Your Guide to GW sports


Atlantic 10

Fresh off his first career multi-goal performance last Saturday, sophomore forward Christian Lawal earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors, the league announced Monday.

Lawal provided GW with both an equalizer and a game-winner during the second half of his team’s 2–1, come-from-behind victory over Davidson. GW’s second consecutive win to open A-10 play snapped Davidson’s school-record 16-game home unbeaten streak.

The Pembury, England native has registered three goals on the year, second-most on the team, already matching the offensive output of his rookie season.

The award is the first of Lawal’s career, and the second time a Colonial received the honor this year. Junior forward Garrett Heine, who leads GW with five goals and three assists, earned the accolade on Aug. 31 after netting five points on opening weekend.

Monday’s announcement also marked the first time two Colonials have been honored during the same season since 2011.

GW (4-5-0, 1-0 A-10) looks for its third straight win at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game against Bowie State during her senior season. Hatchet File Photo.

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game against Bowie State during her senior season. Hatchet File Photo.

Recent women’s basketball graduate Chakecia Miller has been named GW’s nominee for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award, the league announced Friday.

Miller, who ran the point as a senior during much of the Colonials’ record-breaking 2014-15 season, is one of 480 student-athletes nominated this year, the most in the history of the NCAA Woman of the Year program. The program honors academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from Divisions I, II and III.

The San Antonio, Texas native finished her collegiate career with 275 steals, good for 4th most in program history. She also finished her time at GW ranked 10th with 385 assists and tied for 7th with 125 games played.

Miller averaged 6.9 points, 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game during the Colonials’ 29-win season, en route to the team’s first A-10 title since 2003 and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.

The psychology major graduated with a 3.21 GPA and accumulated more than 50 hours of community service as a GW student. Miller was also a three-year member of GW’s Leadership Academy and a two-time Student-Athlete Advisory Council team representative.

Miller now advances to the Atlantic 10 Conference ballot for a chance to be selected to advance to the national ballot. The 2015 Woman of the Year will be announced at an awards dinner in Indianapolis on Oct. 18.

Sarah-Jo Lawrence, also a former guard for the women’s basketball team, was the last Colonial to advance to the national ballot in 2008.

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The Atlantic 10 announced its women’s basketball league pairings for the upcoming 2015-15 season on Thursday.

A 16-game conference schedule for each of the A-10’s 14 members will allow every team to play each other at least once and three teams twice.

Reigning A-10 champion GW will take on Dayton, George Mason and Richmond both home and away next season. The Colonials played the same three teams twice in 2014-15, going 6-0 en route to a final regular season A-10 record of 15-1.

GW will also host La Salle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Louis and VCU at the Smith Center, and pay visits to Davidson, Duquesne, Fordham, St. Bonaventure and Saint Joseph’s next season.

The Colonials are coming off one of their best seasons in program history. After defeating Dayton in the A-10 championship final, the historic, 29-win campaign was cut short by a first round loss to No. 11 Gonzaga in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

The league as a whole also sent five teams to the postseason in 2015, while three A-10 players were selected in the 2015 WNBA draft.

The 2016 A-10 women’s basketball championship will be played March 2-6, 2016 at the Richmond Coliseum.

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Freshman pitcher Sarah Costlow and junior first baseman Carlee Gray each earned Atlantic 10 postseason honors, the league announced Tuesday.

Costlow’s record-setting freshman campaign earned her a spot on the All-Rookie team, while Gray was selected to the All-Academic team, collecting the second A-10 postseason award of her career.

Costlow achieved a team-best 16-17 record on the mound this season and set the program’s single-season wins record on Sunday, surpassing the mark previously set by Kara Clauss in 2012. The first-year ace finished the year with a 3.89 ERA and a team-leading 19 complete games and 190.2 innings pitched, more than any other freshman in GW history.

