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GW women’s basketball

After watching a halftime lead slip away against No. 9 Maryland on Saturday, GW’s game against Grambling State was never in question: The Colonials cruised to an easy victory over Grambling State, beating the Tigers 89-51.

The Colonials rode a strong shooting game to the win, making nearly 55 percent of their field-goal attempts and finishing with four players scoring in double digits.

The game plan was familiar: GW’s forwards led the team for most of the game. Freshman Kelli Prange and sophomore Caira Washington dominated the paint, using a size advantage to overpower Grambling State. Forty of the Colonials’ points came from inside the paint, and GW out-rebounded the Tigers 56-27.

Freshman forward Caira Washington jumps for a lay up in GW's 89-51 win over Grambling State on Monday afternoon. Washington recorded her second double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Freshman forward Caira Washington jumps for a layup in GW’s 89-51 win over Grambling State on Monday. Washington recorded her second double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Prange, who tied Grambling State’s Yosha Watson for a game-high 23 points, tied sophomore Shannon Cranshaw for the most minutes off the bench for GW, continuing to show confidence as a role player in the offense.

“As far as 15 feet and out, [Prange is] shooting the best percentage of anybody on our team right now, and there’s no hesitation,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “Some freshmen, sometimes you have to beg and plead for them to shoot. I don’t have to tell Kelly Prange to take a shot. She’s ready to shoot it.”

Continuing her streak of strong games, Washington earned her second double-double in a row, with 17 points and 13 rebounds, five of them offensive. She was also 5-6 from the free throw line.

“To see Caira get on the offensive glass, to see Caira get to the line and be able to finish at the line, you can see that confidence rising in her,” Tsipis said.

Forward Jonquel Jones was a rebound short of a double-double herself, scoring 10 points.

GW’s bench also saw significant playing time. Besides Prange’s presence in the post, junior Aaliyah Brown was deadly from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting three of three in the first and scoring 11 points overall. GW hit over 35 percent of their shots from downtown.

The one concern for the Colonials was turnovers. Like their game against Maryland, GW struggled to hold onto the ball, with 26 turnovers on the game, though those missteps often were the flipside of a strong passing game. GW dished out a season-high 26 assists.

“We’ve got to help each other,” Tsipis said. “At times tonight, when the extra pass was contagious, all of a sudden we tried to make the extra pass to the extra pass when it was not necessarily there.”

Looking ahead, the Colonials will spend Thanksgiving in the Bahamas competing in the Junaknoo Jam. Washington said she hopes the team learns from its play against Grambling State before the tournament.

“It wasn’t the best win. We could’ve played much better and cleaned up a bunch of turnovers,” she said. “When we go to the Bahamas, we have to be much stronger and much more physical.”

Tsipis added that the way GW mixed up defenses in the win over Grambling would be helpful preparation for the upcoming tournament.

The Colonials’ first game in the Bahamas will be Friday, Nov. 28 against North Carolina State, which is 4-0 on the season.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Peter Hoegler.

For the second day in a row, a GW basketball team saw a halftime lead over a top-10 team slip away as the opposition showed its true colors.

The Colonials still made a game of it against a squad fresh off a Final Four run. But after shooting a remarkable 50 percent from the field in the first half, women’s basketball could not keep up with No. 9 Maryland as the Terps dictated the tempo and dealt the Colonials a 75-65 loss Saturday.

“I think the game today was back and forth, but in the second half, you saw a confidence in this Maryland team,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We want to play the best, so playing a team like Maryland not only has us ready for the A-10 but also our goal of playing in the tournament.”

In the end, Maryland’s pace was too fast. GW committed 22 turnovers, which the Terps turned into 19 points, and was beaten in fast break points 14-6.

In the first half, neither team was able to separate from each other. GW held a 10-6 lead in the opening five minutes, but other than that, neither team could take a considerable margin as the game went through nine lead changes and seven ties.

But the first and second halves were like night and day. Maryland’s guards came out of the locker room much more aggressive on the offensive end, attacking the rim at almost every opportunity. The Terrapin backcourt put up 38 shots in the second half.

GW failed to counter this combativeness and instead became more careless on and off the ball, which led to seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the second half and allowed Maryland to solidify the lead.

