Your Guide to GW sports


Jonathan Tsipis

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

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

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Matt Cullen.

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.

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Junior Caira Washington navigates a post-trap in GW's win over American earlier this season. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior Caira Washington navigates a post-trap in GW’s win over American earlier this season. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

By eating up the paint, No. 24 women’s basketball got a Thanksgiving day win over Houston Thursday, topping the Cougars 82-78 in the first game of the Lone Star Showcase.

Senior forward Jonquel Jones and junior forward Caira Washington each posted a double-double, Jones’ coming with 20 points and 13 rebounds and Washington’s with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Jessieka Palmer led all scorers with 25 points, but the Colonials shot 47 percent to Houston’s 42.9 to get the win.

“[Jones] just opens up more space for me down low,” Washington said. “When she’s down low and we’re both down there we just make sure that we’re constantly moving so that we’re opening up space for one another, working the high-low and that just creates a lot of space for us to work.”

Senior guard Alexis Chandler was 5-for-7 with 10 points in the game. She and senior guard Aaliyah Brown are both from Texas, and got to play in front of a home-state crowd in the game.

The game itself was streaky, and neither team got discouraged when the other team went on a run. After both squads traded dominant streaks, they went to the lockers at halftime with the score close, 37-33 in GW’s favor.

The third quarter was the deciding frame for the Colonials, who outscored Houston 24-12, including 12 points from Washington. Along with Jones eating up the inside, GW outrebounded the Cougars 51-28 and outscored them 50-22 in the paint.

Houston had its strongest edge in points off turnovers, beating GW 27-12 in that category as the Cougars’ press rattled the Colonials late in the game. GW’s giveaways allowed Houston to crawl back from a 26 point deficit with just a little over five minutes left in the game and make it competitive with a 28-5 run.

“We went zone and I don’t know if that just put us on our heels a little bit, we didn’t execute against their press very well at all,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “Whether it was even breaking it to get a good shot or at times we turned it over and it led them to, I think, confidence.”

Junior guard Hannah Schaible, who had been day-to-day with a minor injury, played for the first time this season. She was a bit edgy, collecting four fouls in nine minutes on the court to go along with one point, two assists and three turnovers, but said it was an important step to just get back on the court and that the format of the Lone Star Showcase, with three games in three days, should help.

“I can really get back into game situations better,” Schaible said. “You can play so hard in practice but games are totally different so having three chances to figure myself out a little bit, it’s a great opportunity.”

Ultimately, Houston’s late push was not enough. Palmer even hit a half-court shot at the buzzer, but the Colonials still had a four point cushion to come away with the win.

GW’s next test comes Friday at 2:30 p.m. against No. 25 Iowa.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

After a tough loss to No. 15 Stanford, the Colonials concluded their two-game road stint in the Golden State with a win over Fresno State on Monday in a low-scoring battle, 61-53.

Senior forward Jonquel Jones posted a double-double, pacing the Colonials with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while senior guard Lauren Chase followed suit with 12 points and eight rebounds in the eight-point victory.

No. 24 GW struggled to bring offensive drives to fruition in the first half, but switched to zone coverage to keep defenders at bay, which allowed Jones to get in on the action.

“We settled in the first half for a lot of jumpers, and then when we got out in transition, attacked the rim, we got a few easy shots from offensive rebounds or deep post touches,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “I think we gained some confidence and executed better against the man.”

Utilizing a side-to-side lateral defense to open play, the Colonials (3-1) limited the Bulldogs (1-3) to a low-scoring first half, where they also racked up nine fouls in the opening quarter.

GW took advantage of getting to the bonus early, but Fresno State got a few more boards and took an early 17-11 lead in the first quarter.

In the second frame, senior guard Aaliyah Brown gave GW a spark off the bench and knocked down a shot from the top of key to put the game within four, 18-22. More Fresno State fouls allowed GW to knot the game at 22 after a three-pointer from freshman guard Mei-Lyn Bautista.

