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Chakecia Miller

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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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9:11 p.m.

Women’s basketball begins journey to WNIT crown

by admin

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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Saturday, March 8, 2014 4:30 p.m.

Women’s basketball bounced by Dayton in A-10 semis

by admin

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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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

GW wasn’t the only one that escaped with a win in its quarterfinal matchup. Just minutes before the Colonials stepped onto the court to warm up, No. 1 seeded Dayton was cooling down.

The Flyers survived a one-point victory over the eighth-seeded VCU Rams, after stealing the ball with six seconds left in a tied game and laying it up. Now, GW will have to take on the regular-season champions a week after defeating them at Smith Center, 88-79.

More than a semifinal game:

The goal for the Colonials all season has been to win the A-10 championship and raise a banner. That obviously requires them to defeat Dayton first, but a second win over the conference’s top team could also be enough in itself to clinch a NCAA tournament bid.

“Whatever happens tomorrow night, we’re either going to have a chance to play for an NCAA tournament bid or I know my kids will go fighting all the way until the final buzzer goes off,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives past a Dayton defender in GW's 88-79 upset. Caitlin Harrington | Hatchet Photographer

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson drives past a Dayton defender in GW’s 88-79 upset. Caitlin Harrington | Hatchet Photographer

The women’s A-10 conference typically gets two to three tickets to the Big Dance, with it being two the last two years. The winner of the conference championship is an automatic bid and with its 22-6 record, Dayton is essentially a lock.

If GW can defeat the Flyers, but loses in the finals, the A-10 may find itself with three bids: Dayton, GW and the tournament winner.

As of March 4, ESPN’s Bracketologist Charlie Creme had the A-10 pegged with two bids: Dayton as a six-seed and Saint Joseph’s as a nine-seed. After GW’s win, the Hawks may very well be knocked out from the NCAA tournament.

The matchup:

GW and Dayton split the season series, with the Colonials earning the most recent upset. That game was senior day at the Smith Center.

GW, particularly graduate students Megan Nipe and Danni Jackson, rallied around the homecourt crowd. Down in Richmond, no sense of that home court advantage will be behind their backs.

The Colonials were without graduate student Brooke Wilson for the regular season finale, and tomorrow morning, they may additionally have to play without junior Chakecia Miller. The All-Defensive team guard appeared to hurt her back in the last five minutes of regulation against Saint Joe’s.

“The kids are so close, they wanted to be able to bring that home,” Tsipis said. “It was great that she could still enjoy that moment and be on the bench. I know she’s hurt, but we’ll see.”

Without Miller, who helped keep A-10 player of the year – junior Andrea Hoover – in check, the Colonials will have to dig further into their bench and ask for more minutes from their starters. It will be key for freshmen Caira Washington and Hannah Schaible to avoid foul trouble. Sophomore Alexis Chandler, after a strong 15 minutes in the quarterfinals, will likely see even more minutes, regardless if Miller plays.

In the upset win, GW rode the strength of the its rebounding, winning the battle on the boards, 49-34. They kept one of the top free-throw shooting teams in the country off the line, also winning the advantage at the line, 15-5.

It’s likely Dayton will work hard to stop GW’s bigs this time around, meaning more open shots for Jackson and Nipe. Perhaps freshman Shannon Cranshaw will display her 3-point shooting abilities on the big stage – just a year removed from winning a state title in Florida.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis capped off practice Tuesday with the announcement to his team that four Colonials had received Atlantic 10 honors for the season.

Freshman Caira Washington headlined the group as A-10 Rookie of the Year, while sophomore Jonquel Jones made the second team. Washington and graduate student Danni Jackson earned spots on the third team and junior Chakecia Miller earned a place on the all-defensive team, the league announced Tuesday.

GW leads the A-10 with three players earning all-conference honors, after finishing its first winning season since 2009.

Washington wouldn’t admit that she saw the award coming, but did say that after her third Rookie of the Week award in February – in which she averaged 19.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in wins over VCU and Massachusetts – she started to think of herself as in the running.

Freshman Caira Washington goes up for a shot earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Freshman Caira Washington goes up for a shot earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Washington’s 57 percent field-goal shooting and nearly four offensive rebounds per game are the best in the A-10. The Brandywine, Md. native has posted ten double-doubles this season, the most on the team, averaging 11.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

She is the tenth Colonials to ever be named A-10 Rookie of the Year, the first since Kimberly Beck back in 2005, as well as the first freshman to be named to an all-conference team since Erica Lawrence earned third-team honors in 2000.

