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Chakecia Miller

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Freshman forward Caira Washington jumps for a lay up in GW's 89-51 win over Grambling State earlier this season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Freshman forward Caira Washington jumps for a layup in GW’s 89-51 win over Grambling State earlier this season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Staff Photographer

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.

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Sophomore Hannah Schaible reaches for the ball in the Colonials' win over Georgetown last week. Schaible scored 12 points and added seven rebounds against Memphis. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore Hannah Schaible reaches for the ball in the Colonials’ win over Georgetown last week. Schaible scored 12 points and added seven rebounds against Memphis. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Holding a solid lead heading into halftime, the Colonials tightened their stranglehold on Memphis in the second half to defeat the Tigers in their sixth straight victory of the season Monday.

GW beat Memphis 63-44 to bring its record to 8-2, the team’s best start since the 2006-07 season.

Junior forward Jonquel Jones led all scorers, notching a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Following close behind was sophomore Hannah Schaible, who tallied 12 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Caira Washington added nine rebounds while being held, uncharacteristically, without a point.

“It was a fun game. I got to really settle down and got a chance to move the ball around. It was a good game. Everyone chipped in,” Jones said.

The Colonials continued to dominate the boards, with a 54-32 advantage off the glass. GW entered the game fifth in the nation by an impressive rebounding margin of 15.2 rebounds per game, and has won the rebounding margin in every game this season.

“I think that the two things we hang our hat on are the ability to be aggressive and rebound the basketball,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “I think that helps us get second-chance points and to the free-throw line and then how we get out of transitions.”

The Colonials had a 29-22 lead at halftime with the rebounding advantage well in hand, but had allowed Memphis (5-5) to stay close by amassing 12 turnovers.

In the second, however, the Colonials outscored the Tigers 34-22 and were much cleaner with the ball. GW had just seven turnovers after halftime. The team went on a 9-0 run early in the second half and kept momentum by pressuring the Tigers, who ended the game shooting under 30 percent from the field for their lowest point total of the season.

“Rebounding really gives us a chance to get the ball and push the ball up court. We really like to run transitions, so then we capitalize on the misses,” Schaible said.

With under eight minutes left in regulation, GW claimed back-to-back baskets after Jones elevated for a jumper and senior guard Chakecia Miller stole the ball on an inbounds play, letting her momentum carry her straight to the basket, which boosted GW to 53-29.

The Colonials kept composure at the line and didn’t allow Memphis any extra chances with a season-low five fouls on the night. GW shot over 83 percent from the charity stripe, aided by Miller’s perfect 5-5 night.

“We were cutting people off the free-throw line tonight,” Tsipis said. “Especially in the second half, we kept them from getting back, whether it be a transition or the offensive glass. I think that’s a great example of when your offense isn’t at full tilt and you aren’t executing as well as they were, you are able to really put forth a great effort.”

GW now leads the Atlantic 10 with an 8-2 record entering the final stretch of games before conference play begins Jan. 4. The Colonials will host Saint Mary’s on Sunday at noon in the Smith Center before a string of matches on the road to close out 2014.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

There was a dogfight in the Smith Center on Saturday, but the Colonials pulled away victorious, hanging on for their third straight win over a 2014 NCAA tournament team.

GW defeated Fresno State 73-64, led by senior guard Lauren Chase’s 22 points, which matches her career-high. Chase finished the game shooting 8-15 from the field with a 4-7 night at the charity stripe.

Chase got the ball rolling for the Colonials with a jumper and three pointer within the first five minutes of the contest. GW would take the first half by a slim 30-26 margin, after forcing 18 turnovers in the first half. Fresno State was able to keep it close by capitalizing on moments when the Colonials were out of sync with eight steals in the first half, GW head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. GW finished the game with 19 turnovers.

Lauren Chase dribbles the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored a game-high 22 points Saturday against Fresno State. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Lauren Chase dribbles the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored a game-high 22 points Saturday against Fresno State. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Fresh out of the locker room, Chase also notched the first of GW’s points in the second, with another shot beyond the arc. GW brought offensive intensity to extend to a 36-28 lead, as a quick layup by sophomore forward Caira Washington propelled the Colonials to an early eight-point advantage.