Whistle contact was prominent in the final few minutes of the half, as both teams were trying to minimize offensive efforts. The Bulldogs didn’t want to wake up Jones, but she came alive with a jumper to boost the score to 27-22 heading into the locker room. Fresno State led by as much as eight points with 16 seconds left in the first quarter, but GW countered and surged to a five-point lead with all the momentum at the break.

Falling behind in the rebounding margin, GW made some changes on the defensive end. Tsipis said Chase and senior guard Alexis Chandler did a good job of minimizing the Bulldogs’ point guard Shauqunna Collins when they moved to the zone.

“We changed defenses in the second half, and I think they [Fresno State] struggled to adjust to it,” Tsipis said. “We were able to get out in transition because I think the activity level we had in zone was just as good as in the man-to-man.”

In the second half, GW was able to feed the ball in the paint, helping extended its lead to nine in the third quarter. After some push back from the Bulldogs, Bautista knocked down another deep three to push the margin to 10.

Tsipis said that advantage breaks and accuracy from behind the arc was, “contagious.”

“We had to make those second efforts on the defensive end to make sure we were securing the ball, being strong with the ball,” Chase said. “I wanted to set the example by having that attacking mentality.”

GW continued to soar in fourth quarter, opening with a 9-0 run fueled by fast footwork and easy releases off the backboards. A high arching three fell through for the Bulldogs to close the gap to nine after the Colonials led by as much as 16.

But even getting some shots to fall, the Bulldogs didn’t have enough time on the shot clock to get combat the Colonials’ paint pressure, as the final whistle marked GW’s third win on the young season.

GW returns to action on Thursday to participate in the three-game Lone Star Showcase in Cedar Park, Texas. The Colonials will face Houston in game one at 2:30 p.m.

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Senior Jonquel Jones drives past an American defender on Nov. 17. Jones had a huge double-double, with 27 points and 17 rebounds Saturday in GW's loss to No. 15 Stanford. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior Jonquel Jones drives past an American defender on Nov. 17. Jones had a huge double-double, with 27 points and 17 rebounds Saturday in GW’s loss to No. 15 Stanford. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Marty Fenn.

You can do all the little things, you can rebound on both ends of the court. You can play fast and force turnovers, but if the ball won’t go in the hoop, it’s hard to win a basketball game.

The No. 22 women’s basketball team (2-1) experienced that in an 84-63 loss to No. 15 Stanford on Saturday afternoon in Palo Alto, Calif. when they shot just 29.4 percent from the field. GW struggled to find the hole despite many chances earned by outrebounding the Cardinal 50-46, including 24 off the offensive glass.

“We were able to get a bunch of looks and offensive rebounds,” senior forward Jonquel Jones said. “We couldn’t capitalize on those quality chances and second opportunities that we had.”

Jones almost single-handedly staked the Colonials to the lead in the better part of the first half, scoring 20 of her 27 points in the opening act, with 12 straight for the Colonials in the first quarter. Jones finished with a double-double, adding 17 rebounds to her point total.

GW led 19-15 after the first period, and held a 26-25 lead with 6:11 to play in the half before the wheels fell off. GW managed just two baskets for the rest of the half, including a scoring drought of almost four minutes. Meanwhile, the Cardinals caught fire, ending the half on a 21-4 run.

“I thought in that first quarter we had a greater sense of urgency in keeping them out of the lane,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “But in that second quarter we got caught in transition. We were back on our heels after offensive rebounds, and they got whatever they wanted. They had players dumping the ball inside, they sucked our defense in, and that led to some drive and kick opportunities.

Tsipis said that the Colonials were “back on our heels” after offensive rebounds and that the Cardinal pulled GW’s defense inside, then burned them by kicking the ball back outside and hitting shots, which turned into momentum.

“You could see that they were collectively gaining confidence from it,” Tsipis said. “And on our end, we were slowly losing confidence because the ball wasn’t dropping.”

The Cardinal run was inspired in particular by the long-range shooting of guards Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson, who shot a collective 7-12 from distance. While the Colonials shot a respectable 9-23 from beyond the arc, they could not compensate for their shooting woes elsewhere while the Cardinal stampeded to a 46.2 percent mark from the field in the game.