“I’m excited for Caira,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “One of the things I’ve seen in her is when she’s had a bad game she’s always responded.”

Jones tied Washington with 10 double-doubles, though the Clemson transfer has played just 18 games to Washington’s 29. The two have worked off and complimented each other all season long, evident in their season-ending honors.

Sophomore forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Sophomore forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

“A lot of our post to post is very natural and is fun,” Washington said. “Ball handling, shooting – I really look up to her in all aspects as a player.”

Joining the frontcourt duo is their point guard, Jackson. Although GW’s two bigs are being celebrated in their inaugural seasons as Colonials, for Jackson, the recognition marks a breakthrough into the upper echelon of league players after four years as an honorable mention.

Graduate Student Danni Jackson dribbles in a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Graduate Student Danni Jackson dribbles in a win earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

The 5-foot-2 guard was not only third in the conference with 5.9 assists per game, but also climbed into the GW record books as the second Colonial ever with 1,000 career points and 500 career assists.

Absent from the list of accolades was another Colonial who scored her 1,000th career point this season: graduate student Megan Nipe. Tsipis said he avidly argued for her as 6th Woman of the Year on the phone with fellow A-10 coaches.

Miller rounded out the all-conference award recipients Tuesday as an all-defensive team selection. Miller was tapped as a preseason all-defensive team member and has played stellar defense for GW all season, most recently aiding in shutting down A-10 Player of the Year, Dayton’s Andrea Hoover.

Junior guard Chakecia Miller battles a defender earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Junior guard Chakecia Miller battles a defender earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

“I was really excited to tell the whole team,” Tsipis said about the awards. “It was the last thing I told the team.”

GW will await to find out its opponent for the upcoming A-10 Championship quarterfinals matchup this weekend.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The pressure defense wasn’t awake, the offensive sets weren’t crisp and the Colonials committed seven turnovers over the first seven minutes of the game.

Then head coach Jonathan Tsipis called a timeout.

With graduate student Danni Jackson and sophomore Jonquel Jones on the bench in early foul trouble, GW responded under the leadership of junior Chakecia Miller. They would go on a 20-5 run to close the half.

Up against the worst team in the league – Massachusetts – who is still winless in conference play, GW had some leeway with their slow start Saturday. By the afternoon, the Colonials would go onto win 78-54.

“I just think at the beginning of the game, especially playing a team the second time, there’s always a little bit more of a feeling it out process,” Tsipis said. “I just think that as well as we responded initially off the foul trouble on Thursday night, that we didn’t do the same today.”

Fresh off a near-20 point win against VCU Thursday, the Colonials’ offense stuttered with early foul trouble. Sophomore Jonquel Jones would never get into the game, statically, but freshman Caira Washington picked up the slack. She would finish the day with 25 points and 16 rebounds.

Miller and Jackson found their 6-foot-2 freshman in the post with good positioning. Other times, Washington was cleaning up the offensive glass herself, finishing with six offensive boards. The Colonials would go onto outrebound the Minutewomen 58-40 and outscore them 18-9 on second chance points.

“[I] Just pulled them together and told them, ‘Let’s execute on offense and then defense will come much easier,’” Washington said.

It was necessary for Washington to lead the team today, especially down low, as the rest of the offense looked out of rhythm. Miller would help get her involved by pushing the pace and driving into the lane to open up the floor.

“I think it’s just the attack mentality that I try to have each and every game. When our team’s not at our best I try to keep attacking, try to keep finding the open player and keep pushing the ball,” said Miller, who would finish with 11 points and three assists with her family in the stands.

Guard play became a strong suit for GW by game’s end, especially their rebounding, said Tsipis, who was pleased that it wasn’t only his bigs rebounding.

But perhaps a bigger point of emphasis was the sheer production from the bench: 31 combined points.

Sophomores Alexis Chandler, Delacy Anderson and Aliyah Brown played vital minutes in the first half and later picked up a major amount of playing time down the stretch. Though struggling at times, they looked to get up their own shots. By the end of the game, every Colonial who checked in registered a basket.

Despite a slow start offensively, the defense – switching up its looks throughout the game – was able to limit the damage from Massachusetts’ main bruisers.

Minutewomen sharpshooter, junior Emily Mital, was stifled from 3-point land. Mital went 0-4 from behind the arc, an even better performance for the GW defense that held her to two made threes last time out. It’s an especially good sign as GW will begin facing teams for a second and third time this season.

“The team knows that for 40 minutes we didn’t do that tonight but I think the important part is we held serve at home, we go into the bye week knowing that we have things to work on fort these last three conference games,” Tsipis said.

