Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Tag

Chakecia Miller

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game against Bowie State during her senior season. Hatchet File Photo.

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game against Bowie State during her senior season. Hatchet File Photo.

Recent women’s basketball graduate Chakecia Miller has been named GW’s nominee for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award, the league announced Friday.

Miller, who ran the point as a senior during much of the Colonials’ record-breaking 2014-15 season, is one of 480 student-athletes nominated this year, the most in the history of the NCAA Woman of the Year program. The program honors academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from Divisions I, II and III.

The San Antonio, Texas native finished her collegiate career with 275 steals, good for 4th most in program history. She also finished her time at GW ranked 10th with 385 assists and tied for 7th with 125 games played.

Miller averaged 6.9 points, 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game during the Colonials’ 29-win season, en route to the team’s first A-10 title since 2003 and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.

The psychology major graduated with a 3.21 GPA and accumulated more than 50 hours of community service as a GW student. Miller was also a three-year member of GW’s Leadership Academy and a two-time Student-Athlete Advisory Council team representative.

Miller now advances to the Atlantic 10 Conference ballot for a chance to be selected to advance to the national ballot. The 2015 Woman of the Year will be announced at an awards dinner in Indianapolis on Oct. 18.

Sarah-Jo Lawrence, also a former guard for the women’s basketball team, was the last Colonial to advance to the national ballot in 2008.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

The Colonials react to the news that they will be a six seed in the NCAA tournament. GW lost its first NCAA Tournament game since 2008 Friday, falling to Gonzaga in Corvallis, Ore. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The Colonials react to the news that they will be a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. GW lost its first NCAA Tournament game since 2008 on Friday, falling to Gonzaga in Corvallis, Ore. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

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.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

The Colonials celebrate winning the Atlantic 10 regular season title on March 1. GW defeated Dayton Sunday to win the conference postseason title, the program's first since 2003. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The Colonials celebrate winning the Atlantic 10 regular season title on March 1. GW defeated Dayton on Sunday to win the conference postseason title, the program’s first since 2003. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

For the first time since 2003, No. 21 women’s basketball is the Atlantic 10 tournament champion.

GW defeated Dayton 75-62 for the third time this season to take the championship in Richmond. The win also gives the Colonials an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and sets the record for the most wins in a season in program history.

“They’re a very resilient bunch,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “When you get them all on the same page, it’s amazing the things you can accomplish.”

Junior forward Jonquel Jones led the game with 21 points and added six rebounds.

Sophomore Hannah Schaible led the game with 11 rebounds and tallied seven points. Sophomore Caira Washington recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Colonials went into the half down 37-29 and on the wrong side of a 17-11 Dayton run over the final 10:34.

GW came out of the locker room to score the first eight of 10 points in the second half and brought the game back even. Senior Chakecia Miller had six of those points.

The Colonials were able to build a double-digit lead after Jones scored seven-straight points with 10:47 left. The game did not get closer than eight points, as GW outscored Dayton 46-25 in the second half.

“The first thing we said after the half was that we didn’t want anything that we didn’t have to work for,” Jones said. “This game definitely made us work for it.”

The Colonials shot 42 percent from the field for the game and held Dayton to 36 percent. GW dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Flyers 56-43 and holding a 32-22 scoring advantage in the paint. The team also outscored Dayton 23-7 on the second chance.

One of the biggest differences for the Colonials between the first and second halves was turnovers. In the first half, GW turned over the ball 15 times, which led to 17 Dayton points. But then GW gave up zero points on only six turnovers in the second half.

“I felt that it would be a game of runs,” Tsipis said about the first half. “Every game this year against Dayton, we’ve had to battle for runs.”

Despite Jones missing significant time in the first half because of foul trouble, the Colonials still out-rebounded the Flyers 29-17. They also held a 18-14 scoring advantage in the paint and a 9-2 advantage on the second chance.