GW also struggled immensely to get to the foul line despite the implementation of the new post rules, which were supposed to garner more foul calls and free opportunities for offensive players heading into the season. GW managed just six free throws, while Stanford was able to capitalize on 15 of its 18 attempts.

“You have to have someone who understands [the rule change] and is trying to get the team to the double bonus,” Tsipis said. “It’s not just a matter of being stronger but it’s two fold in terms of the mindset. We have to have players that will say ‘Okay, I’m going to go up strong and maybe I get a charge called on me, but maybe it’s an and-one.’”

Tsipis added that the Colonials need to control every area of the game if they hope to beat the elite teams in the nation moving forward. A road loss to the No. 15 team is nothing to panic about, but given GW’s performance in the first half it seemed like a missed opportunity.

“We weren’t balanced or strong,” Tsipis said. “We need to be be great defensively and on the glass at all times. We had the 24 offensive rebounds, but we couldn’t finish on a higher level.”

Junior forward Caira Washington tacked on 10 points and 9 rebounds, and senior guard Lauren Chase added 9 points of her own in the loss.

After taking the loss, Jones said the team just needs to move on and make adjustments. Jones stressed the necessity to move on from this game, and to apply the necessary adjustments immediately.
“Whether you win or you lose, you look at every game and think about what you can do better. Losses often put things under a magnifying glass,” Jones said.

The Colonials will hope to bounce back in another West Coast game against Fresno State on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.

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Junior Caira Washington pushes to the hoop during GW's Nov. 17 win over American. Washington had a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior Caira Washington pushes to the hoop during GW’s Nov. 17 win over American. Washington had a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Matt Cullen.

It is tough to win on the road—against a ranked opponent that has won 14 games straight on its own court. It is even harder to win when three opposing players outscore your entire team. In fact, it is impossible. American University found that out Tuesday night.

Junior forward Caira Washington led the Colonials with 21 points, sophomore forward Kelli Prange scored 18, and senior forward Jonquel Jones added 14 of her own. The frontcourt trio combined for 24 out of the team’s 45 rebounds in an impressive showing that led the Colonials (2-0) to a 78-48 win over the Eagles (0-2).

“I was just getting to open space and constantly moving, one post player would flash high and dive right away when the ball [was] in, so I just kept moving and when I did that it created space for myself and my teammates,” Washington said.

This type of performance has become the norm for Washington. She was selected as A-10 Player of the Week after her dominant game against Grambling State last Saturday (20 points, 8 rebounds).

In the first couple possessions of the game it appeared that it would be a battle, American easily beat the GW press the first two times down the floor to get wide open layups and match the Colonials on the scoreboard, 4-4.

The rest of the quarter was a very different story. The Colonials shot a solid 62.5 percent on field goals while holding the Eagles to only 26.7 percent. The press worked over and over as the aggressive GW defense was able to force 6 turnovers and several bad shots.

This was enough to extend the Colonials lead to 24-8 at the end of the first quarter, including 12 points from Washington.

“They scored a couple times early on a couple little breakdowns, but I felt like just in the half court, we didn’t let them get comfortable to start the game” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said, “I was happy with that.”

Coach Tsipis has highlighted defense and, especially in the first half of the game, both senior guard Alexis Chandler and sophomore guard Bri Cummings stood out as the defensive anchors for the Colonials.

“Alexis Chandler brings an unbelievable energy, whether it’s in warm-ups, on the bench, or when we put her

Senior Jonquel Jones drives past an American defender on Nov. 17. Jones had 14 points in GW's 78-48 win. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior Jonquel Jones drives past an American defender on Nov. 17. Jones had 14 points in GW’s 78-48 win. Zach Montellaro | Senior Staff Photographer

in the game. We can play her in a lot of different spots,” Tsipis said. “Bri Cummings [plays defense] more with her length, they bring that defensive energy and help get out in transition. They will probably not play the point ever in a game, but they will guard the point guard.”