Danni Jackson: 500 career assists

Jackson recorded her 500th career assist Saturday on a dish to Jones early in the second half. In three consecutive possessions, the graduate student found her two bigs, Washington with back-to-back layups, and then a jumper from Jones.

Graduate Student Danni Jackson dribbles in Thursday's win against VCU. The point guard recorded her 500th assist Saturday. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Graduate Student Danni Jackson dribbles in Thursday’s win against VCU. The point guard recorded her 500th assist Saturday. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The point guard would finish with eight assists and one turnover on the day. Heading into the game, Jackson was third in the A-10 in assists, with 5.7 dimes per game and third in assist to turnover ratio, at +1.8.

This accomplishment makes Jackson only the second GW player to record over 1,000 points and 500 assists. She joins Kimberly Beck (’08) in that category and moves up to fourth all time in assists.

“Getting an assist is really what I’m in the game for – getting my teammates involved. So it wasn’t anything new, but I’m happy to get the new accolades,” Jackson said.

Last week she was selected as one of 50 women’s basketball players to the 12th annual WBCA “So You Want to Be A Coach.” Jackson could be seen, even when sitting on the bench the last two games in foul trouble, directing her teammates out on the floor.

“It’s so funny because I can remember sitting in this very seat the day I took the job and having a discussion with her and kind of challenging her that I knew she had that extra year and her thoughts,” Tsipis said. “She’s done it since day one but when you’re five-foot-“two” you have to play with this giant chip on your shoulder.”

Jackson and the Colonials will head on the road for two straight games, the first being a 12 noon matchup with Richmond next Saturday.

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Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 9:13 p.m.

Preview: Women’s basketball vs. UMass

by admin

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

Who: GW (17-8, 8-4) vs. Massachusetts (3-22, 0-11)
When: Saturday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m.
Where: Smith Center

Case for UMass:

Maybe a blowout loss to George Mason – then winless in conference play – will serve as a wakeup call for the Minutewomen. Maybe a second meeting with the Colonials in a little over two weeks will serve as proper preparation. Maybe, but unlikely.

Last time out on their home court, UMass fell to GW 89-76. It was an even bigger win for GW than the score indicated, but the Minutewomen did outscore the Colonials 46-38 in the second half – a potential confidence booster.

In that loss to GW, junior Emily Mital went 2-8 from behind the arc as the team went a combined 3-15. As one of the top three-point shooters in the A-10, expect Mital to keep shooting and have a better performance this time around. The guard is shooting it at 39.2 percent, with 47 made treys this year.

The Colonials also held team-leading scorer, junior Kim Pierre-Louis, to just eight points on 4-8 shooting from the field. But Pierre-Louis was in foul trouble all night and was limited to only 15 minutes of gameplay. With more playing time this time around, expect her to get much closer to the 13.4 points that she is averaging per game.

Bottom line, though: UMass is still looking for its first Atlantic 10 in, while GW will be going for its ninth.

Case for GW:

The biggest storyline coming into Saturday’s game is graduate student Danni Jackson. The point guard sits at 497 career assists, fourth all-time in GW history. Three more dimes and she will have reached 500 career assists and over 1,000 career points. Jackson would be only the second Colonial to achieve this mark, joining fellow women’s basketball great, Kimberly Beck (’08).

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson needs just three assists Saturday to eclipse the 500 career-assist mark. Hatchet FIle Photo

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson needs just three assists Saturday to eclipse the 500 career-assist mark. Hatchet FIle Photo

The Colonials should have no trouble in their second time around against the Minutewoman. They played their best man-to-man defense of the year against VCU Thursday night, according to Tsipis, and their offense looked as smooth as it has been in weeks. Look for sophomore Jonquel Jones and freshman Caira Washington to fill up the stat sheet once again.

Last time out against Massachusetts, junior Chakecia Miller had a solid game: 14 points and six assists in a team-leading 30 minutes. UMass could find its hands full again, as the junior guard and defensive specialist has come into her own on the offensive side of the ball.

With four regular season games remaining, the Colonials could use a boost from sophomores Alexis Chandler, Aliyah Brown or Dalacy Anderson. Bench production will be important as GW heads into games against a Richmond team that has beaten conference leaders Fordham, St. Bonaventure and Dayton.

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Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 7:04 p.m.

Cooper’s 32 points lead La Salle over Colonials

by admin

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

With just over a minute left to play and his team finally down by single digits, women’s basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis wanted a timeout.

