This post was written by Hatchet reporter Matt Cullen.
Senior Alexis Chandler drives to the basket in GW’s exhibition game. Chandler played in front of a crowd from her home state of Texas in GW’s double overtime win over Iowa Friday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Prior to the game Iowa supporters boasted that they are No. 21 and GW is No. 23 according to the Coaches Poll. GW fans countered that they are No. 24 and Iowa is No. 25 according to the Associated Press. But, at this point of the season rankings do not matter much other than showing that these are two good teams and it should have been a close game.
To say this would be a close game was quite the understatement.
It took double overtime to decide the victor between the Colonials and the Hawkeyes. A 50 minute battle including key foul-outs, confusing arguments with the officials and several charges was won 81-77 by the Colonials who outlasted the Hawkeyes in their penultimate game in Texas.
“You are playing against a top 25 opponent, both teams are nationally ranked so everyone is expecting a good game,” senior forward Jonquel Jones said. “To be able to walk out with the win makes it feel that much better.”
The first 14 minutes of the game were back and forth. Both teams ran a fast paced half-court game and fought through 11 ties and five lead changes in the first half. During the first quarter the largest unanswered scoring streak was only 3 points after an and-one by junior forward Caira Washington. Jones was nearly unstoppable in the first half, scoring 12 points and 12 rebounds and making it look easy.
Jones finished the game with 23 points, 26 rebounds and 4 blocks. Living up to her placement on the Wooden Award watch list, she drew in defensive players all game, was a constant scoring threat and was always in position to get the board.
“I was just playing hard down low the good thing about our team is that we have people that can drive the ball and force the other team to rotate and help so that opens us up to have the advantage on the rebounds. So if you can have 26 [rebounds] it’s a compliment to the entire team,” said Jones.
With five minutes left in the first half, the Hawkeyes got on a little bit of a run and were able to maintain a 6-point lead for a few minutes. Their zone defense was consistently working with Jones on the bench and sophomore guard Whitney Jennings fueled their offense with a couple baskets from behind the arc.
As it came closer to halftime GW was able to come back with a run for themselves. A couple good three-point shots by junior guard Shannon Cranshaw and junior guard Hannah Schaible tied the game up for the Colonials.
This was only Schaible’s second game back after coming off an injury. After being restricted to only 9 minutes in her first game, Friday was the first time she was a key contributor on the floor. Her effort and importance to the team did not go unnoticed.
“Hannah did a really good job today just understanding how Iowa was playing, I needed somebody that was going to be strong with the ball and try to make a play off the dribble. She brings such an energy to the court that she effects the game without having to score points” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.
With no time left in the first, sophomore forward Chase Coley knocked down the buzzer beating shot from distance giving Iowa the 35-32 lead going into halftime. This lead was not close to enough to convince anyone watching or playing the game that the Hawkeyes had the advantage.
Iowa came out strong and in the first 3 minutes of the second half and went on a 7-0 run. They were able to maintain that lead that went as high as 11 points after shooting a much better percentage in the third from the field compared to the Colonials (50 percent to 29.4 percent).
Although GW never seemed out of the game in the third quarter, some foul trouble by graduate student guard Lauren Chase and good shooting by Iowa was not a good combination for the Colonials. They were not able to get any runs going and ended the third trailing 44-51.
The fourth quarter was a completely different story. The GW offense was finally clicking and sophomore guard Bri Cummings, Chase, and Washington were able to lead the Colonials on a 15-0 run that gave them an eight-point lead (their largest of the game).
“As much as it was a scoring run, we were really active on the other end. We weren’t putting them at the line and we were able to get out in transition a little bit,” Tsipis said, “That was probably the turning point of the game, just for a momentum standpoint.”
After Chase fouled out with less than 2 minutes left in regulation time, GW was having a hard time taking care of the ball and turned the ball over a few times leading to equalizing baskets.
After some clutch Iowa free throws and a jumper from Coley, the game was tied with 30 seconds left. The Colonials dribbled out the majority of the clock but because of a sloppy pass were not able to even get a shot off.
After a timeout, junior guard Alexa Kastanek got a shot off with less than a second left that went flying off the backboard. The Iowa coaching staff starting arguing that Kastanek was fouled so the officials decided to look at the replay. To anyone viewing, this seemed very odd because of the rule against reviewing non-called fouls. A foul call would have allowed Iowa two free throws with no time left, in need of one point to win the game.
After a long time in discussion they explained to the coaches that they could review the play because it was actually called a foul, but the foul occurred after the final buzzer, sending it into overtime.
Only 5 points were scored on each side for during the first overtime, all of which were come from behind points for the Colonials. Despite Washington also fouling out, the Colonials were able to go with a slightly smaller lineup and continue their success. With the game on the line—down two—Jones was able to grab a rebound and put in an easy basket to tie it all up and send the game into a second overtime.
“[Jones] is willing to do whatever needs to be done. It is so important because it keys our transition, it gets us extra possessions on the offensive end and it’s deflating to the opponent when you have somebody who has the ability to get almost every rebound,” Tsipis said.
Again in the second overtime, Jones came through for GW. The game was knotted up at 73 when she knocked down back-to-back jump shots and brought the lead to four with under a minute to play. Texas native and senior guard Alexis Chandler was able to net two free throws and a layup to seal the deal for the Colonials and lock up their fifth win of the season.
“I don’t ever try to say one [win] is better than another but I think this win is really important because we had two of our starters foul out, an opportunity to win it in overtime, and a little bit of a scare with a call that was made then disallowed, just good perseverance. Lots of things that you can teach from this game that will make us better in the long run,” Tsipis said.
Saturday at 2:30 p.m., the Colonials conclude their trip to the Lone Star state in a matchup against Wright State.