This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.
Women’s basketball defeated Saint Mary’s 70-52 at the Smith Center on Sunday for their seventh consecutive win and ninth win of the season.
GW (9-2) was led by junior Jonquel Jones, who posted her fourth double-double of the season with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds, followed by sophomore Caira Washington, who scored 14 points and added eight rebounds. Senior Chakecia Miller led the game with five assists and also added 10 points.
“It’s a tricky game the last game before a break,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “But I’m proud of our group because people stepped up in a lot of different ways.”
Coming into the game, the Colonials ranked fifth in the country with a 15.9 rebounding margin, while Saint Mary’s ranked 11th. GW was able to edge the Gaels 45-27 on the boards and maintain its season-long streak of out-rebounding opponents.
“That’s really, really important. One of our biggest emphasis and the one thing that we take pride in is rebounding,” Jones said. “We don’t just look to win the rebounding war, we make it a point to win the rebounding war every night.”
The Colonials also held a slight scoring advantage in the paint, leading Saint Mary’s 30-26 inside. GW led in second-chance points 15-7 and outshot the Gaels throughout the game, shooting 46.3 percent to Saint Mary’s 41.2 percent.
But even with the strong performance in the paint, Tsipis said the play of his guards was key in the team’s win. Sophomore Shannon Cranshaw added six points, two three-pointers and four assists to complement Miller’s double-digit performance. Sophomore Hannah Schaible also contributed in several departments, with six points, seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks and three steals.
“Chakecia [Miller] did a very good job of playing under control today,” Tsipis said. “Saint Mary’s is a team that makes a lot of changes on how their defense is based, and I thought her and Shannon [Cranshaw] made a lot of good decisions.”
The Colonials shot 51.5 percent in the first half, as Washington led GW with 10 points and seven rebounds to help the team to a 10-point lead at halftime that never faltered.
The 9-2 start is GW’s best since the 2006-07 season, when the Colonials won an Atlantic 10 regular season title and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. But Tsipis said the players are still focused on what’s directly ahead of them instead of what is far down the road.
“We haven’t even talked once about a winning streak,” Tsipis said. “I think they know about the rebounding streak, but I don’t think they could pop in and tell you the winning streak because they’re focused on the next two games.”
Along with helping the Colonials secure a win, Miller’s five assists in the game would make her the 18th Colonial ever to tally 300 career rebounds.
The team returns to action on Dec. 28 on the road against Loyola.