He screamed and jumped up and down, trying to get the referees’ attention, but to no avail. La Salle would inbound the ball, graduate student Danni Jackson would get called for her fifth, and final, foul and the Explorers would be able to ice the game with free throws.

The end result: a 77-68 loss – the second straight home defeat for the Colonials, bringing them to 4-3 in conference play.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis tries to motivate his team during its 77-68 loss to La Salle Saturday. Jordan Leon | Hatchet Photographer

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis tries to motivate his team during its 77-68 loss to La Salle Saturday. Jordan Leon | Hatchet Photographer

The achilles heel for the Colonials Saturday: Explorers’ junior Alicia Cropper. The guard was unstoppable all game long, exploding for 32 points off 11-18 shooting. Tsipis said he regretted allowing her to get into a rhythm “early on,” especially from three-point range, where she went 5-7.

“We gave up 77 points to a team that had been averaging in the 50s and that started with the confidence we gave them in the first eight minutes of the game,” Tsipis said.

After six lead changes in the second half, La Salle took the lead for good at the six-and-a-half minute mark. The Colonials had been held scoreless from the field for nearly six minutes in the second half. They picked up their defensive intensity, forcing turnovers, but couldn’t convert them into points, as the ball rimmed in-and-out on fast break opportunities.

A string of strong defensive plays from GW’s full court press finally ignited the offense, and with a floater from Jackson with 6:39 to go, the Colonials had pulled within one. It would force a La Salle timeout.

“Defensively I felt like in the second half for about a seven or eight minute stretch we were pretty locked in. And the problem was that was about it for 40 minutes today,” Tsipis said.

The surprisingly-hot Explorers offense, though, would eventually be too much to overcome. La Salle, a team that averages less than 60 ppg, shot nearly 52 percent from the field and an incredible 80 percent from three-point range to stun GW.

“We definitely could’ve stopped them, it’s more so on us on how we communicated and rotated during the game,” junior guard Chakecia Miller said.

Miller had a strong game, leading the Colonials in scoring with 14 points and adding four assists. While her team looked hapless at times, Miller played with determination and found ways to get inside and score.

“If I saw a lane, if it was open, I took it and if I saw my teammates I tried to find them the best that they could,” Miller said.

Sophomore Jonquel Jones returned after missing the Colonials last game with a right foot injury, but would score just four points over 16 minutes of playing time, due to early foul trouble.

Graduate student Megan Nipe appeared to be more comfortable since coming back off a knee injury. She would reach double figures for the first time since her return, putting up 12 points in 20 minutes of action.

Despite the late game antics and frustration, Tsipis would ultimately sum up his team’s loss pretty bluntly.

“When they really needed it, when we got it to one, they were just faster to the loose balls, they were getting to the 50-50 balls, they turned the offensive rebounds,” Tsipis said.

The Colonials will look to bounce back on the road against Massachusetts at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

The women’s basketball team’s eight-game win streak came to an end Thursday with a sobering 90-69 loss to Atlantic 10-leading Dayton.

Thirteen Dayton three-pointers were the kiss of death for the Colonials, who fell to 3-1 in conference play with the loss, struggling all night to contain the Flyers from outside.

Sophomore Jonquel Jones fights off a defender earlier this season. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Sophomore Jonquel Jones fights off a defender earlier this season. Cameron Lancaster | Assistant Photo Editor

“We gave them confidence early from the three-point line,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “I didn’t think we were in the same attack mode, especially in the first half as we have been.”

GW stuck with a 2-3 zone defense for much of the game, giving Dayton some potential holes for easy looks from downtown. It was a gamble Tsipis took to limit the Flyers’ presence in the paint, but one that ultimately fell flat.

The Colonials also struggled to keep up in transition, spending much of the game running after the numbers on the backs of Dayton jerseys. Controlling the game in transition helped Dayton shoot nearly 49 percent from the field, with 26 points coming off the fast break.

“We weren’t able to slow down their transition buckets. That was definitely something that we felt if it went better, the game could’ve gone in a different direction,” sophomore Jonquel Jones said.

Jones was a welcome bright spot for GW, falling one point shy of her career high with 20, while adding 13 boards. She dominated the inside for the Colonials, helping GW outscore Dayton 36-32 in the paint.

For a moment early in the second half, the Colonials got into a groove. Chakecia Miller stole the ball from Cassie Sant and fed Hannah Schaible for a layup. Schaible got a steal of her own and returned the favor, hitting Miller for an open layup. Dayton, though, took a time-out and the groove was gone.

With about 16 minutes to go, after a Brooke Wilson putback cut the Dayton lead to seven, the Colonials turned into a pumpkin and Dayton slowly pulled away over the remainder of the game.