The second quarter was slower for both teams. The Eagles were able to mount a small comeback after a bit of foul trouble for both Washington and Jones forced Tsipis to play a smaller lineup. The Colonials were not able to score for the first five minutes of the quarter but, with some good late play from Prange, they maintained their 16-point lead at the half.

The game may not have been sealed at halftime, but the Colonials came out and made sure that it was out of reach before long. Highlighted by two three-point baskets by Jones and the consistent inside presence of Prange, GW had a 32-point lead by the end of the third quarter, and was not looking back.

Jones ended up spending a good amount of time playing on the perimeter as opposed to her normal post game. She wen 2-6 from behind the arc, consistently drawing a defender in making plays for her teammates.

“I was just playing ball,” says Jones, “I felt way better there this game and my teammates are playing well with me in that position so it feels awesome.”

Against the Colonials reserves, American had its highest scoring quarter in the fourth when they had almost no chance of winning. Senior forward Michelle Homes was able to get it going and netted 9 of her team-high 17 points in the final 10 minutes.

Despite being up by 30, a couple miscommunications and turnovers had Tsipis visibly frustrated, barking at his players. After the game he said that he is looking for the team to keep its foot on the gas, no matter what is on the scoreboard.

“When our top seven have rotated through, I want that other group to be that hungry,” Tsipis said. “I’m a big believer that the best teams don’t sit there and get to twenty or twenty-five, they keep setting goals within the game and I think that is to be great on the other end.”

In the final minutes of play, senior forward DaLacy Anderson was the leader on the floor and her 7 points in 7 minutes helped GW cap off the win with an 11-1 run.

Saturday the Colonials travel to Stanford, Calif. to take on the No. 15 Cardinal (2-0). That matchup kicks off a five-game road-trip before they take on Florida Gulf Coast (1-0) back at the Smith Center on Dec. 3.

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This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Alex Kist.

With the start of the season, the awards have begun rolling in for women’s basketball.

After her standout performance in the season opener against Grambling State on Saturday, junior forward Caira Washington was named Co-Player of the Week for the Atlantic 10 conference, the conference announced Monday.

Then, on Tuesday, senior forward Jonquel Jones was named to the John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30 list, making her a National Player of the Year candidate.

Washington earned a game-high 23 points, notched eight rebounds and posted three blocks to contribute to a 85-58 rout of the Lady Tigers . She was on fire in the first half, especially, where she amassed 20 of her 23 total points from the field. Washington also displayed accuracy from the field, completing 10-of-18 attempts against a pressing defense.

Washington helped GW keep up its street cred as a rebounding leader by dominating on the offensive glass. Seven of her eight rebounds were offensive, as Washington fought hard to crash the boards throughout the entire match.

Last season, Jones earned the Atlantic 10’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards after being the only player in the conference to average a double-double. She is the only player on the watch list from a conference other than the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12 or American Athletic Conference and the first Colonial to make the cut since Jessica Adair in 2008.

The Colonials return to action on Tuesday to face off against DMV rival American at 7 p.m. in the Smith Center.

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Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 4:32 p.m.

Preview: Women’s basketball vs. American

Junior Shannon Cranshaw motors towards the basket in GW's win over Grambling State. Cranshaw found her shot in the game and will hope to continue providing an outside threat when the Colonials take on American Tuesday night. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior Shannon Cranshaw motors towards the basket in GW’s win over Grambling State. Cranshaw found her shot in the game and will hope to continue providing an outside threat when the Colonials take on American Tuesday night. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Marty Fenn.

What: Women’s basketball (1-0) vs. American (0-1)

Where: The Smith Center, Washington, D.C.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. EST

The Colonials square off against crosstown rival American after thrashing Grambling State, 85-58, in their season opener. American, meanwhile is coming off of a 72-34 trouncing at the hands of Princeton in which they shot just 25 percent from the field. This is not, however, a meaningless game for GW which will look to avoid a second-half dropoff like they had against Grambling State and keep a sharp focus for 40 minutes.