Senior Chakecia Miller dribbles past the Maryland defense. The Colonials fell to the Terrapins 65-75 at the Smith Center on Saturday. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Senior Chakecia Miller dribbles past the Maryland defense. The Colonials fell to the Terrapins 65-75 at the Smith Center on Saturday. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

In the second, Maryland attacked the paint, finding easy looks to shoot 60 percent in the final half. Defensively, the Terps used a tenacious zone defense to drive down GW’s shooting percentage, which, though not bad at 38 percent, was 12 points below their first half mark.

As they dominated inside, the Colonials were left fouling as Maryland infiltrated the rim. The Terps finished the game with 28 free throw attempts compared to GW’s nine.

“Maryland was aggressive against our man-to-man defense,” Tsipis said. “Off the dribble, they asserted themselves and they were able to put points on the board. On the offensive end, we got stagnant at times and we have to do a better job of spacing and not settling for threes.”

After sitting out for three games, junior Jonquel Jones led the team with 18 points and added 10 rebounds. Jones’ height made an impact underneath the basket, altering a few Maryland shots and coming down with rebounds when needed. With the help of Jones and sophomore Caira Washington, who equaled Jones’ 10 rebounds, the Colonials out-rebounded the Terrapins 39-36 and 14-9 on the offensive boards, which translated to a 14-7 edge in second chance points.

Beyond competing against a high-ranked team, the return of Jones was a welcome outcome of the game for GW, reminding the Colonials what they had missed during her absence.

With the loss, the Colonials fall to 2-2 on the season and now have to re-group to get back on a winning streak before they take on Grambling State at the Smith Center on Monday.

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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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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

After showing off offensive skills in her college debut Friday night, freshman forward Kelli Prange earned the first A-10 Rookie of the Week award of the season.

Prange had a standout performance against Florida Gulf Coast, posting a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds during the first match of GW’s season.

Though her award came before the game, Prange continued her success in the Monday night matchup against American, pacing the Colonials in scoring with 16 points and collecting nine rebounds to help bring GW to a 63-52 victory.

Prange leads the Colonials in shooting, averaging 20 points per game, and rebounds, with 10.5 rebounds per game. She has posted 11 offensive rebounds on the season and is taking the most shots of anyone on the team, averaging 14.5 attempts per game.

GW will host Bowie State in its home opener at the Smith Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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Some moments were messy, some were tense, and though head coach Jonathan Tsipis’ patented foot-stomp came out once or twice, the Colonials pulled their record to an even .500 with their first win of the season, topping American on the road 63-52.

An 18-4 first-half run gave the Colonials some breathing room going into halftime, but a resurgent shooting game for American made it tight in the second half before GW could pull away with the win.

“Obviously not picture perfect,” Tsipis said. “There’s a reason that American is fifth in the country in [scoring defense] last year because they’re going to pack length, they’re going to dare you to shoot jumpers, and I think the last 10 minutes we didn’t settle for those.”

For the second game in a row, freshman Kelli Prange led GW in scoring with 16 points while adding nine rebounds. She scored the first four GW points of the second half, including a long jumper, and got to the line, making four free throws on five attempts.

She did so without the help of Jonquel Jones, who sat out the game after missing Friday’s contest due to injury, and with Caira Washington getting into early foul trouble and playing just 13 minutes. Despite Prange’s performance, the Colonial had a tough day in the paint where they were outscored by American 28-22, struggling inside early in particular. GW ended the first half getting outscored 12-4 in the paint.

“I kind of feel like the tempo was offbeat in the first half, and we were driving to the lane where American really clogs it up. That’s their defense,” Prange said. “So in the second half, we really noticed that, so we were finding open people, and it was just finding that open person and making that extra pass.”

After the Eagles, a WNIT team from last year, made it a one-possession game 30-33 with about 14 minutes to go, Washington came back in the game. She scored the next GW points, getting open inside and up to the net to lay in a pass from Schaible.

“When Caira’s been on the floor, she’s been fine, but we’ve got to make sure that we keep her on the floor,” Tsipis said. “I thought we tried to go directly to Caira when we brought her back in, and she had a couple really good plays.”

American responded with two made free throws by All-Patriot League Preseason First Team selection Jen Dumiak, a layup, and a three to go up by five, 44-39, with nine minutes to play. But GW followed up with a 14-2 run spurred by Prange and good free throws.

