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Sophomore Hannah Schaible reaches for the ball in the Colonials' win over Georgetown last week. Schaible scored 12 points and added seven rebounds against Memphis. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore Hannah Schaible reaches for the ball in the Colonials’ win over Georgetown last week. Schaible scored 12 points and added seven rebounds against Memphis. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

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.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Sophomore Hannah Schaible’s first double-double of the season helped women’s basketball to some local bragging rights on Tuesday, as the Colonials defeated Georgetown 72-60 at the Smith Center for their fifth consecutive win.

Schaible’s 17 points, a career high, and 10 rebounds came in a game that head coach Jonathan Tsipis said was extra easy for GW (7-2) to play.

“In rivalry games, you know you’re always going to get the team’s best efforts.” Tsipis said. “Since I got here, I’ve wanted to play everyone in the area for the pride sort of thing.”

Junior Jonquel Jones scored 15 points, which all came in the second half, to help GW keep a lead the team took for good with 43 seconds left in the first half.

Georgetown was able to get within five points with 13 minutes left to play, but Jones recorded five consecutive baskets to restore a double-digit lead.

“Coach challenged me after the first half to be aggressive,” Jones said. “Watching my teammates play with intensity [made me] want to be out there and play like that to help them.”

Sophomore Hannah Schaible recorded her first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Colonials 72-60 win over the Hoyas on Tuesday night. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore Hannah Schaible recorded her first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Colonials’ 72-60 win over the Hoyas on Tuesday night. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

While GW and Georgetown shot similar percentages from the field – the Colonials netting 38.2 percent to the Hoyas’ 39.4 – GW continued to dominate the glass and out-rebounded Georgetown 54-38, creating a 24-10 advantage in second-chance points.

“We take a lot of pride in our rebounding,” Jones said. “We like that is one of our strong points, having big players inside and aggressive players coming in.”

Crashing the boards helped the Colonials keep the edge without winning the turnover margin. GW forced a total of 19 turnovers and scored 16 points off them, but also turned the ball over 19 times.

Sophomore Shannon Cranshaw started in place of Lauren Chase, who was out Tuesday. Cranshaw scored 12 points with a game-high four three-pointers.

“I thought our kids did a job of rallying around,” Tsipis said. “I thought Shannon did a good job finding those outside shots.”

Nine of Cranshaw’s points came in the first half, as did three of her three-pointers, as the Colonials were led by their outside players in the first frame. Schaible scored the first eight points for the Colonials before Jones took over in the second half.

The game brought revenge to the team after a loss up the hill at Georgetown last year, and was the first defeat of the Hoyas for the Colonials since 2004.

After beating a team that GW’s men’s squad has long tried to schedule a game against, women’s basketball will have another chance to grab some payback for men’s basketball when the Colonials return to action against Memphis on Monday in the Smith Center.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

There was a dogfight in the Smith Center on Saturday, but the Colonials pulled away victorious, hanging on for their third straight win over a 2014 NCAA tournament team.

GW defeated Fresno State 73-64, led by senior guard Lauren Chase’s 22 points, which matches her career-high. Chase finished the game shooting 8-15 from the field with a 4-7 night at the charity stripe.

Chase got the ball rolling for the Colonials with a jumper and three pointer within the first five minutes of the contest. GW would take the first half by a slim 30-26 margin, after forcing 18 turnovers in the first half. Fresno State was able to keep it close by capitalizing on moments when the Colonials were out of sync with eight steals in the first half, GW head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. GW finished the game with 19 turnovers.

Lauren Chase dribbles the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored a game-high 22 points Saturday against Fresno State. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Lauren Chase dribbles the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored a game-high 22 points Saturday against Fresno State. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Fresh out of the locker room, Chase also notched the first of GW’s points in the second, with another shot beyond the arc. GW brought offensive intensity to extend to a 36-28 lead, as a quick layup by sophomore forward Caira Washington propelled the Colonials to an early eight-point advantage.

“The main thing was that we wanted to be aggressive, whether they were playing man or zone,” Chase said. “We needed to get the ball into the open spots, whether it’s getting it to our post players down low to get easy shots or just kicking it out, just making sure we’re moving the ball.”

The Colonials were perhaps most aggressive off the boards, out-rebounding their opponents for the eighth straight match. GW controlled the glass with a 47-32 margin, including a 24-8 mark off the offensive boards.

Washington paced the Colonials in rebounding, ending the game one point shy of a double-double with 14 rebounds and nine points.

“I think it makes you a harder team to guard when you know you are going to spend more time preparing to keep people off the glass,” Tsipis said. “It allows us on the defensive end to get out and transition more, which is how we want to play.”