Case for the Colonials: The team backed up its No. 21 preseason ranking with its thrashing of Grambling State. Preseason All-American junior forward Caira Washington poured in 23 points (including 20 in the first half), and added 8 rebounds in a dominant performance.

After struggling to find her shot in the exhibition game, junior guard Shannon Cranshaw went 5-of-5 from beyond the arc to tally 15 points, a positive sign for the Colonials’ backcourt in terms of complimenting the bigs.

Sophomore center Kelli Prange followed up her spectacular performance in the exhibition game with 12 points and 7 rebounds, on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and senior forward Jonquel Jones racked up 10 rebounds. It is very evident from the first few games that the size of the Colonial frontcourt is going to be a problem for almost every single team in the country, as it should be for the Eagles.

With Cranshaw finding her shot and fifth-year graduate student guard Lauren Chase pushing the ball in transition, the Eagles will be hard pressed to match the pace and inside-out game that GW possesses.

Case for the Eagles: The Eagles are coming off a loss to No. 25 Princeton after shooting just 25 percent from the field and allowing the Tigers to shoot 45 percent, including 65 percent in the second half, but have known the top of their schedule would be tough for a long time and will be hungry to play better against GW.

The Eagles actually played an extremely tight first period against the Tigers, giving up only 7 points to the Tigers. Ultimately, that amounted to nothing because they only scored two points themselves in the quarter, and found themselves trailing 27-14 at the half.

The Eagles were dominated on the glass 49-20, which absolutely cannot happen if they hope to even stay remotely close to the Colonials. The stingy defense in the first period is a positive sign, as GW mounted an explosive early run in its season opener.

Of course, the main goal will be to shut down the Colonial frontcourt, probably with a variety of traps and switches.

Bottom Line: The Colonials are far too explosive and have too much size in the frontcourt for the Eagles, who may struggle to score the ball after having to exert so much energy and pressure defensively. Look for GW to win in a rout.

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Junior guard Shannon Cranshaw drives to the hoop in the Colonials' win versus Grambling State. Cranshaw had 15 points, all off the three ball. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior guard Shannon Cranshaw drives to the hoop in the Colonials’ win versus Grambling State. Cranshaw had 15 points, all off the three ball. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

Updated: Nov. 15, 2015 at 11:49 a.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Matt Cullen.

It was clear from the tip-off that the size and skill of the GW frontcourt was just too much for the Lady Tigers to handle, leading GW (1-0) to an 85-58 victory over Grambling State (0-1) Saturday afternoon.

Junior forward Caira Washington looked unstoppable in the first half with 20 points and eight rebounds (seven off the offensive glass) and ended the night with 23 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. Kelli Prange and Jonquel Jones were also big factors in the paint, combining for 18 points and 17 rebounds while drawing a lot of attention from the GSU defense.

“We came out with a ferocious aggressiveness in the first half, we got the ball into Caira early, and we got into the press,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “They had to figure out, are they going to guard Caira one-on-one, are they going to guard Jonquel one-on-one or Kelli.”

Unsurprisingly, the Colonials were able to out rebound the opposition 54-29 after having the largest rebounding margin in the country last year (13.8).

The Colonials started off very strong. In the first two minutes they were able to go on a 9-0 run through a combination of strong defense and offensive rebounding. Two steals and a block led to fast play and Washington alone was able to collect three offensive rebounds and four points during that short stretch.

Grambling State stuck to a three-two zone during the majority of the game, in hopes that they could slow down the Colonials’ inside game. Although they were able to hold Washington and Jonquel Jones to a combined three second-half points, the tight zone opened up opportunities for guards to have open shots.

During the early minutes of the second half, junior guard Shannon Cranshaw took advantage of the space and knocked down three three-pointers in four possessions, extending the GW lead to 31. In total Cranshaw went five-of-five from behind the arc, tying the second best three-point shooting performance in program history.

“Shannon had the hot hand,” Tsipis said. “We’ve got to get her more shots when she’s five-five from the three-point line. I think we got her a lot of those looks on extra passes against the zone. They were really trying to take Caira, Jonquel and Kelli away inside, and that opens some things up.”