Brianna Cummings gave the Colonials a 10-point lead with two minutes left to play when her extra shot fell after drawing the foul on a layup that got the whole GW bench on its feet. She ended the game the third leading scorer for the Colonials with 10 points and added a game-high 10 rebounds, four of which came off the offensive glass.

GW was able to contain Dumiak, holding her to just two field goals on eight attempts, but she did lead the Eagles in scoring after making nine free throws in 10 attempts to finish with 13 total points. She played every minute of the game despite struggling with the Colonials’ man-to-man coverage, which pushed her into nine of the Eagles’ 25 turnovers.

“I think we did a good job – even when we didn’t turn them over – of making them play faster than they wanted to at times,” Tsipis said.

The win gives the Colonials some momentum in the middle of a packed stretch of games. They will take on Bowie State on Wednesday before hosting No. 9 Maryland on Saturday.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Women’s basketball signed its first two members of the 2015-16 recruiting class to National Letters of Intent, head coach Jonathan Tsipis announced Wednesday.

Point guard Mei-Lyn Bautista (Saint Mary’s High School, N.Y.) and forward Kelsi Mahoney (Jay M. Robinson High School, N.C.) will join the Colonials next year.

Bautista led her team to a Nassau Suffolk Catholic High School Athletic Association title and the Catholic state semifinals as a junior. The two-time Newsday All-Long Island selection averaged 13 points, nine assists and six steals per game last season.

Mahoney was named Cabarrus County Player of the Year last season after averaging a double-double with 13.8 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-1 post was an all-district selection twice and a three-time all-conference and all-county selection. She is on pace to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during her senior year.

“Mei-Lyn and Kelsi will make an impact at GW because they have been leaders on their high school basketball teams and been recognized by their high schools for being leaders among their peers,” Tsipis said in a release. “I am excited to have the opportunity to coach them and watch them share their talents with the entire GW community.”

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Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup last season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup last season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Last season, women’s basketball had a perfect record when scoring 70 points or more in a game. But in the team’s season opener Friday at Florida Gulf Coast, the defense could not hold up in an 88-75 loss to the Eagles.

Freshman Kelli Prange started in place of junior Jonquel Jones, who missed the game due to illness, and led the Colonials with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, but the team allowed FGCU to shoot 51 percent in the loss.

“If you score 75 points on the road, you should be able to win,” Tsipis said. “A lot of it was on the other end of the floor where we’ve got to be better.”

GW allowed FGCU to score in droves by committing 25 turnovers, which the Eagles converted into 26 points.

The team seemed to have trouble communicating, with players scoring for themselves and sharing the ball rarely with only nine assists in the game.

“You’re not going to win a lot of games, home or away, when you have nine assists and 25 turnovers,” Tsipis said. “But you can’t spend time worrying about what happened in the last game.”

Tsipis said the Eagles’ willingness to both take three-point shots and forgo them created some confusion on defense, which allowed FGCU to take back momentum in the game. FGCU made seven of 15 attempted threes during the game.

GW jumped to an early lead, going ahead by as much as 10 points five minutes into the first half. But then FGCU took a lead it would never relinquish with 6:30 remaining in the first.

“I thought we started out playing a pace that we wanted,” Tsipis said. “But Florida Gulf Coast just did a better job in the last five or six minutes.”

The Colonials came within one point with 5:22 left in the second half, but were unable to pull ahead.

Tsipis said early foul trouble also allowed the Eagles to stage a late first-half comeback. Sophomore guard Hannah Schaible and sophomore forward Caira Washington were both taken out of the game in the first half after recording two fouls each.

In their absence, Prange found space for a breakout performance. Of her 12 rebounds, seven came off the offensive glass, and Prange also had a block and two assists in the game.

“I just wanted to go into the game and have fun really,” Prange said. “I just went in with an open mind without really knowing what to expect from my first official college game.”

Even with the loss, Tsipis said he was happy with the way his team came back in the second half and succeeded in the rebound battle, beating FGCU off the boards 49-30 in total rebounds during the game. He said the game was scheduled early in the season knowing the Colonials would face a well-prepared team that played in the postseason last year.

“Now we’re going on the road again, so it’s an opportunity for us to be really mature,” Tsipis said. “But we need to understand that if we’re better defensively, that’s going to give us a better opportunity to win.”

The Colonials will be back in action against American on Monday at 5 p.m. on the road.