Sophomore guard Hannah Schaible was active around the basket, getting seven rebounds despite just four points and elevating to retrieve her own offensive rebounds on a couple occasions. Freshman forward Kelli Prange was a deep threat in the second and shot an effortless three pointer to push the score to 50-39.

Still, the Bulldogs started to move in on the Colonials after Prange’s shot and brought the game to a 54-54 draw, forcing Tsipis to call a timeout to refocus his players.

After the timeout, GW retaliated and took a 58-57 lead with Jones dumping the ball in the basket through outstretched Bulldog arms and pulling away at the tail end of the game.

Senior guard Chakecia Miller knocked down four free throws within the last 17 seconds of the game to put the Colonials’ victory on ice.

Tsipis said the tough competition and versatility of opposition on a team like Fresno State should help the Colonials prepare for the conference season.

“We need to continue to understand that every one of these games, with the different styles that we are playing, is going to get us ready so that when we play teams in the [Atlantic] 10, we’re not caught off guard,” Tsipis said.

GW returns to action Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a match against crosstown rival Georgetown in the Smith Center.

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Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game earlier this season. Miller tied junior Jonquel Jones for a team-high 14 points in GW's win over Purdue Saturday. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a defender in a game earlier this season. Miller tied junior Jonquel Jones for a team-high 14 points in GW’s win over Purdue on Saturday. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Still in the adolescent stage of this season, women’s basketball can add a tournament title to its résumé.

The Colonials clinched the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division title with a domineering 79-59 win over Big 10 contender Purdue. Freeport native and junior forward Jonquel Jones received MVP of the division.

“Putting our team in that championship environment, to get them ready for where we hope they are at in March was a big part of this tournament,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “The opportunity with that and to bring Jonquel home, it was like playing a home game. The excitement level had a lot of an NCAA tournament-type feel to it.”

The Colonials got four players in double-figure scoring led by Jones and senior guard Chakecia Miller who tied for a team-high 14 points. Purdue finished with two double-digit scorers and shot just 34.5 percent for the game, bogged down by a 25 percent shooting mark in the first half. Overall, GW shot 50.8 percent from the field.

Jones scored all of her points in the second half, though she did have five of her game-high 14 rebounds in the first.

“I thought today she was more tentative in the first half than she was yesterday, but I think at halftime, she collected herself,” Tsipis said. “She could have very easily got down on herself and forced things in the second half, but I thought she was patient. I thought she got some things off the offensive glass, and I thought she really locked in defensively.”

GW ran Purdue off the court by a score of 36-19 in the first half, but Purdue fought back in the second with a 10-4 run to shrink GW’s lead to as little as eight.

Sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw helped GW retaliate with a three-pointer, which regained the double-digit lead, 55-43. She nailed the triple on an assist from sophomore guard Hannah Schaible, who had a shot herself but decided to throw the extra pass for the stronger look from Cranshaw.

The teams traded a few more shots, but as Jones heated up, the Colonials stretched the lead back out for the 20-point win.

GW out-rebounded Purdue by a 43-24 margin, but the Colonials’ struggles with turnovers continued. Both GW and Purdue tallied 11 steals on the night, but Purdue only forfeited 17 turnovers to the Colonials’ 24.

The Boilermakers were able to take advantage of their takeaways by scoring 21 points off the extra possessions, over a third of their points.

Tsipis said he was impressed with the intensity of his team for all 40 minutes in regulation, and that he is starting to see the focus on rebounding and quick transitions of a high-quality team.

The two wins in the tournament give the team momentum and confidence moving into the later portion of the non-conference schedule before Atlantic 10 play begins in January.

“Trying to challenge our team with the schedule early, playing at Florida Gulf Coast, hosting Maryland and playing in this tournament, you hope in the short term they understand they can compete with anyone on our schedule, and not just compete but also put themselves in a position to win,” Tsipis said.

The Colonials get a long rest after playing two games in two days, with the team hosting Fresno State at the Smith Center on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Jonquel Jones’ homecoming led women’s basketball (4-2) to a first-round win against N.C. State in the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport, Bahamas on Friday.

Jones, who is from Freeport, led all players with 22 points and was the Colonials’ leading rebounder with nine in the 74-66 win. In the final minutes of the game, she hit a fadeaway jumper to keep a three-possession lead for GW.

“Talk about having a country on your shoulders,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We ran a couple things for her, but I thought she played well within herself.”

Star forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket during a game last season. Hatchet File Photo

Star forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket during a game last season. Hatchet File Photo

After leading by as much as 14 in the second half, GW’s lead dwindled down to six points with 7:48 left to play after a 13-3 Wolfpack run. Tsipis attributed N.C. State’s comeback to foul trouble and turnovers down the stretch, but was happy with how his team responded. GW ended the game with 18 turnovers.