The rest of the second half was not as clean for the Colonials, who committed 13 turnovers (23 total). Several times, GW players were unable to hold onto the ball after rebounds fell into their hands.

Some of the turnovers were the result of GW’s fast pace of play, but Grambling State also got into a full court press that disrupted the GW offense for a few possessions and allowed for easy baskets.

“I think there are certain [turnovers] I’m willing to live with when you play fast and have to throw it ahead or attack.” Tsipis said. “To score 85 points and still turn it over 23 times, that shows we played at the pace we wanted.”

For Grambling State, Yosha Watson led the way with 21 points, five rebounds, and five steals. She played the entire 40 minutes and brought the defensive energy for the Lady Tigers. Watson’s efficiency was one of the few highlights for the team; fellow starter Monisha Neal struggled all game going 0-10 from the floor.

Although the Lady Tigers trailed the entire game and were getting consistently beaten down low, they did now let up. Their aggressive defense led to 18 total steals and turned around several of GWs runs. To make up for their lack of size, GSU played an up tempo game and ended up scoring 16 fast-break points compared to GW’s seven. If it wasn’t for some good last minute play by sophomore Mia Farmer and senior Alexis Chandler, Grambling state would have outscored the Colonials in the second half.

GW showcased depth and ended up playing nine players for double-digit minutes and 12 of the 13 players were able to get on the scoreboard. Towards the end of the game, sophomore Brianna Cummings stood out. She finished with 8 points, three rebounds, three assists and a strong defensive showing, often matched up against Watson.

Ultimately, the Colonials were the better team, though Tsipis said that with the turnovers and drop off during the second half, he still has much to do.

“I’m excited to look at the film and see what not only our team can do better, but what I can do better as a coach,” Tsipis said. “I know it’s a team that is not easily satisfied and they will be excited to get back to work when we go to practice.”

The Colonials next play host to American University (0-1) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Smith Center.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
In a photo caption, The Hatchet misspelled the name of junior guard Shannon Cranshaw. We regret this error.

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Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 12:59 a.m.

Basketball teams ink eight new Colonials

Five players signed National Letters of Intent to join the men’s basketball program during the early signing period, and three did the same to join the women’s basketball team, both programs announced Wednesday.

Point guard Darnell Rogers, combo guard Jair Bolden and forwards Kevin Marfo, Collin Smith and Arnaldo Toro signed with men’s head coach Mike Lonergan while women’s head coach Jonathan Tsipis added shooting guards Harper Birdsong, wing Kendall Bresee and combo guard Kendra Van Leeuwen to the 2016-2017 class.

“I’m excited because five guys, I think they’re all quality young men and they’re all good basketball players,” Lonergan said of his signees. “I think we have all our needs kind of covered.”

Smith was the first to commit to join the Colonials, which he did at the end of last spring. Lonergan called him the best shot blocker he’s had since Isaiah Armwood and touted the 6-foot-10-inch center’s athleticism.

After getting Smith, Lonergan and his staff faced a dry spell until October, when an avalanche of recruiting news started to pour in. Rogers came first on Oct. 6, and Marfo and Bolden followed in quick succession in the month of October.

“All these guys have played high level AAU, and then obvioulsy Kevin Marfo is probably the most decorated, he’s probably the most decorated recruit we have and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t come in here and be a four year starter,” Lonergan said.

Lonergan praised the three-star recruit Marfo’s rebounding and said he was as highly recruited of a player as he has ever gone after. Marfo is rated 31st nationally at the power forward position.

He said that through the months when news was slow to come in, he told his staff that “the harder you work the luckier you get,” and that some players waited “on the Dukes and Kentuckys, and some of them just wanted to take their time and that’s understandable.”

Lonergan’s philosophy is that if he can get a recruit to take a visit, especially an official visit, he feels good about his chances. Finally, three-star prospect Toro, a versatile post with a nice outside shot who averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game last season for St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., which was ranked in the national top 25 by USA Today, rounded out the group.