“The main thing was that we wanted to be aggressive, whether they were playing man or zone,” Chase said. “We needed to get the ball into the open spots, whether it’s getting it to our post players down low to get easy shots or just kicking it out, just making sure we’re moving the ball.”

The Colonials were perhaps most aggressive off the boards, out-rebounding their opponents for the eighth straight match. GW controlled the glass with a 47-32 margin, including a 24-8 mark off the offensive boards.

Washington paced the Colonials in rebounding, ending the game one point shy of a double-double with 14 rebounds and nine points.

“I think it makes you a harder team to guard when you know you are going to spend more time preparing to keep people off the glass,” Tsipis said. “It allows us on the defensive end to get out and transition more, which is how we want to play.”

Sophomore guard Hannah Schaible was active around the basket, getting seven rebounds despite just four points and elevating to retrieve her own offensive rebounds on a couple occasions. Freshman forward Kelli Prange was a deep threat in the second and shot an effortless three pointer to push the score to 50-39.

Still, the Bulldogs started to move in on the Colonials after Prange’s shot and brought the game to a 54-54 draw, forcing Tsipis to call a timeout to refocus his players.

After the timeout, GW retaliated and took a 58-57 lead with Jones dumping the ball in the basket through outstretched Bulldog arms and pulling away at the tail end of the game.

Senior guard Chakecia Miller knocked down four free throws within the last 17 seconds of the game to put the Colonials’ victory on ice.

Tsipis said the tough competition and versatility of opposition on a team like Fresno State should help the Colonials prepare for the conference season.

“We need to continue to understand that every one of these games, with the different styles that we are playing, is going to get us ready so that when we play teams in the [Atlantic] 10, we’re not caught off guard,” Tsipis said.

GW returns to action Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a match against crosstown rival Georgetown in the Smith Center.

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Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game earlier this season. Miller tied junior Jonquel Jones for a team-high 14 points in GW's win over Purdue Saturday. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game earlier this season. Miller tied junior Jonquel Jones for a team-high 14 points in GW’s win over Purdue on Saturday. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Still in the adolescent stage of this season, women’s basketball can add a tournament title to its résumé.

The Colonials clinched the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division title with a domineering 79-59 win over Big 10 contender Purdue. Freeport native and junior forward Jonquel Jones received MVP of the division.

“Putting our team in that championship environment, to get them ready for where we hope they are at in March was a big part of this tournament,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “The opportunity with that and to bring Jonquel home, it was like playing a home game. The excitement level had a lot of an NCAA tournament-type feel to it.”

The Colonials got four players in double-figure scoring led by Jones and senior guard Chakecia Miller who tied for a team-high 14 points. Purdue finished with two double-digit scorers and shot just 34.5 percent for the game, bogged down by a 25 percent shooting mark in the first half. Overall, GW shot 50.8 percent from the field.

Jones scored all of her points in the second half, though she did have five of her game-high 14 rebounds in the first.

“I thought today she was more tentative in the first half than she was yesterday, but I think at halftime, she collected herself,” Tsipis said. “She could have very easily got down on herself and forced things in the second half, but I thought she was patient. I thought she got some things off the offensive glass, and I thought she really locked in defensively.”

GW ran Purdue off the court by a score of 36-19 in the first half, but Purdue fought back in the second with a 10-4 run to shrink GW’s lead to as little as eight.

Sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw helped GW retaliate with a three-pointer, which regained the double-digit lead, 55-43. She nailed the triple on an assist from sophomore guard Hannah Schaible, who had a shot herself but decided to throw the extra pass for the stronger look from Cranshaw.

The teams traded a few more shots, but as Jones heated up, the Colonials stretched the lead back out for the 20-point win.

GW out-rebounded Purdue by a 43-24 margin, but the Colonials’ struggles with turnovers continued. Both GW and Purdue tallied 11 steals on the night, but Purdue only forfeited 17 turnovers to the Colonials’ 24.

