After a program-record 29 wins, women’s basketball’s historic season has come to a close.
Sixth-seeded GW dropped its NCAA Tournament first-round game to No. 11 seed Gonzaga 82-69 Friday night in Corvallis, Ore.
“It’s sad that it’s come to an end,” senior Chakecia Miller said. “This group of girls is amazing to play with on the court and knowing that it’s over, it hurt pretty bad.”
Sophomore Hannah Schaible and freshman Kelli Prange tied for the team lead with 13 points and each added seven rebounds. Junior Jonquel Jones recorded her 20th double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Sophomore Shannon Cranshaw scored 11 points and tallied three rebounds.
The Colonials went into the half down 40-25 and were unable to make up the difference in the second despite outscoring Gonzaga 44-42. GW closed the gap to seven points with 39 seconds to play, but Gonzaga hit 6-6 from the free-throw line to secure the victory.
GW shot 29 percent from the field and went 5-19 from three-point range for the game. But Gonzaga shot 42.3 percent from the field and went 9-18 from beyond the arc, sharp shooting its way to victory.
The Colonials dominated on the glass, outrebounding Gonzaga 51-39 and holding a 26-16 scoring advantage in the paint and a 23-9 advantage there in the second half. But the Zags’ perfect record winning the turnover margin wouldn’t go away, and the Colonials’ Achilles’ heel hurt them on the big stage. GW surrendered 27 points on 19 turnovers, though the team scored 17 points on 17 Gonzaga turnovers.
GW also struggled with foul trouble for the majority of the game. Sophomore Caira Washington fouled out with seven minutes left in the game after scoring five points and recording four rebounds. Jones finished with four fouls after tallying three in the first half. Schaible and senior Lauren Chase also finished the game with four fouls.
“I think we allowed our frustrations on offense to take some of our intensity and the ability to anticipate on the defensive end in the first half,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.
In the first half, Schaible led the team with nine points and added four rebounds. Jones and Prange tied for the team lead with five rebounds each.
GW struggled from the field in the opening half, shooting only 23 percent from there and 0-5 from beyond the arc, compared to Gonzaga’s 43.8 percent shooting percentage. Despite holding a 24-20 rebounding advantage, the Colonials were outscored 16-10 in the paint and 9-6 on the second chance. GW also gave up 16 points on 12 first-half turnovers.
“We wanted to go out playing our best basketball,” Tsipis said. “I don’t think we did that in the first half the way we’re capable of.”
Despite the first-round exit, there’s still plenty of optimism going around the locker room. The Zags were the cooler team, accustomed to the NCAA Tournament environment. The Colonials were in the Big Dance for the first time since 2008.
“This season felt great,” Jones said. “This is our first time playing in the NCAA Tournament, so everyone got a taste of it and we need to build on it for next year.”