman Robbie Metz which allowed runners to reach second and third safely after the outfielders nearly collided. The next play, a ground ball to sophomore Kevin Mahala left the runner at second hung out to dry, allowing an unearned run to score but effectively ending NJIT’s lone threat in the game.

The Colonials reclaimed the lead quickly in the first inning, scoring two in their half. After a leadoff single up the middle by sophomore Joey Bartosic and a hit and run, infield single by Metz, Ritchie kept forcing the agenda. Bartosic and Metz each scored after a successful double-steal put them both in scoring position.

The Colonials capitalized on two NJIT throwing errors in the following inning to the tune of a run for junior Matthieu Robert, and GW picked up two late insurance runs when senior Ryan Xepoleas knocked one off the high wall in right field to send sophomore Bobby Campbell home and scored himself automatically when the relay throw came in off line and went into the Colonials dugout.

The second cap the Colonials offense didn’t click as well, though GW led until the fourth and Bartosic got a hit in his 16th straight game, dating back to last season, to set a GW record.

“After we scored two runs, bang, bang, the game slowed down when he started to get behind [in the count],” Ritchie said. “The pace and tempo changed and we kind of went into a lull and we allowed them to peck away and all of a sudden burst open.”

Lefty freshman Kevin Hodgson started the game, going four innings, allowing two runs, one earned on five hits, one walk and one strikeout.

Hodgson threw 62 pitches, 39 for strikes in his debut on the bump, throwing with a slow tempo, missing first pitch strikes and getting slightly peppered around by the NJIT hitters.

The bullpen couldn’t do much more.

First to come in was Jacob Williams, who would have started Sunday if the game was not cancelled. In his second inning of work he ran into the trouble in the sixth inning.

A lead off ground rule double eventually scored after the player stole third and scored on a questionable bunt defense play. With the infield in and one out NJIT laid a beautiful bunt down the third base line, which had a small chance of rolling foul, but likely was fair.

Williams picked it up and shoveled it to the catcher not nearly in time for the out, as the go-ahead run scored. A couple other mental errors cost the team runs during the game, including a botched bunt defense play when Hodgson was still in the game.

The bullpen would give up four runs, making it difficult for the Colonials to mount a comeback.

In the seventh, still down two, GW loaded the bases with one out. Metz came to the plate in the middle of a very strong rookie debut, with two hits and one run scored in the first game. He swung at three pitches, fouling the first two and then swung through an elevated strike for the third strike of the at bat.

“The second game is not typical of our normal offense in terms of putting balls in play,” Ritchie said. “That definitely hurt us in situations where we had punch outs. That’s kind of what happens with a couple young guys, punch outs with runners in scoring position.”

Campbell would then take a good first pitch and roll it over to short to end the inning and the Colonials last real threat.

Redshirt senior Craig LeJeune looked in full form in his return back to the mound in the eighth. Following two straight innings of the bullpen yielding a run, LeJeune stopped the bleeding. He struck out his first two batters and retired the side with a fly ball.

GW will resume play Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against Georgetown at The Tuck.

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Junior guard Joe McDonald attempts to dribble in the Colonials' 79-66 loss to VCU. McDonald finished with 12 points. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Junior guard Joe McDonald attempts to dribble in the Colonials’ 79-66 loss to VCU. McDonald finished with 12 points. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

After nearly a year of perfection at home, GW lost a game at the Smith Center.

Twelve VCU three-pointers doomed the Colonials, who fell 79-66 to the No. 20 Rams (19-6, 9-3 Atlantic 10) on Saturday afternoon. It was the second straight loss for GW (17-8, 7-5 A-10), snapping a 12-game win streak at home.

“A lot of it was that we missed open shots, and they made open shots,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “Our 1-3-1 used to be a huge strength of ours, but you can’t play it when three guys are playing really hard… we just really had no energy and were giving them wide-open threes.”

Despite a strong GW shooting effort led by junior guard Patricio Garino’s game-high 22 points, the Colonials could not handle the high-powered Rams offense. GW’s 16 turnovers and 13 missed three-point attempts also helped VCU pull ahead in a contest that was tied seven times and was close until about nine minutes remained.

VCU junior guard Melvin Johnson had a team-high 17 points and hit 5-8 from three, as five Rams would finish in double figures in scoring.