“Sarah has gained a tremendous amount of experience this season and will be so much better because of it,” head coach Stacey Schramm said in a release. “I am glad that she’s been rewarded for her contributions to the team this year because it is much-deserved.”

Gray was also selected to the All-Rookie team in 2012, but was honored this year for her 3.72 GPA and offensive play. She led all GW hitters with a .369 batting average, and ranked second-best on the team with 23 RBI, 48 hits and a .487 on base percentage. Gray is majoring in marketing and sport, event and hospitality management.

Defensively, the co-captain also committed only two errors in 46 starts, posting a .995 fielding percentage in her penultimate season.

“Carlee really stepped up this year in more ways than one,” Schramm said. “By the middle of the season, the coaching staff determined that she deserved to be a co-captain alongside of Tori Valos and Sam Dos Santos. She holds herself to high standards on and off the field while not allowing herself to get too high or too low. She is consistent in her work, attitude and effort and I’m thankful that she is being recognized for it.”

The Colonials finished their 2014-15 campaign at 25-23 overall and 7-14 in conference play, leaving them out of postseason play for the second season in a row.

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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 drives through defenders in a game earlier this season against Virginia Union. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Jonquel Jones drives through defenders in a game against Virginia Union. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Junior forward Jonquel Jones earned the Atlantic 10 women’s basketball Player of the Week title for the second time this season, the league announced Monday.

Jones received the honor after a 70-52 win against Saint Mary’s on Sunday, where she recorded her fourth double-double of the season to lead GW with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Last Monday, in a 63-44 victory over Memphis, the 6-foot-4 junior also guided her team with an impressive 15 points and 14 rebounds while averaging 2.5 assists and two blocks on the week.

The Freeport, Bahamas native is averaging 15.3 points and 10.5 rebounds, two team bests that helped her land on the Naismith Trophy preseason watch list on Dec. 10. She is the first Colonial to appear on the list since Kimberly Beck in 2007-08.

Beck and Jessica Adair were the last two Colonials to earn multiple awards in a single season in 2006-07. Monday’s announcement also marks Jones’ third award of her career.

Jones’ first A-10 Player of the Week award of the season came on Dec. 1 after she guided her team to the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division title.

She will look to extend the Colonials’ seven-game winning streak on Sunday when GW (9-2) travels to Loyola for a 2 p.m. matchup.

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Women's volleyball celebrates against Rhode Island earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

The volleyball team celebrates during a match against Rhode Island earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alex Kist.

The volleyball team earned a big non-conference win Wednesday against American, knocking off the Eagles in a five-set dogfight.

The win snapped the Eagles’ 14-match win streak, and was an important victory for a Colonials team that dropped a close five-set thriller to Duquesne on Sunday. American’s No. 74 RPI ranking entering the week is higher than any team in the Atlantic 10 conference.

“We knew going into this match that this was going to be a big one for us,” head coach Amanda Ault said. “[American is] an extremely good team and we knew that they are at the top of their conference year after year.”

The teams battled back and forth in the match’s first four sets, with GW responding to American (18-5, 9-0 Patriot League) after the Eagles took a lead in the first and third sets of the match.

In the third set, the Colonials scored just 13 points and hit -.071 percent. Ault said GW allowed the Eagles to go on runs, which equated to American taking a lead that grew as big as 12 points. But GW was able to regroup and earn a game-saving fourth-set win to force a fifth, decisive set.

“I am glad the girls had amnesia after the set, forgot about it and got right back to playing our game in the fourth,” Ault said.

The fifth and final set went down to the wire, with both teams working to minimize errors and read the floor. After GW got out to an early 3-2 lead, back-and-forth play between the two teams would bring the game to an 8-5 Colonials advantage. It was an error-prone serve-receive set for the Eagles, which contributed to GW winning the set 15-13 and cementing the come-from-behind upset.

“Serve-receive was critical, and we spent a lot of time during practice working on it,” Ault said. “Going into this match, we knew they are a really tough serving team and would put it on us, and we needed to be to take care of that first contact.”