The Boilermakers were able to take advantage of their takeaways by scoring 21 points off the extra possessions, over a third of their points.

Tsipis said he was impressed with the intensity of his team for all 40 minutes in regulation, and that he is starting to see the focus on rebounding and quick transitions of a high-quality team.

The two wins in the tournament give the team momentum and confidence moving into the later portion of the non-conference schedule before Atlantic 10 play begins in January.

“Trying to challenge our team with the schedule early, playing at Florida Gulf Coast, hosting Maryland and playing in this tournament, you hope in the short term they understand they can compete with anyone on our schedule, and not just compete but also put themselves in a position to win,” Tsipis said.

The Colonials get a long rest after playing two games in two days, with the team hosting Fresno State at the Smith Center on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Jonquel Jones’ homecoming led women’s basketball (4-2) to a first-round win against N.C. State in the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas on Friday.

Jones, who is from Freeport, led all players with 22 points and was the Colonials’ leading rebounder with nine in the 74-66 win. In the final minutes of the game, she hit a fadeaway jumper to keep a three-possession lead for GW.

“Talk about having a country on your shoulders,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We ran a couple things for her, but I thought she played well within herself.”

Star forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket during a game last season. Hatchet File Photo

Star forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket during a game last season. Hatchet File Photo

After leading by as much as 14 in the second half, GW’s lead dwindled down to six points with 7:48 left to play after a 13-3 Wolfpack run. Tsipis attributed N.C. State’s comeback to foul trouble and turnovers down the stretch, but was happy with how his team responded. GW ended the game with 18 turnovers.

“I thought the best part of our composure was that we executed things,” Tsipis said. “They changed defenses and we were able to score against their zone and press, and I think that composure let us execute in the last three minutes.”

Sophomore Caira Washington was second on the team with 14 points and seven rebounds. Two other Colonials scored double digits: seniors Chakecia Miller and Lauren Chase had 11 and 10, respectively.

The strength of the bigs, particularly, helped GW rack up easy shots and extra possessions with a good rebounding game. The Colonials shot over 49 percent from the field and nearly 56 percent in the second half. They also dominated on the boards, out-rebounding N.C. State 41-28.

“I think in the second half, we jump out to the big lead because of getting to the glass and getting Jonquel and Caira shots in the right position,” Tsipis said.

Those advantages gave GW a 48-22 edge in points in the paint, as well as a 20-11 mark in second chance points. Four of Jones’ and three of Washington’s rebounds came off the offensive glass. Freshman Kelli Prange and Miller also each added six rebounds.

Prange and classmate Brianna Cummings played the majority of GW’s minutes off the bench, with Prange taking 16 and Cummings taking 27.

The four other reserves combined for 21 minutes of play for GW. N.C. State’s bench outscored the Colonials’ 29-15, though mostly on the strength of redshirt sophomore guard Dominique Wilson’s 21-point performance.

Outside Wilson, guard Miah Spencer and forward Jennifer Mathurin, the Wolfpack did not get much production. Spencer scored 18, though she had six turnovers, and Mathurin scored 12.

The Colonials will play Purdue on Saturday in the title game at 3:15 p.m. The Boilermakers defeated Texas Tech 69-53 Friday to advance.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Women’s basketball dug deep through its depth chart on the way to an 88-45 crushing of Bowie State (Division II) in GW’s home opener Wednesday, moving to 2-1 with its second consecutive win.

GW scored 46 points off the bench and 37 from freshmen players, who saw significant playing time. Sophomore Caira Washington led the Colonials with 13 points and added five rebounds, while freshman Kelli Prange led the team with nine rebounds.

“An opportunity in your home opener to get everybody involved, our freshman, their first points of the year, is important,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.

GW led in every major team category, scoring 34 points in the paint, 31 off 28 turnovers, 17 second-chance points and 20 fast-break points. The team shot 43.5 percent from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc.

Washington said the success scoring off turnovers was particularly important, and that it hints at the shape of the team’s identity this season.