The frontcourt duo of senior Treveon Graham, who had missed the Rams’ previous two games due to injury, and sophomore Mo Alie-Cox overpowered a frazzled GW defense, combining for 20 points and 12 rebounds on the day. Sophomore guard JeQuan Lewis also added 10 points and a team-high four assists to augment the Colonials’ frustration on defense.

“The problem was that we couldn’t guard them in man because Lewis, and the guard off the bench, was just getting to the rim on us,” Lonergan said. “So we tried to play some 1-3-1 and gave up three threes… and then we stopped scoring.”

In front of a buzzing Smith Center crowd, GW came out strong and jumped to an early lead off a three-pointer from senior forward John Kopriva.

Garino would lead the Colonials in the half with 10 points, as the team went an impressive 59.1 percent from the field.

But nine first-half turnovers by GW to VCU’s five would allow the Rams to run up the scoreboard with their precise three-point shooting. Although the Rams went 44.4 percent from the field in the first, they hit seven of 16 from beyond the arc, led by Johnson’s 14 first-half points.

Down 29-22, the Colonials went a 7-0 run, highlighted by a wide-open corner three from junior guard Joe McDonald, to tie the game and regain some momentum. The teams then traded buckets before junior forward Kevin Larsen rocked the Smith Center when he converted a clutch steal for a dunk to give his team a 36-34 lead late in the half.

GW would end the half tied at 38, as McDonald, who had a team-high eight rebounds and added 12 points on the day, beat the buzzer with a short jumper.

The Colonials would go toe-to-toe with the Rams early in the second half as well. A bucket from Savage made it 48-47 VCU, but GW cooled off while the Rams remained hot. Eight more turnovers in the second half also played a big role in the 13-point loss.

“I give them credit. They’re very good defensively,” Lonergan said. “We had a lot of unnecessary turnovers in the second half, not against their press but really in the frontcourt and they took advantage of that.”

After multiple GW misses, VCU was able to jump to a 58-48 lead with just over eight minutes to play. The Colonials finally responded with a three-point play from Savage and a Garino layup off a steal to cut their deficit in half.

But that was as close as the Colonials would get to a comeback, as the Rams remained steadfast in their offensive pressure while their shots continued to fall, hitting 12 of 30 from three and going 45.6 percent from the field on the day. GW’s defense, which was once the best in the A-10 in points allowed, would concede a season-high 79 points to the Rams a game after setting the high-water mark at 78 at Duquesne.

“I think it’s focus… We were one of the top teams defensively before Hawaii, and we need to get back at it,” Garino said. “Maybe it’s psychological that we’re thinking too much about offense or missing shots… but I think we have to get back to basics and realize that defense is the key.”

The Colonials look to get back on the winning side of things Wednesday, when they host Davidson at 7 p.m.

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Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 2:07 p.m.

Preview: Men’s basketball vs. VCU

What: Men’s basketball (17-7, 7-4 Atlantic 10) vs. No. 20/22 VCU (18-6, 8-3 A-10)
When: Saturday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m.
Where: Smith Center

On the heels of a 16-point loss at Duquesne on Wednesday when the Colonials conceded a season-high 78 points to the Dukes, GW returns home for a rematch against VCU on Valentine’s Day.

The Colonials met the Rams last month, dropping the contest 72-48 on the road. VCU’s “havoc” defense was able to hold GW to just 26.9 percent shooting from the field in the dominant victory and will look to maintain the same kind of pressure at the Smith Center on Saturday.

But this time around, VCU – which shares the top spot in the Atlantic 10 with Dayton – will be without senior guard Briante Weber, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Jan. 31. Senior swingman Treveon Graham is also nursing an ankle injury and will see limited playing time against GW, if it all.

The case for VCU:
Coming off two straight losses to middle-of-the-pack A-10 teams, the Rams will be hungry to get back on the winning side.

Despite losing Weber, who led Division I basketball with 3.90 steals per game, VCU’s defense is familiar with the Colonials and still may find a way to stymie the GW passing game.

Offensively, Graham led the team and ranked eighth in the A-10 with 16.2 points per game. But sophomore JeQuan Lewis and junior Melvin Johnson have stepped up, averaging 17.7 and 13.7 points, respectively, in the Rams’ last three games.

Additionally, Weber and Graham combined for only 13 points in last month’s contest. Expect Lewis, Johnson and freshman guard Terry Larrier, who combined for 36 of the Rams’ points against GW last time out, to pose a formidable offensive threat.