“I thought the best part of our composure was that we executed things,” Tsipis said. “They changed defenses and we were able to score against their zone and press, and I think that composure let us execute in the last three minutes.”

Sophomore Caira Washington was second on the team with 14 points and seven rebounds. Two other Colonials scored double digits: seniors Chakecia Miller and Lauren Chase had 11 and 10, respectively.

The strength of the bigs, particularly, helped GW rack up easy shots and extra possessions with a good rebounding game. The Colonials shot over 49 percent from the field and nearly 56 percent in the second half. They also dominated on the boards, out-rebounding N.C. State 41-28.

“I think in the second half, we jump out to the big lead because of getting to the glass and getting Jonquel and Caira shots in the right position,” Tsipis said.

Those advantages gave GW a 48-22 edge in points in the paint, as well as a 20-11 mark in second chance points. Four of Jones’ and three of Washington’s rebounds came off the offensive glass. Freshman Kelli Prange and Miller also each added six rebounds.

Prange and classmate Brianna Cummings played the majority of GW’s minutes off the bench, with Prange taking 16 and Cummings taking 27.

The four other reserves combined for 21 minutes of play for GW. N.C. State’s bench outscored the Colonials’ 29-15, though mostly on the strength of redshirt sophomore guard Dominique Wilson’s 21-point performance.

Outside Wilson, guard Miah Spencer and forward Jennifer Mathurin, the Wolfpack did not get much production. Spencer scored 18, though she had six turnovers, and Mathurin scored 12.

The Colonials will play Purdue on Saturday in the title game at 3:15 p.m. The Boilermakers defeated Texas Tech 69-53 Friday to advance.

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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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Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a Bowie State defender on Wednesday. Miller scored 10 points in GW's home opener win. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Senior Chakecia Miller drives past a Bowie State defender Wednesday. Miller scored 10 points in GW’s home opener win. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Through three games, GW has the Atlantic 10’s best point margin, clocking in at nearly 14 points more per game than opponents.

More noteworthy, though, is that the team is doing it while shooting in the middle of the pack, seventh in the conference with a 37 percent mark from the field.

While the team is clearly scoring, it isn’t sharp-shooting its way to success. Instead, GW is using an active defense to fuel its offense and filling the stat sheet, especially with a strong perimeter defense. That’s what the team did in its home opener Wednesday, when GW overpowered Bowie State (Division II) 88-45.

The Colonials’ game plan was to field a multi-dimensional defense: boxing out in the paint and forcing turnovers around the perimeter. GW caused 28 Bowie State turnovers during the game and scored 31 points off the extra possessions.

“I thought we were active defensively. We pushed in transition how we liked, we attacked. We didn’t allow them to get set in a defense even when they were trying to get in the zone early on because of how the posts were running, how the wings were running,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.

The Colonials amassed more than triple the steals of their opponent, forcing the team to rely on scoring in the paint, where Bowie State was only outscored 28-34, but refusing them anything else. GW stole the ball 19 times to Bowie State’s six.

That was perhaps to be expected: The Colonials also lead the league in steals, averaging over 13 per game, nearly three more than the second-ranked team, VCU. GW is also ranked second in turnover margin, getting four more than they give per game.

Those numbers illustrate that, to date, the perimeter defense has been airtight, especially in protecting the three pointer. Bowie State made just one of seven attempts from downtown, while American made just one of 11 attempts.

There’s definitely a flip side: In GW’s sole loss against Florida Gulf Coast University, the Eagles shot nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc and made seven threes, a critical component of the team’s win over the Colonials.

Lauren Chase File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Lauren Chase had 10 assists in GW’s home opener win. File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

“We have been able to chase people off the three point line,” Tsipis said. “We are making people shoot contested threes, which leads to a long shot or long rebound that can really help us get out and get in transition.”

Senior Lauren Chase acted as the floor general, completing 10 assists by reading the floor and feeding the post. Tsipis said she made great decisions and achieved his goal of 10 assists, hitting seven within the first 10 minutes of play.

When the Colonials seek revenge Saturday against No. 9 Maryland for the Terps’ blowout win over GW last year, Tsipis said the team will focus on staying steady at the line, minimizing fouls and continuing fast transitions.

“We need to be able to guard better with our feet. We are still putting arms on people and we fouled a couple jump shooters tonight,” Tsipis said.

Against a top team like the Terps, foul trouble could spell the GW’s demise. But more important, perhaps, could be the Colonials’ ability to continue making the outside unfriendly territory as the team faces its first true test at home. Tip-off is Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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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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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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