“We’re a team that wants to get up and go, and that starts on defense,” Washington said. “We pressure the ball and come in on transition.”

Washington was able to play 20 minutes and fouled just once, unlike her four against American that barred Tsipis from using her in more than 13 minutes of the game, and Tsipis said staying out of foul trouble was key to the entire Colonials defense.

Bowie State shot only 14.3 percent from three-point range, and Tsipis praised the defense for its smart play and ability to avoid fouling.

“It has to be the backbone of our team,” Tsipis said. “Tonight, whether it was a press or a half court, the understanding of not sending people to the line was a huge key and gave people confidence.”

Washington, who was selected to the Preseason Atlantic 10 Second Team, almost tripled her season point total after scoring only five against American and being held scoreless against Florida Gulf Coast.

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a Bowie State defender on Wednesday. Miller scored 10 points in GW's home opener win. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a Bowie State defender on Wednesday. Miller scored 10 points in GW’s home-opener win. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

“I can bring more to the team than scoring,” Washington said. “Those two games, I still rebounded and worked to get my teammates open, but today I was much more active.”

Senior Lauren Chase was the only player in the game to record 10 assists, which Tsipis said was a goal he had set for her.

GW was able to start the game off fast with an impressive first half. The Colonials jumped out to a 22-6 lead in the first four minutes, and only turned the ball over a total of four times in the opening frame.

“We started with a great amount of intensity, and I thought we were active defensively,” Tsipis said. “We pushed in transition how we like and we didn’t allow them to get set in a defense.”

GW shot 44 percent in the first half and 35.7 percent from three-point range. Senior Chakecia Miller led the Colonials with 10 points before halftime, with freshman Mia Farmer in second with nine on three three-pointers.

The Colonials padded their first half lead not just with shooting, but also size in the paint and on the boards. GW out-rebounded BSU 27-20, scored 20 points in the paint and scored 15 on the second chance.

With the win, GW now looks to Saturday for a matchup against No. 9 Maryland in the Smith Center. Tsipis said Preseason A-10 First Team Selection junior Jonquel Jones is set to return Saturday, but is unsure what her role will be.

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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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This post was written by Hatchet staff writers Nora Princiotti and Josh Solomon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSqZPhidt7I

Point guard Danni Jackson swung a pass across the court to Megan Nipe, setting up her teammate in front of the GW bench – in front of one of their last Smith Center crowds.

Jackson watched as her fellow graduate student loaded up and knocked down her third trey of the night, then crouched down, wound up and exploded with a big fist pump. The Colonials lead was back to double digits.

“At that point I knew this is our game,” Jackson said. “They had no answer for her [Nipe] tonight.”

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives towards the net during the Colonials first-round WNIT victory against Eastern Carolina University. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives towards the net during the Colonials first-round WNIT victory against Eastern Carolina University. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

Nipe would finish with a team-high 20 points, leading GW over East Carolina 86-68 for its first postseason win since 2008, when the team made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

“It feels awesome,” Jackson said. “I don’t know whether to cry or…”

“She’s not going to cry. She’s fine,” Nipe quickly joked back.

Despite the 18-point victory, the Colonials had trouble closing out the Conference USA team who had made the WNIT just last season. A 17-point first half lead had dwindled all the way down to a one-point game with 10-and-a-half minutes to go in the second half.

Junior forward Shae Nelson led the Pirates’ surge, hitting three-consecutive three-point shots during the run. She finished with a game-high 23 points off the bench and on the defensive side, frustrated GW’s bigs until finally fouling out with just over a minute to play.

A 6-0 GW run, though, and a couple key defensive stops against the physical Pirates team helped the Colonials to never look back. GW would outshoot ECU 43.9 to 31.6 percent from the field, with its frontcourt ultimately earning the advantage, 40-26.

Pirate’s star guard Jada Payne tried to will her team to victory, recording a double-double with 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis said the Colonials tempered the Pirates’ long-range success with an even more aggressive hands-in-your-face defense. On four of five of ECU’s first half threes, Tsipis said, GW defenders were caught with their hands down.

