This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.
BRONX, N.Y. Back-to-back three-pointers and the lead the Colonials had all half was gone. It was now a three-point Fordham lead, 29-26, with a little over a minute to go in the first half. They never relinquished it.
The Rams would go onto win 67-58, as their outside shots, alongside a tight halfcourt defense, buried a Colonials that was forced to take shots out of rhythm all second half.
“I think some people were hesitant on their normal shots and that kind of just ruined their rhythm to make the shots. Same with me, I think I rushed a lot of shots. That was really it, just rushing and not really staying in rhythm with our shots,” said graduate student Danni Jackson, who finished with a team-high 16 points.
As GW (16-8, 7-4) continued to fall behind in the second half, the Rams continued to shoot with a high efficiency. Fordham went 45.8 percent from the field and 40 percent from three, making over half of its shots and draining eight threes in the second half. To make matters worse, the Rams went 15-18 from the charity stripe, getting to the line 16 times in the second half.
GW defenders were caught going under hard screens at the top of the key, which led to consistent open looks for Fordham. Senior guard Abigail Corning scored 20 points, assisted by 4-8 shooting from behind the arc.
Both teams came in with two of the best floor generals in the A-10: Jackson and redshirt senior Erin Rooney. Jackson, who led the A-10 in assists with 7.5 per game, would dish out four dimes on the night, while Rooney, ranked second at 7.3 apg, would best Jackson with seven helpers.
As a team, Fordham ended with 21 assists on 22 made baskets, while the Colonials had 13 on 22 field goals.
“They set good screens and we made the decision that once there was contact to try to sneak underneath and they made us pay,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.
Rooney was shut down for most of the game though – GW held her to 3-13 shooting for 11 points. When everything was rolling for the Colonials early in the first half, they were frustrating Fordham’s half court defense.
Consistently tipping passes and forcing turnovers, GW went up 14-7, forcing a Fordham timeout. The home team would fight back, going on a 12-6 run to close within one point.
It still felt like GW’s game, though, until Fordham three-pointers swung momentum in the its favor. Fordham would come out in the second half and make another three in the first eight seconds of play.
Freshman Caira Washington was effective on offense with her jumper, scoring 14 points on 7-10 shooting. She fouled out, though, in crunch time with two and a half minutes to play. Graduate student Brooke Wilson was unable to play in the second half after sustaining an injury late in the first half, forcing freshman Hannah Schaible to play a lot of time at power forward.
Washington’s frontcourt partner, sophomore Jonquel Jones, had trouble all-day, going 3-11 from the field with eight points, 10 rebounds and four turnovers.
“JJ’s got to know that people are going to knock her around,” Tsipis said. “In that kind of stretch in the first, from about eight minutes to about the three minute mark when the lead changed hands, I think you’ll see we took a lot of jumpers and it wasn’t just JJ. I think it was a lot of people. We’ve got to get more points in the paint.”
The Colonials finished with 20 points in the paint to Fordham’s 16 points, but Tsipis knows his team’s strength is in the post. GW ended the game outrebounding Fordham, 38-33 and 14-5 on the offensive glass – a stat that one thought would have won them the game.
Even without a dominant presence down low, GW scraped their way back to a five-point game with 46 seconds to go. An either-way foul on junior Chakecia Miller and missed free throws ended the game for good, though.
With the loss, GW’s chances of winning the Atlantic 10 regular season are now slim, although they can still finish in the top half of the conference.
“I haven’t thought about [an A-10 regular season title] one bit. It was a matter of could we steal a second road win this week and take that momentum with us,” Tsipis said.
GW will go onto play VCU at home Thursday, Feb. 13 at 9 p.m., and then Massachusetts Saturday at 11 a.m.