The Colonials produced the very performance they needed after recent losses, where they had non-characteristic performances.

Sophomore Chidima Osuchukwu led the team with a game-high 20 kills on the night. She battled through an Eagles defense that entered the match ranked eighth in the nation in opponent hitting percentage and quickly adjusted to her play early on.

“She kind of got into running one thing and they were able to minimize her,” Ault said. “But then she started to move around and do stuff behind and move away from the setter and it really opened her up for the remainder of the sets. That’s a credit to Chi Chi for being able to change and adapt during a match.”

Senior Kelsey Newman tallied 16 kills of her own, while junior setter Jordan Timmer posted a game-high 49 assists.

Defensively, the Colonials out-blocked the Eagles 11-8. American won the digs battle 73-68, but GW junior libero Maddy Doyle led all players with a game-high 20 digs. She was one of three Colonials to earn double figures in digs.

GW returns to conference play Friday when they host George Mason.

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Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate in GW's win in the A-10 quarterfinals | Hatchet File Photo

Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald celebrate during GW’s win in the A-10 quarterfinals last season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by contributing editor Mark Eisenhauer.

It’s prediction time for men’s basketball.

Sports Illustrated was the latest to release its annual preseason predictions, projecting the men’s basketball team to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 conference behind Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton and Massachusetts.

The Colonials will finish the season with a conference record of 11-7, according to the predictions, which were released Wednesday.

Using a statistical projection system, Sports Illustrated also predicted that juniors Kethan Savage, Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald would lead the team in scoring, in that order. Savage’s projected 14.2 points per game places him at No. 72 in the nation.

Garino, who averaged 12.1 points per game last year, is projected to improve his average to 12.3. Larsen is projected to score 11.5, just 0.1 points better than his average last season. Following an offseason hip surgery, McDonald is expected to average 8.7 points and four assists per game.

The Colonials’ top scorers would be rounded out by sophomore Nick Griffin, projected to score 6.9 points per game, followed by freshmen Yuta Watanabe and Matt Cimino with 5.5 and 5.3 points, respectively.

Sports Illustrated’s projections follow a slew of other preseason lists released in recent months, and many favorably rank the Colonials for the upcoming season.

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports sees GW finishing third in the conference. In his conference preview, Norlander also projected Savage to be a top A-10 guard, placing him on the preseason All-Atlantic 10 Team.

Five other CBS Sports college hoops experts also weighed in with their projected A-10 conference rankings. Chip Patterson, Jerry Palm and Jon Rothstein each have the Colonials finishing second over Dayton and behind VCU, while Gary Parrish has GW finishing third and Doug Gottlieb slates GW to finish fifth.

Beyond the A-10 rankings and regular season standings, USA Today Sports’ Scott Gleeson placed the Colonials in the NCAA tournament field of 68, projecting them to repeat last season with an at-large bid as a No. 9 seed. Gleeson ranked GW as the No. 35 team, and also predicted Savage will be the Colonials player to watch.

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After ending last season with an 11-5 record at home, women's basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis will look to take his team far into the NCAA tournament this year. Hatchet File Photo

After ending last season with an 11-5 record at home, women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis will look to take his team far into the NCAA tournament. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

The women’s basketball team was selected to finish second in the Atlantic 10 conference for the first time in six years, the league announced Tuesday.

After they were ranked fifth last season, the Colonials were placed in the No. 2 spot of the conference’s preseason coaches poll, released during A-10 women’s basketball media day.

The second-place selection comes one year removed from GW’s first postseason appearance since 2009 and first postseason win since 2008.

The Colonials finished last season 23-11 overall, while posting a conference record of 11-5. After defeating East Carolina and Villanova in the women’s NIT, GW’s season ended with a third-round loss to South Florida.