“We went out there and locked down on defense. We then got the stop and we scored on the other end and it just gave us our confidence back,” Jackson said. “That’s all we kept saying anyway: we’re fine, we’re fine, we’re fine.”

On the other end of the court, Jackson was one of four Colonials to join Nipe in double figures, with 18 points. Freshman Caira Washington had 14, while junior Chakecia Miller and sophomore Jonquel Jones each added 10.

Miller returned to the lineup in full-force after injuring her back in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals last week. She was limited against Dayton in the semifinals, but was able to join Jackson in what she calls the “best duo in the backcourt in the A-10.”

The duo will now head up to Philadelphia to face Villanova in the second round of the WNIT Sunday at 1 p.m.

“We write on the board ‘one plus,’” said Tsipis about every playoff game. “With each ‘one plus’ that you earn, there are less and less people in this country playing right now and I think our kids are really excited about that.”

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

Who:

GW (21-10) vs. East Carolina (22-8)

When: Wednesday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Smith Center

How many more times will Megan Nipe and Danni Jackson suit up as Colonials?

GW begins postseason play in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament Wednesday in a first-round game against East Carolina University.

Should the Colonials win, they would move on to the second round to meet the winner of Villanova/Quinnipiac and would likely get one more game at the Smith Center.

Lose, and the doors on this surprisingly successful season – its best in six years – will finally close.

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives past a Dayton defender in GW's 88-79 upset earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives past a Dayton defender in GW’s 88-79 upset earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Case for East Carolina:

The Lady Pirates have only garnered a WNIT bid three times in program history, but this year will make it back-to-back seasons. Total minutes of post season tournament play favors ECU 177-0.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis said ECU is similar to his GW team in some aspects: athleticism, varied defenses and offensive rebounding.

The Lady Pirates opened the season 21-3, but then dropped the last four of five regular-season games and were booted in their first game of the Conference USA tournament. The Pirates were upset by the No. 13 seed FIU, 87-75.

Redshirt sophomore Jada Payne leads ECU in scoring with 18.8 points per game. The 6-foot-2 forward was the only underclassmen to be named to the All-Conference USA first team. Her versatility – also leading the team in rebounds with 7.4 per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range – will make her a tough player for the Colonials to contain.

Junior Ondrea Shaw defines the Pirates’ defense, ranking eighth in the nation with 3.4 blocks per game. She broke a single-season blocking record set in 1978 with 98 total blocks this season and has helped her defense limit opponents to just 26.6 percent three-point shooting, 10th best in the NCAA.

ECU will give GW a run for its money in the Colonials greatest area of strength: rebounding. GW is unaccustomed to playing opponents who can keep pace on the boards, but the Pirates actually best them in rebounding margin by half a rebound per game.

Case for GW:

Home is certainly sweet for the Colonials, who are 13-3 at the Smith Center, while ECU has gone just 7-5 when playing on the road. Tsipis said that he requested the game be slated for Wednesday – the first day first-round games are played – so that GW fans will not have left for Raleigh, NC to see the men’s team in the NCAA tournament.

The Colonials and the Pirates have shared just one opponent during the regular season: George Mason. Both teams got wins, but GW showed more dominance, averaging a 21-point margin of victory in two games against the Patriots while, ECU topped them by just nine points at home.

Where the two teams have not shared opponents, GW has faced stronger teams. GW ranks 72nd nationwide in RPI while ECU is ranked 94th, according to the NCAA standings.

After a back injury in the A-10 tournament, the question of junior guard and All-Defensive team member Chakecia Miller is still up in the air. Tsipis said she is a gametime decision, but has looked significantly better, especially in the last two days.

Graduate student Brooke Wilson, who has been out since sustaining an injury against Fordham Feb. 8, will suit up for the game although still being doubtful.

After finding out the matchup late Monday night, Tsipis has done as much as he can to prepare his team for these Lady Pirates. Following their one practice before the game, he was still holding onto the scouting report.