But Dayton shot 48 percent from the field, including 4-10 from beyond the arc. GW shot only 33 percent in the first half. Miller led GW in the first half with six points. Washington led all players with seven rebounds.

The Colonials now await their NCAA Tournament seed. The first round of the tournament begins March 20.

“Today is a great day to celebrate,” Jones said. “We just want to keep playing at this level going in the NCAA tournament.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Junior Jonquel Jones jumps for a layup in the Colonials 70-48 win over St. Bonaventure Sunday. Jones posted her fifteenth double-double of the season with 17 rebounds and 13 points. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior forward Jonquel Jones jumps for a layup in the Colonials’ 70-48 win over St. Bonaventure earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo by Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

RICHMOND – Some teams struggle in the second half after a back-and-forth battle to start off the game.

GW is not one of those teams.

The Colonials sent themselves to the Atlantic 10 finals with a 72-60 victory over Fordham in the Richmond Coliseum on Saturday.

The game was a remarkable parallel to GW’s win over Saint Louis on Friday.

Like Friday’s game, the Colonials had to battle tooth-and-nail with their A-10 foe for the entirety of the first half.

“They’re the defending champions,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “They’re not going to go out without a fight.”

In Saturday’s game, Fordham and GW exchanged the lead throughout the first half, marking the first time the Colonials have trailed in the young postseason.

And like the game against Saint Louis, GW came out of the gate hot in the second half. The Colonials scored 13 points in the first 5:21 of the half, putting the distance they needed between themselves and the Rams.

“We got into halftime and we felt some things had worked well,” Tsipis said. “You saw us when we’re at our best at the start of the second half.”

The Colonials had four players score in double digits. Junior forward Jonquel Jones and sophomore guard Hannah Schaible both had 16 points, and Jones pulled down 15 boards, her 19th double-double of the season.

Jones’ frontcourt mate Caira Washington had 10 points, and fellow starter Chakecia Miller rounded out the high scorers with 11.

A noticeable difference between the two games was the physicality of Saturday’s contest. If at first glance spectators thought it was closer to a football game than a basketball game, they’d be forgiven.

GW and Fordham combined for 47 fouls throughout the game, and players dove for every loose ball on the court.

“Both very physical teams, both with very strong, passionate basketball players,” Schaible said. “You’re playing for a lot, so you’ll do anything to have the outcome in your favor.”

The number of fouls ultimately benefitted GW. Fordham’s big, Samantha Clark, had to return to the bench in the first with three fouls. Before she sat, Clark scored nine in the first half.

Clark and another Fordham starter, Emily Tapio, would then both foul out late in the second half in quick succession, dampening Fordham’s chances of making a late push. Before they both fouled out, the two combined for 22 points.

Fordham’s fouling in the first half also sent GW to the line 16 times, and they made the Rams pay for it. They sank 13 of their first-half shots from the charity stripe compared to the four the Rams hit.

But one concern for the Colonials was Jones, who was seen limping off the court late in the game after her team had all but locked in the victory.

“This is an opportunity to play for a championship,” Tsipis said. “She’ll be ready to go tomorrow. Just precautionary, there was no need to have her in there in the end.”

They’ll be no rest for the weary, as the Colonials will look to capture their first conference championship since 2003 on Sunday. They will face the winner of Dayton and Duquesne’s semifinal game Saturday.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Caption. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The Colonials will move on to the A-10 tournament semifinals after defeating Saint Louis 77-63 on Friday. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

RICHMOND – It was a tale of two halves in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament for the women’s basketball team, which ultimately went on to defeat Saint Louis 77-63 on Friday.

The Colonials knew they wouldn’t have an easy path through the A-10 tournament after the Billikens knocked off VCU on Thursday – and it showed in the first half.

GW and Saint Louis, the only team to take down the Colonials during conference play, battled for the entire first frame.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was some extra motivation,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “Just because when you finish the regular season with one conference loss and you happen to be playing that same team, I’d be lying.”

