After a nearly silent first half, junior forward Jonquel Jones exploded in the second, tallying 16 points in five minutes to lead the Colonials to an 83-65 win over Fordham on Saturday.
The team’s leading scorer also broke GW’s standing record of 8-8 from the field set by Anna Montañana in 2003, after knocking down 10 shots in 10 attempts. Jones’ performance against Fordham marks the fourth perfect game of 5-5 or better in program history.
With solid entry passes from the guards, Jones strung together her perfect game from different angles, including two three-point plays.
“Everything just felt right. Here in the first half, things didn’t go the way I would like them to go, but my teammates kept telling me to just stay in it and my coaches kept telling me to just stay engaged on the bench,” Jones said. “And we all did what was necessary. It all came together and it was just fun.”
Jones’ game was even more impressive considering that Fordham is one of the best defensive teams in the Atlantic 10. GW’s 18-point lead at the final whistle was the largest lead Fordham has allowed all season.
Ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense, the Rams allow a league-low average of 53.3 points per game. But the Colonials controlled the tempo out of the gate and found open holes on the floor, leading to easy shots and shutting down Fordham’s usually stifling defense.
Sophomore forward Caira Washington and senior guard Chakecia Miller led the charge in the first, each hitting jumpers early, and combining for 28 points on the day.
The Rams were able to rally and bring the contest within five after an and one and another free throw, closing the gap to 18-13. But the Colonials retained the lead throughout the half and finished on top 41-35. Smart ball movement was also key throughout as GW finished the game with 21 assists and only 13 turnovers.
“I’m pleased with being able to have the maturity and focus to have a three-game stretch where you are playing three in seven days, third week of February,” Tsipis said. “It’s a taxing time. Obviously, you’ve got to take care of your body physically and mentally, but you’ve got to be sharp.”
The second half belonged to Jones, but a couple of three-pointers by sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw and freshman forward Kelli Prange helped GW jump to a 49-38 lead.
An accurate assist by sophomore guard Hannah Schaible set up Jones for her first easy layup of the half. With GW up by 15, Fordham called a timeout to regroup and refocus.
But with momentum on the Colonials’ side, the Rams were not able to close the gap. Nine GW points in the following three minutes helped the team pull away.
Jones was instrumental in helping her team clinch a 20-point lead, its largest of the game, after a 13-point run. After Jones’ shooting streak, GW was able to finish with 42 points in the paint and a 52.2 shooting percentage.
Tsipis said selflessness is one of the greatest contributors to the team’s success this season, especially in the game against Fordham.
“Our kids did a great job today playing together,” Tsipis said. “I think the heart of our team is that we are very unselfish and willing to get the best shot.”
The Colonials return to action Thursday when they face Richmond on the road at 7 p.m.