“This becomes a one-game season now,” Tsipis said. “We want to be able to do things with it [the postseason berth], to take another step forward with our program and to be able to hold serve on our court as we’ve done most of the year.”

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

RICHMOND, VA – This game was about responding.

One of head coach Jonathan Tsipis’ favorite words all season, this Atlantic 10 semifinal matchup came down to who would respond: a Dayton team that had recently been upset by the Colonials or a GW team that was coming off its first quarterfinals win since 2008.

No. 1 seed Dayton would be the one to respond, returning the favor to the Colonials with a 89-68 victory to send GW on the short trip home back from Richmond, Va.

“The motivation came when they smacked us in the mouth last time we were there,” Dayton head coach Jim Jabir said. “They punched us right in the face and it hurt. We came out today and we wanted to return the favor.”

Despite the loss, the season is still alive for GW. Its NCAA tournament hopes are likely tapped out, but a decent seed in the WNIT appears in the future. It will mark their first playoff appearance since 2008.

The Colonials sit on the bench during the second half as they saw their A-10 Championship hopes fade away. | Hatchet Staff Photographer Josh Solomon

The Colonials sit on the bench during the second half as they saw their A-10 Championship hopes fade away. | Hatchet Staff Photographer Josh Solomon

In a season with so many different injuries and so many different scoring options, GW had to respond to another injury Saturday at the least fortunate time.

Junior Chakecia Miller, who suffered what appeared to be a lower back or hip injury in Friday’s quarterfinals game, had her abilities and minutes limited on the court. The guard may not have been one of GW’s top scoring options, but she was the All-Defensive centerpiece to the Colonials high-intensity defense.

She started the game because Tsipis said he wanted her to jump right in after warmups, but he elected to sit her for all but the first two minutes of the second half, saying her health was more important and knowing that they still have playoff basketball to come.

With the lacking of the normal staunch defensive pressure at the top of the key, GW’s biggest strong suit – rebounding – weakened as well. It was just the second conference game of the season in which GW was out rebounded, 52-44. Sophomore Jonquel Jones led the team with 13 rebounds, four offensive, and freshman Hannah Schaible had a double-double with 10 rebounds, six offensive.

But the Colonials could not collect rebounds when it mattered most.

Going into the locker room at halftime down 39-25, while shooting 18.2 percent on 6-33 shooting, the Colonials closed to single digits on three consecutive trips down the floor in the second half.

With just under 14 and a half minutes to play, graduate student Danni Jackson nailed a jumper, to cut it to 49-40. The Flyers then followed up missed a 3-pointer with two offensive rebounds to get the lead back to double digits.
Jackson went back down and drained another shot, but the Flyers answered right back and collected another two offensive rebounds and a basket.

Although a Nipe jumper would once again cut the lead to single digits, GW would never get that close the rest of the game.

“It’s just really frustrating, especially because we’re a rebounding team and we couldn’t do the thing we’re known to be best at,” said Jackson, who finished with a team-high 19 points, adding to her seven assists and zero turnovers.

The graduate student’s top-scoring effort came on the heels of a career game from Jones against Saint Joseph’s. Jones went from 30 points Friday to just six on 2-12 shooting. Tsipis said Jones made the right decisions on the court, but couldn’t get into a rhythm as her turnaround jumpers rattled in and out.

“Every time we ran something where Jonquel was involved in a cut, there was an element of physicality involved,” Tsipis said.

Jamir tipped his hat to his 6-foot-3 senior center, Cassie Sant, for frustrating Jones from the start. Jamir described Sant’s performance as “masterful” adding that it was her best defensive game of her career.

For Jackson and Nipe, who finished with a combined 11 points on 4-10 shooting, their goal in raising a banner came to an end. But they know they still have postseason basketball ahead of them.

“It was still a tough loss but there was no doubt in my mind that I had another game left so it wasn’t as much emotion, besides anger,” Jackson said.

If GW receives a high seed in the WNIT, the Colonials could be headed back to the Smith Center for postseason play. Seeding for the WNIT will be announced Mar. 17 with the opening round beginning on Mar. 19.

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