The case for GW:
With Weber out, GW should be able to handle the ball a bit more easily and get more open looks, something they struggled with in the teams’ last meeting.

Despite going 31.9 percent from the field against Duquesne, the Colonials are shooting a respectable .439 field goal percentage on the season to VCU’s .426 percent. If GW’s core four can solve the Rams’ defense early and shoot well at home, they will be looking at their 18th victory of the season.

Led by junior forward Kevin Larsen, ranked ninth in the A-10 with 7.4 boards per game, the Colonials also hold a clear rebounding edge. With a conference-best +4.5 rebounding margin compared to VCU’s margin of -2.7, the Colonials will most likely command the boards, but must capitalize on second-chance points if they want the win.

GW’s biggest advantage, however, may be its home court. The Colonials are a perfect 10-0 in front of a Smith Center crowd that hasn’t seen a loss in Foggy Bottom since Feb. 15, 2014. Up against an injured but ranked VCU squad, look for GW to play with heart and go toe to toe with the 20th best team in the nation.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

For the first time since Nov. 22 of last year, No. 20 women’s basketball lost a game.

Falling to St. Louis 79-61 Wednesday night on the road, the Colonials (21-3, 10-1 A-10) snapped a 19-game winning streak and conceded their first loss in Atlantic 10 play.

St. Louis (12-12, 5-6 A-10) hadn’t defeated a ranked opponent since Jan. 24, 2003 when the team took down No. 20 DePaul, and entered the contest sitting in the bottom half of the conference, but came out strong to secure the 18-point victory.

“I felt from the opening tip that we were not mentally and physically ready to play the same way St. Louis was,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “It was 17-2 to start the game. They were the aggressors in everything they did.”

Sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw led the Colonials with 12 points, all scored on her four three-pointers, tying a career high. Senior guard Lauren Chase added 10 points and four assists, while junior forward Jonquel Jones led the game with 14 rebounds and put up eight points.

St. Louis controlled the game from the very beginning, as the Colonials went 1-11 from the field out of the gate, compared to 7-11 for St. Louis. The Billikens’ onslaught did not waver after halftime either: They outscored the Colonials 51-36 in the second half of a game in which GW never led and the score was tied just once.

“We work our offense through Jonquel and Caira and Kelli, and that didn’t get started early. We were kind of dazed when that didn’t work,” Tsipis said.

St. Louis was able to build up what would eventually become a 22-point lead in part because of three-point shooting. St. Louis shot 58 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 11 threes compared to GW’s five. St. Louis also shot 75 percent from the free throw line, while GW shot 55 percent.

“We had some defensive lapses, and they were able to exploit it and knock down some jumpers,” Jones said. “On our end we just have to handle our defense and build from there.”

Despite the loss, the Colonials still managed to out-rebound St. Louis 36-31 and outscore them in the paint 34-22 and 11-5 on second-chance points. However, the Billikens were able to score 20 points off of 19 GW turnovers.

GW entered the first half down 28-25 after a last-second St. Louis three-pointer. However, GW ended the half on a 18-10 run over the final 8:50. Cranshaw led the Colonials in first-half points with six after hitting two threes. Jones led all players with six rebounds in the first 20 minutes, and added three points and three assists. Both teams shot 38 percent in the first half.

With three days before the next game, Tsipis is already looking for ways to get the team back on the winning track.

“We have to be better defensively,” Tsipis said. “We weren’t at our best offensively and we still scored 61 points.”

The Colonials return to action Sunday to face St. Bonaventure at the Smith Center.

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Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 11:43 p.m.

Jonquel Jones named National Player of the Week

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Following her stand-out performance in Sunday’s contest against Dayton, junior forward Jonquel Jones received two honors this week.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association selected Jones as the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women’s National Player of the Week. Additionally, she was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Monday for the seventh time this season.

Jones averaged 15.0 points and 15.5 rebounds against Davidson and Dayton last week. On Sunday, she helped GW soar to a 19-game win streak after notching 18 points and tying a career-high 18 boards in the Colonials’ 67-56 victory.

The Naismith Trophy candidate is the only A-10 player to average a double-double on the season. Jones secured her 14th double-double Sunday and currently ranks first in the conference and fifth in the nation in rebounding, averaging 12.3 rebounds per game.

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