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.”