The Colonials never gave up the lead, but they couldn’t put any real distance between themselves and their opponent in the first half. Saint Louis matched nearly every shot GW took, pulling even at one point midway through the half and never trailing by more than eight.

The X factor for the Colonials in the first was sophomore forward Caira Washington, who led the offense for much of that frame, scoring 14 points and pulling down seven boards. She would finish the game with 24 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double.

“[I was] just getting into the right spots,” Washington said. “They were bringing two to double [frontcourt mate Jonquel Jones], and I just make my moves as quickly as possible. That worked for me today.”

The game started to shift GW’s way almost as soon as the buzzer went off signaling the start of the second half.

Behind the strong game of GW’s two bigs, sophomore guard Hannah Schaible had a good game, tying Jones with 14 points and dishing out five assists.

“As the game moved along, more and more people contributed for us,” Tsipis said. “Hannah Schaible was really good, a huge three-pointer in the first half. As we closed the first half, it gave us the same mentality as we started the second half.”

Washington had two steals early in the second, which helped swing momentum in the direction of the Colonials. They didn’t take their foot off the gas, while Saint Louis, whose starters all played significant minutes in their win over VCU, began to slow down early.

GW would hold the lead by as much as 19 midway through the half, anchored by continued strong play from Washington and a good second half from junior forward Jones.

Jones met her season average of a double-double per game, with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and most of that came in the second frame.

Saint Louis tried to launch a late comeback, but with about 3:30 remaining, a thunderous block from Jones and a steal from senior guard Chakecia Miller a minute later were enough to slow down the Billikens.

Saint Louis would bring it as close as seven, but the Colonials had built up enough of a lead that they were able to weather the late run.

As time wound down, the Colonials kept enough distance to force Saint Louis to foul. GW twisted the knife from the charity stripe, hitting free throws late and 81 percent for the day.

Dominance on the boards was also crucial for the Colonials: They grabbed 49 boards – led by Jones’ 15 – compared to Saint Louis’ 30.

“We’re a team all year that’s taken a lot of pride about being really good defensively and making sure people don’t get extra opportunities,” Tsipis said. “Plus 19 on the rebounding margin is the first thing we look at.”

With the win, GW will move on to the semifinals Saturday to face the winner of the Fordham and Richmond game.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Senior guard Chakecia Miller dished out five assists with only one turnover in her final regular season game as a Colonial. GW toppled George Mason 80-45 Sunday to clinch the A-10 regular season championship. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Senior guard Chakecia Miller dished out five assists with only one turnover in her final regular season game as a Colonial. GW toppled George Mason 80-45 Sunday to clinch the A-10 regular season championship. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Having donned shirts celebrating a conference championship, each member of the women’s basketball team climbed a ladder on the Smith Center court and snipped off a piece of the hoop’s netting as a keepsake.

Bit by bit, they clipped apart the strings that, just minutes before, had been pushed side to side by a flurry of GW baskets in the team’s 80-45 blowout over George Mason Sunday that clinched the Colonials Atlantic 10 regular season championship.

“We were in an unbelievable attack mode from the very beginning,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “It’s one thing to score the ball, but so many of the opportunities we got were because of how aggressive and disciplined we were defensively and understood what we could be able to do with a game plan.”

Midway through the second half, sophomore guard Hannah Schaible ran down the court off the break for a layup. There wasn’t a defender in sight for the Patriots, who the Colonials then led by 41 points. Schaible led all players with a career-high 18 points in the game.

The guards, especially senior guard Chakecia Miller and senior Lauren Chase, controlled the flow of the match beginning in the first half where they combined for seven assists. GW continued to display depth from the perimeter, finishing with 20 assists on 33 made baskets.

“The focus on key players was important, when they go into double and triple team, J.J. and our low post players, just moving for the ball, moving to my teammates and helping them out, I was able to knock down shots,” Schaible said.