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Sophomore guard Hannah Schaible will visit her home state of Florida on Friday when GW opens the season against Florida Gulf Coast University. Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore guard Hannah Schaible will visit her home state of Florida on Friday when GW opens the season against Florida Gulf Coast University. Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Who: GW vs. Florida Gulf Coast

When: Friday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.

Where: Alico Arena, Fort Myers, Fla.

The 40th season of women’s basketball will officially get underway Friday when GW takes on Florida Gulf Coast on the road. The last time the two teams met, in the first round of the 2009 WNIT, it took double overtime for the Eagles to win 97-94.

Another competitive match, which will air on ESPN3, could be in store for Friday. Here’s what you need to know:

The case for FGCU:
After a 26-8 season and a trip to the NCAA tournament for its seventh consecutive postseason appearance, the Eagles were selected as the preseason favorite in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The Colonials will need to tap into the defensive rhythm they displayed in the exhibition against Virginia Union to contain FGCU and A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year Whitney Knight. Last season, Knight averaged 12.3 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game, and led the league with 85 total three pointers.

The Eagles boast a trio of Preseason All-Conference picks, with Knight and guards Stephanie Haas and Jenna Cobb earning spots on the Preseason All A-Sun team. Haas averaged 11.6 points per game and shot 43.9 percent from the field last year, while Cobb, last season’s A-Sun Conference Tournament MVP, averaged 8.6 points per game and racked up 81 assists.

FGCU’s 70.1 points per game were good enough for second in the A-Sun last year. GW will need to work a little harder to force turnovers Friday, as the Eagles were first in their conference with a +4.41 turnover margin.

The case for GW
The Colonials’ biggest advantage is in the rebound department, in which they led the Atlantic 10 with a +6.5 margin last season. FGCU struggled on the boards and finished ninth of ten A-Sun teams last season at -3.8.

GW’s rebounding ability was on display against Virginia Union, as they finished with a 49-31 rebounding advantage. Junior Jonquel Jones, sophomore Caira Washington and freshman Brianna Cummings all tied for the team lead with eight rebounds each.

A second key for GW will be taking care of the ball. After finishing second in the conference and turning the ball over 19 times in the exhibition game, the Colonials will face a team that led the A-Sun with 601 takeaways, beating second-place Stetson by more than 40.

GW may also look to take shots from outside, where they could get a boost. The Colonials shot 37 percent (10-27) from beyond the arc in the exhibition, including a perfect three-for-three from sophomore Hannah Schaible. FGCU finished fourth of ten A-Sun teams in three-point defense last year.

After the Florida trip, GW will return to the District to face off against a crosstown rival, in a game at American on Monday at 5 p.m.

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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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Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup last season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior guard Chakecia Miller squeezes pass a George Mason defender for a layup last season. File Photo by Aly Kruse | Hatchet Photographer

The Colonials will play five televised games during the 2014-15 regular season, with three of those games set to be broadcast nationwide, the athletic department announced Tuesday.

For students looking to plan their class schedules around tip-off, the announcement also included game times for the regular season. Weeknight games will begin at 7 p.m., and weekend games will start at 2 p.m., with the exceptions of games against Grambling State on Monday, Nov. 24 at 12 p.m., A-10 newcomer Davidson on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. and defending A-10 regular season champion Dayton on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 12 p.m.

The Feb. 8 game against Dayton will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network from the Smith Center on Feb. 8. GW will host a nationally televised game for the fourth year in a row as the Flyers seek revenge from an 88-79 upset in Foggy Bottom last season.

The Flyers are players in two of the Colonials nationally televised games: ESPNU will air the A-10 opener between the two teams on Jan. 4. CBSSN will also broadcast GW’s Jan. 18 game at Massachusetts.

Beyond the national placements, GW’s games against local rivals Maryland and Georgetown on Nov. 22 and Dec. 9, respectively, will both air on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. In taking on the Terrapins, GW will host the second Final Four team at the Smith Center in the last two seasons after upsetting the then-No. 10 California Golden Bears last November, and will try to improve on their 87-51 drubbing in College Park last season.

The announcement also included the addition of the Grambling State game to the team’s schedule. It will be the first time the two teams have met.

The Colonials begin play Nov. 9 with an exhibition game against Virginia Union before officially starting the season at Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 14.

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