The turnovers that had fueled GW’s run were woefully absent the rest of the game – Dayton lost the ball a total 14 times compared to GW’s 20.

Graduate student Megan Nipe, wearing a sleeve on her right knee, saw her first minutes since Christmas, scoring seven points on 3-5 shooting, but exited the game limping after diving for a loose ball.

“She’s fine. She’s fine,” Tsipis said. “There’s nothing that I think is going to linger as far as effects for Saturday.”

Despite the big loss, Jones says that she “definitely” still views the team as “one of the powerhouses” in the A-10.

“One loss doesn’t change the fact that we’re a tough team,” she said.

The Colonials won’t have much time to think about the loss, as they travel to George Mason on Saturday.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

They shot 37.7 percent from the field, were in foul trouble all game, but the women’s basketball team opened the second half on an 8-0 run and used some defensive intensity to run away with a 72-56 victory over George Mason.

It marked GW’s (10-4, 1-0) sixth straight win and its first victory in Atlantic 10 conference play.

Graduate student Danni Jackson led the Colonials over George Mason with 16 points and. Hatchet File Photo

Graduate student Danni Jackson led the Colonials over George Mason with 16 points and nine assists. Hatchet File Photo

“By no means were we dominant. There were definitely a lot of things for us to work on,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “But I just believe that in A-10 play, you got to find ways when you’re not at your best offensively, and I think that’s with your defense and rebounding.”

In the first basketball meeting of the Revolutionary Rivalry, the Patriots found success early due to an over aggressive Colonials team. The Patriots started shooting in the bonus with over 12 minutes to play in the first half. Sophomore forward Jonquel Jones had just two fouls in the first four minutes of play.

But GW held George Mason (6-8, 0-1) to 33.3 percent shooting, marked by and 8-32 effort in the second half. The Colonials defensive pressure frustrated the strong Patriots backcourt, and the bigs dominated the glass, out rebounding George Mason 54-39.

Without leading scorer Megan Nipe out with a knee injury for her third straight game, and Jones in foul trouble most of the game, graduate student Danni Jackson led her team once again. She made just four of her 21 shots, but still put up 16 points, while adding nine assists to keep up the energy and pace of the Colonials

“It only feels a little different because this is my last season. I think I’m playing with a little more urgency in the previous years,” Jackson said. “I’m really hungry for these last couple of wins.”

The scoring attack was fairly balanced alongside Jackson, with Chakecia Miller and freshmen Caira Washington and Hannah Schaible all in double figures. Washington picked up a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Miller and Schaible added 13 and 12, respectively.

The Colonials were especially efficient at hitting shots when when they needed a basket to squander a potential Mason run.

With the score tied and 6:21 to go in the first half, head coach Jonathan Tsipis called a timeout after his defense allowed the Patriots top player, sophomore Janaa Pickard, who had a team-high 15 points, to make an open jumper near the free throw line.

About a minute later, Miller nailed a jumper assisted by graduate student Danni Jackson that sparked a 10-5 run to close out the half.

With 11:43 to go in the second half, Jackson was fouled driving down the lane, but knocked down the shot, and completed the three-point play at the line. That gave GW a 50-36 lead, ended a 6-0 Patriots 6-0 and put GMU’s leading scorer, Taylor Brown to the bench with her fourth person. Brown would finish with 13 points on the day.

“I think one thing we did really well in the first half was we kept them off the glass and I just think collectively we did a good job team-defense wise on Taylor Brown. She had three shots at the end, but she was stuck at six for a long time,” Tsipis said.

The Colonials won the battle on the offensive boards, picking up a total of 22, highlighted by Washington’s seven. This led to 28 points in the paint and 20 second-chance points for GW. The rebound total for the Colonials was a big uptick at 53, compared to their 41.5 average heading into the game.

A key presence for the Colonials came from a fully healthy graduate student Brooke Wilson, who has been battling knee problems for most of the season. She scored just four points, but brought down 10 rebounds and blocked two shots. Her defensive presence limited the attack of George Mason’s big Janna Pickard and caused trouble for the driving guards of Taylor Brown and Sandra Ngoie.

Wilson, who is in her sixth year with the team, has seen her fair share of games against the Patriots. The last four matches were won by the home team and Thursday night, the trend held, but Wilson could see a change.

“We’re definitely more dominant, especially under coach Tsipis and with his system.”

GW will go onto play defending A-10 champion Saint Joseph’s, Sunday afternoon. It will be their first road game since a loss to Georgetown in early December.

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