The Revolutionary Rivalry matchup against the 12th place Patriots may not have seemed like a gimme, something the team could overlook with the conference championship looming one week away, but GW was locked in from the start.

The Colonials jumped out to a 16 point lead, and the whole game was essentially a big GW run. The Colonials shot 9-13 in the first eight minutes of play, including two three-pointers from junior forward Jonquel Jones and sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw.

George Mason showed some signs of life late in the first half and notched a layup and two jump shots to pull within 20 points. But GW was able to kick the lead out to 45-22 after Miller knocked down a smooth jumper going into halftime. GW headed into the lockers shooting 55.9 percent from the field, achieving offensive success by getting out in transition and being “crisp on the ball”, according to head coach Jonathan Tsipis.

Fresh out of the locker room, Jones and Chase notched back-to-back layups, forcing the Patriots’ head coach to call a timeout. Even with an extra moment to refocus, George Mason continued to scramble, allowing GW to take advantage of defensive holes in the paint and extend the lead to 59-24 after an 8-0 run.

Cranshaw soared with a three-pointer to push GW’s lead to 67-28. Accumulating 11 fast break points, GW proved it could keep the Patriots’ defense on it’s toes with guards running coast to coast and dishing out accurate entry passes.

The Colonials only coughed the ball up 11 times and were able to notch 27 points off of 23 George Mason turnovers.

The Colonials also finished with 26 bench points to the Patriots’ 19, including three-pointers from freshman guard Mia Farmer and junior guard Aaliyah Brown in the final five minutes of play, and as the final buzzer sounded the Colonials had officially locked the best record in the Conference over last year’s regular season champions Dayton.

“To win the championship outright was something we had talked about over the last week, Tsipis said.”We had the opportunity to control our own destiny.”

With a first and second round bye, the Colonials will compete in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Richmond on Friday. GW will face the winner of the Nos. 8 and 9 seed game at 11 a.m.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Senior guard Lauren Chase reels in the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored 16 points and dished out five assists as the Colonials took control in overtime at Richmond Thursday to win 81-69. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Senior guard Lauren Chase reels in the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored 16 points and dished out five assists as the Colonials took control in overtime at Richmond Thursday to win 81-69. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

The Colonials held a 65-64 lead with 9.7 seconds remaining in the second half when senior Chakecia Miller was fouled. Miller hit both of her free throws to bring the lead back to 67-64, but Richmond’s Janelle Hubbard hit a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 67 and send it to overtime.

“We went right back into the huddle pretty energized,” said junior Jonquel Jones of the team’s feeling after the second half. “They celebrated pretty early like they had won but we knew there was still a lot of game left to play.”

GW then came out and controlled the overtime period from start to finish. The team scored the period’s first 11 points over the first four and a half minutes to build a lead they would not relinquish. GW outscored the Spiders 14-2 in overtime to win 81-69 Thursday.

“The best part of the overtime was that we were the aggressors for the whole five minutes,” said head coach Jonathan Tsipis.

The win clinched at least a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season championship and gave GW (24-4, 14-1) its first regular season championship since 2008 and the first seed in the A-10 tournament.

Sophomore Caira Washington led the Colonials with 17 points, and added eight rebounds. Senior Lauren Chase scored 16 points and tallied five assists. The Colonials had a total of four players score in double digits. Jones recorded her 17th double-double of the year with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

The Colonials shot 50 percent from the field, including 4 for 5 in overtime. They also dominated in the post, outrebounding the Spiders 45-26 and holding a 42-30 scoring advantage in the paint. GW also held a 19-9 scoring advantage on second chance points, but was outscored 25-11 off turnovers.

GW went into the half leading the game 33-29. Sophomore Shannon Cranshaw led the game with eight points and hit two three pointers in the first 20 minutes of the game. Jones led the game with eight rebounds and added four points.

Unlike the game as a whole, GW only held a slight advantage on the glass in the first half (14-13). However, they still held a 20-14 scoring advantage in the paint, but were outscored 4-3 on the second chance.