In addition to the team’s ranking, junior Jonquel Jones was also named to the Preseason All-Conference First Team. She is the first Colonial to be named to the first team since center Jessica Adair was chosen in 2008.

Jones is coming off a year in which she was the only A-10 player to average a double-double last year, with 14.7 PPG and 10.9 RPG.

Jones, along with senior Chakecia Miller and sophomore Ciara Washington, were also named to the A-10’s Preseason All-Defensive Team.

The selection marks Miller’s second consecutive year on the preseason All-Defensive team. She ranked 14th in the conference in steals and 11th in assists.

Washington, who was named A-10 Rookie of the Year last season, averaged 11.2 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Dayton was unanimously picked to finish first in the conference. After the Colonials, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Bonaventure and defending A-10 champion Fordham rounded out the top five.

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Freshman defensive specialist Christina Porada dives for a ball in a game earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Freshman defensive specialist Christina Porada dives for a ball in a game earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alex Kist.

After stringing together back-to-back wins against Dayton and Davidson, the volleyball team seemed to have found its stride in conference play.

But against Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday, GW dropped the match in straight sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-20) in one of its worst statistical performances of the season.

The Colonials posted season lows in hitting percentage (.054), kills (29) and assists (29) and tied its season low in digs (37) on their way to their third straight-sets loss of the season.

GW’s lackluster performance came just a week after the team defeated the A-10 leading Flyers in a thrilling five-set performance. Sunday’s performance against the Rams, who eliminated the Colonials in the conference semifinals last season, left head coach Amanda Ault shaking her head as she watched her team put on an uncharacteristic display.

“We weren’t able to get into a groove and we weren’t able to run stuff on our side,” Ault said. “It really is shocking to me how we can go into a game this point in the season and just not show up.”

GW (14-6, 5-2 A-10) got off to a slow start from the opening set against VCU (12-9, 5-3 A-10). Ault said the Colonials began the match the same way they did last week in a 3-1 road loss to Saint Louis, where the team put itself in a hole and could not escape it.

GW started the match hitting .000, totaling just seven kills against seven attack errors. After improving on the pin in the second set, totaling 13 kills against seven attack errors, the Colonials regressed in the final set and hit .000.

Ault said her team wasn’t in the right place mentally entering the game, which was necessary against a Rams team that entered the match as winners of 10 its last 12 games.

“I felt like our connection, our timing, our tempo was just off today, and there was no communication,” Ault said.

The Colonials failed to find their rhythm and aggression throughout the match. Sophomore middle blocker and reigning A-10 player of the week Chidima Osuchukwu hit just .174 on the afternoon, totaling seven kills. Senior outside hitter Kelsey Newman led the team with eight kills.

The Rams connected on 16 more attack attempts, totaling 45 kills in the winning effort. VCU was led by junior outside hitter Kalah Jones and freshman outside hitter Jessica Young, who both finished in double figures in kills. The two combined for 25 total kills on the night.

Ault said her front line was late in reading the Rams attack and getting in position to defend on the net.

“Our block is the first line of defense,” Ault said. “There were times we would go one-on-one with the attacker, but we were late because it was so fast and our hands weren’t up and over at times – that affected us.”

Beyond the first line of defense, GW’s back line also struggled during the match. Junior Jordan Timmer and Newman tallied eight digs apiece to lead the team, but no GW player finished the match in double figures. Junior libero Maddy Doyle finished the match with just four digs.

“Something else that affected us was the back row,” Ault said. “From there, we weren’t tough on contact, and we were still trying to move and figure out where we could go.”

Minimizing errors and maximizing cohesiveness are focuses for the Colonials this week, as well as maintaining energy and communication on the floor.

“We talk about this a lot, every role is important for us on our team. The energy that not only the floor brings, but also the benches is critical, especially when you are on the road because it’s not your fans,” Ault said. “We just need make sure that we have that energy throughout so it puts us in a place where we feel more at home.”

GW continues on the road with a matchup against La Salle on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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