Tsipis and the women’s program, meanwhile, were busy bolstering their backcourt.

The 5-foot-10-inch Birdsong won back-to-back Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools (TCIS) regular-season titles and a tournament championship in 2014 with Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and was named the 2015 TCIS Player of the Year after averaging 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game her junior season.

In a release, Tsipis called her a “dynamic scorer” and compared her to former standout Megan Nipe (’14) because of her quick release.

Tsipis made another player comparison when he likened the 5-foot-11-inch Bresee to junior shooting guard Hannah Schaible. The Maryland product, Bresee, averaged 20.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game with Urbana High School in 2015, making it all the way to the Maryland 3A state finals.

“Kendall has the ability to attack the basket and shoot the three, and she rebounds the ball with an aggressive nature,” Tsipis said.

Van Leeuwen gives the team an experienced, athletic player who played for the Canadian Junior National Team at the 2014 U-17 FIBA World Championships and helped her St. John’s College team win four straight city and regional titles.

“Kendra is a skilled combo guard who can really stretch the defense with her 3-point shooting,” Tsipis said. “She can really create shots for others and will be very comfortable in our transition game.”

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Junior Shannon Cranshaw fights through to the basket in the Colonials' win versus Christopher Newport. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Junior Shannon Cranshaw fights through to the basket in the Colonials’ win versus Christopher Newport. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Marty Fenn.

The women’s basketball team coasted to a dominant 95-47 victory over Christopher Newport in their exhibition game Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore center Kelli Prange scored 21 points, including 16 in the first half, and paced the Colonials offense, which shot 47.6 percent from the field. The Colonials outrebounded the Captains 58-37, and hounded the ball on defense, forcing a whopping 26 turnovers.

“[It’s nice] to have a couple of opportunities to see where your team is at,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “To be able to play here in front of our fans with the lights on, it’s another step.”

The Colonials took the lead 17 seconds into the game and never relinquished it, starting the game off on a 15-0 run. The frontcourt dominated from the tip against an undersized Captains roster. Prange, junior forward Caira Washington and senior forward Jonquel Jones combined to pour in 50 points, and the Colonials dominated the interior with 52 points in the paint.

“When we stretch Jonquel out, Kelli is really taking advantage of the opportunity,” Tsipis said. “I just thought she put herself in great positions to be successful.”

Prange, who according to coach Tsipis had a phenomenal summer, was assertive from the start, and proved that she can certainly stack up with the likes of preseason All-Americans Jones and Washington.

“Not only myself but for [Jones] and Caira, we all have this way about us when we play,” said Prange. “Opponents don’t know how to guard us because we can go into the post and post up or step out and shoot the three. It happened to be me today but one game it’s going to be Caira and the next it’s going to be JJ.”

The Colonials played exceedingly fast all game, particularly with graduate student and guard Lauren Chase pushing the tempo in transition and catching the Captain defense out for easy baskets.

“I like to push the tempo especially early in the game so everyone has that same mindset,” said Chase. “Playing fast is our mojo and we enjoy doing it because it makes the game so much fun.”

The Colonials scored 20 fast break points, and capitalized on errors from the Captains with 31 points off turnovers. The rebounding advantage proved to be a big boost as well, as the Colonials scored 24 second chance points.

Despite the dominant performance, Tsipis stressed the importance of finding elements to address for the coming season.

“Newport stretched us and I think we got sucked in,” he said. “As fast as we play and look to put the ball in the basket, I want to be as good if not better on the defensive end. It gives us good film to show the team and make sure we’re better in practice on these things.”

Thus the exhibition is in the books, and the Colonials will embark on their 2015-16 campaign with high expectations (and a No. 21 ranking in the AP poll). For Lauren Chase, who is in her fifth year of athletic eligibility after having transferred from UMBC to GW in 2013, today marked the beginning of her last ride.

“It’s a blessing, me and JJ have that special bond having come in together and being able to go out together. “I’m with the most amazing girls that I’ll probably be friends with the rest of my life.”

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