“In the first half, we didn’t rebound the ball the way we’re capable of,” Tsipis said. “I thought we did a much better job in the second half.”

The Colonials now head into their season finale with a chance to take the A-10 regular season title outright with a win or Dayton loss. They face George Mason at home on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“It gives us the opportunity to give us a little advantage,” said Jones of getting the top seed in the tournament. “It was a hard fought season and we’re excited to come out and get that number one seed.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Chakecia Miller looks to pass a ball during GW's win over Fordham. Miller had 10 points and 5 assists during the game. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Chakecia Miller looks to pass a ball during GW’s win over Fordham. Miller had 10 points and five assists during the game Saturday. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet Staff writer Alex Kist.

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Junior Jonquel Jones receives the ball outside the paint in GW's last home game against Duquesne. Jones contributed a game-high 16 rebounds in GW's 67-48 win over La Salle on Saturday. The Colonials tallied 63 boards in the game, the most since 2008. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.

Junior Jonquel Jones receives the ball outside the paint in GW’s last home game against Duquesne. Jones contributed a game-high 16 rebounds in GW’s 67-48 win over La Salle on Saturday. The Colonials tallied 63 boards in the game, the most since 2008. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Despite shooting just 27.5 percent from the field, the Colonials’ defense was able to create turnovers and dominate the glass to help earn GW a 67-48 victory at La Salle on Saturday afternoon.

Junior forward Jonquel Jones notched her seventh double-double of the season with a team-high 12 points and 16 rebounds, followed closely by freshman Kelli Prange, who added 11 points and eight rebounds.

Although La Salle was physical down low early in the first half, GW was patient and regained its footing in the paint to lead by as much as 20 points in the second. After a three from freshman Mia Farmer closed out the game, the Colonials had secured their 16th consecutive win.

“[La Salle] wasn’t really doing anything special. I just felt like our shots weren’t dropping,” Jones said. “The shots that we took in the first half were the same shots that we always take, so we needed to rely on our defense.”

To open the first frame, GW ran a man defense to test La Salle’s speed. The Explorers started with a strong tempo and were within a possession six minutes into the game, but were not able to compete against the Colonials’ pressure on defense. GW finished with 14 steals and an obscene 63 rebounds, the most in a game since 2008, with the frontcourt of Jones, sophomore Caira Washington and Prange leading the pack with a combined 32 boards.

Even when shots were not falling in the their favor, the Colonials made sure they got extra chances. The Explorers struggled to get set in the half court without coughing up the ball, which helped GW accumulate 18 points off turnovers.

“I think we had a really good awareness in the press and in the half-court defense, [we knew] where our help had to come from,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “People really understood their assignments.”

Eventually the ball did start to roll for the Colonials. As La Salle’s posts failed to be alert and ready to receive the ball, the Colonials were able to capitalize on the Explorers’ turnovers and close out the half up 35-20. The Explorers finished the game with 24 giveaways after averaging only 15 per game on the season. They had 17 at halftime.

During the break, Tsipis told his team to concentrate on getting more offensive rebounds to attain second-chance points, as his team did not execute in transition the way that he wanted them to in the first.

The Colonials listened, coming out of the break with a full-court press. Riding the momentum, back-to-back makes by Jones and sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw forced La Salle to call a timeout with GW up by 19.

Despite being 2-8 on the season when they are trailing at the half, the Explorers began gaining momentum with three-point shooting in the second and were able close the gap to 41-31. But La Salle’s drive was short lived as players began rushing their opportunities to ultimately shoot just 25.8 percent after halftime.

A few plays later, GW’s posts spread the floor, allowing freshman guard Brianna Cummings to drive the lane. She was fouled on the way in, knocked down two shots from the line and propelled GW back to a strong, 47-31 advantage that kept growing.

