Holding a solid lead heading into halftime, the Colonials tightened their stranglehold on Memphis in the second half to defeat the Tigers in their sixth straight victory of the season Monday.
GW beat Memphis 63-44 to bring its record to 8-2, the team’s best start since the 2006-07 season.
Junior forward Jonquel Jones led all scorers, notching a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Following close behind was sophomore Hannah Schaible, who tallied 12 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Caira Washington added nine rebounds while being held, uncharacteristically, without a point.
“It was a fun game. I got to really settle down and got a chance to move the ball around. It was a good game. Everyone chipped in,” Jones said.
The Colonials continued to dominate the boards, with a 54-32 advantage off the glass. GW entered the game fifth in the nation by an impressive rebounding margin of 15.2 rebounds per game, and has won the rebounding margin in every game this season.
“I think that the two things we hang our hat on are the ability to be aggressive and rebound the basketball,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “I think that helps us get second-chance points and to the free-throw line and then how we get out of transitions.”
The Colonials had a 29-22 lead at halftime with the rebounding advantage well in hand, but had allowed Memphis (5-5) to stay close by amassing 12 turnovers.
In the second, however, the Colonials outscored the Tigers 34-22 and were much cleaner with the ball. GW had just seven turnovers after halftime. The team went on a 9-0 run early in the second half and kept momentum by pressuring the Tigers, who ended the game shooting under 30 percent from the field for their lowest point total of the season.
“Rebounding really gives us a chance to get the ball and push the ball up court. We really like to run transitions, so then we capitalize on the misses,” Schaible said.
With under eight minutes left in regulation, GW claimed back-to-back baskets after Jones elevated for a jumper and senior guard Chakecia Miller stole the ball on an inbounds play, letting her momentum carry her straight to the basket, which boosted GW to 53-29.
The Colonials kept composure at the line and didn’t allow Memphis any extra chances with a season-low five fouls on the night. GW shot over 83 percent from the charity stripe, aided by Miller’s perfect 5-5 night.
“We were cutting people off the free-throw line tonight,” Tsipis said. “Especially in the second half, we kept them from getting back, whether it be a transition or the offensive glass. I think that’s a great example of when your offense isn’t at full tilt and you aren’t executing as well as they were, you are able to really put forth a great effort.”
GW now leads the Atlantic 10 with an 8-2 record entering the final stretch of games before conference play begins Jan. 4. The Colonials will host Saint Mary’s on Sunday at noon in the Smith Center before a string of matches on the road to close out 2014.