With a week of practice before GW’s next contest, Tsipis said his team will work on meshing offensive execution with perimeter defense and rebounding to prepare for the upcoming schedule.

“You only get one bye during the A-10 season, and I think we spend time during the first part of the week on conditioning and getting lifts in, but its just as important that we get a mental break,” Tsipis said.

The Colonials will return to action Saturday to take on George Mason in Fairfax, Va. at 2 p.m.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Senior guard Lauren Chase was part of a core group of perimeter defenders that held Duquesne to its lowest shooting percentage on 3-pointers since the A-10 tournament last year. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.

Senior guard Lauren Chase was part of a core group of perimeter defenders that held Duquesne to its lowest shooting percentage on 3-pointers since the A-10 tournament last year. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.


This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The leading scorer for the Dukes sank a 3-pointer from the top of key, draining it over the outstretched hand of Jonquel Jones.

Nothing too out of the norm for Duquesne – the Atlantic 10’s top 3-point shooting team – but it was anything but the usual Wednesday night in the Smith Center as the Colonials locked down.

“We turned it up another level today,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said of his defense.

Star guard April Robinson made her team’s first trey of the game with 5:30 to play, down 70-44. The Colonials, now ranked nationally at No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, were well on their way to their 15th straight win. Robinson hit one more in the final minutes, irrelevant in the 83-56 blowout.

The Dukes finished 2-13 from behind the line, good for 15.4 percent. Heading into the game, Duquesne was first in the conference with a 36.3 3-point field goal percentage, second in scoring offense at 74.9 points per game and near the top of many of the league’s rebounding and assists numbers. An all around good offensive team.

Their problem? They ran into a GW team that is not only tied for first with the Duke Blue Devils for the best rebounding margin in the nation, but a Colonials crew that put some defensive lapses on the road behind them and turned them into critical points at home.

Before heading out on a two-game road trip to Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Tsipis had a long talk with his players about where they were in the league defensively. But in truth it was the Colonials offense that was showcased on the trip and the team leaned on scoring potency instead of stopping their opposition.

That changed back in the Smith Center, as depth and speed caused trouble for Duquesne in the Smith Center. Guards like sophomores Hannah Schaible and Shannon Cranshaw, senior Chakecia Miller and senior Lauren Chase helped extend the GW defense. The Dukes attempted seven threes in the first half, but rarely with an open look.

“All of a sudden to know, we have the depth right now where we can play people for three and a half to four minute spurts and they can play as hard as possible and as locked in, and we’re going to get them a break,” Tsipis said. “And to be able to do that on the defensive end and then the ability to get out and run in transition.”

Schaible credited “intelligent play,” and an in depth scouting report from assistant coach Bill Ferrara shaped a diligent defense.

“Whether it’s a shooter or a driver, we were set and basically knew what we had to do to keep them at bay and win the game,” Jones said, who finished with 22 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks.

Every player on the court for Duquesne had an individual scouting report, one that prompted players to go under the screen on some ball screens and over on others, like with Robinson.

“We focused a lot on chasing them off the 3-point line so that they can’t even get those shots up,” Schaible said.

Chasing was the keyword, one that Tsipis used as well. The man to man defense spread into a full court zone for long stretches in the first half, creating turnovers and forcing shooters into an unnatural spot in the half court. Guards would often extend out to the 3-point line when defending the basket.

The last time Duquesne finished with such a low 3-point field goal percentage was against Fordham last year in the A-10 tournament, hitting 1-11 then. GW has had one of the top 3-point field defenses all season long. They are second in the conference, allowing opponents just a 26 percent accuracy rate on the three.

Though players like Jones get much of the credit for the number in front of GW’s name, all 14 Colonials on the active roster got a piece of the action, able to defend the target now on their back.

“You saw today there was a tremendous amount of pride that we put ourselves in position to be successful,” Tsipis said. “One through 14, they all knew exactly what those kids could do. It’s one thing to know, it’s a second to carry it out.

  • Permalink
  • Comments