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Senior guard Lauren Chase reels in the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored 16 points and dished out five assists as the Colonials took control in overtime at Richmond Thursday to win 81-69. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Senior guard Lauren Chase reels in the ball in a game earlier this season. Chase scored 16 points and dished out five assists as the Colonials took control in overtime at Richmond Thursday to win 81-69. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

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.”

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Chakecia Miller looks to pass a ball during GW's win over Fordham. Miller had 10 points and 5 assists during the game. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Chakecia Miller looks to pass a ball during GW’s win over Fordham. Miller had 10 points and five assists during the game Saturday. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet Staff writer Alex Kist.

After a nearly silent first half, junior forward Jonquel Jones exploded in the second, tallying 16 points in five minutes to lead the Colonials to an 83-65 win over Fordham on Saturday.

The team’s leading scorer also broke GW’s standing record of 8-8 from the field set by Anna Montañana in 2003, after knocking down 10 shots in 10 attempts. Jones’ performance against Fordham marks the fourth perfect game of 5-5 or better in program history.

With solid entry passes from the guards, Jones strung together her perfect game from different angles, including two three-point plays.

“Everything just felt right. Here in the first half, things didn’t go the way I would like them to go, but my teammates kept telling me to just stay in it and my coaches kept telling me to just stay engaged on the bench,” Jones said. “And we all did what was necessary. It all came together and it was just fun.”

Jones’ game was even more impressive considering that Fordham is one of the best defensive teams in the Atlantic 10. GW’s 18-point lead at the final whistle was the largest lead Fordham has allowed all season.

Ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense, the Rams allow a league-low average of 53.3 points per game. But the Colonials controlled the tempo out of the gate and found open holes on the floor, leading to easy shots and shutting down Fordham’s usually stifling defense.

Sophomore forward Caira Washington and senior guard Chakecia Miller led the charge in the first, each hitting jumpers early, and combining for 28 points on the day.

The Rams were able to rally and bring the contest within five after an and one and another free throw, closing the gap to 18-13. But the Colonials retained the lead throughout the half and finished on top 41-35. Smart ball movement was also key throughout as GW finished the game with 21 assists and only 13 turnovers.

“I’m pleased with being able to have the maturity and focus to have a three-game stretch where you are playing three in seven days, third week of February,” Tsipis said. “It’s a taxing time. Obviously, you’ve got to take care of your body physically and mentally, but you’ve got to be sharp.”

The second half belonged to Jones, but a couple of three-pointers by sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw and freshman forward Kelli Prange helped GW jump to a 49-38 lead.

An accurate assist by sophomore guard Hannah Schaible set up Jones for her first easy layup of the half. With GW up by 15, Fordham called a timeout to regroup and refocus.

But with momentum on the Colonials’ side, the Rams were not able to close the gap. Nine GW points in the following three minutes helped the team pull away.

Jones was instrumental in helping her team clinch a 20-point lead, its largest of the game, after a 13-point run. After Jones’ shooting streak, GW was able to finish with 42 points in the paint and a 52.2 shooting percentage.

Tsipis said selflessness is one of the greatest contributors to the team’s success this season, especially in the game against Fordham.

“Our kids did a great job today playing together,” Tsipis said. “I think the heart of our team is that we are very unselfish and willing to get the best shot.”

The Colonials return to action Thursday when they face Richmond on the road at 7 p.m.

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Senior guard Lauren Chase was one of four Colonials to score in double figures in GW's win over VCU Wednesday. Chase scored eight of her 10 points in the second half of the 65-57 victory. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Senior guard Lauren Chase was one of four Colonials to score in double figures in GW’s win over VCU Wednesday. Chase scored eight of her 10 points in the second half of the 65-57 victory. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

The Colonials owned a strong 17 point lead with 5:50 left in regulation, but GW (23-3, 12-1 A-10) couldn’t send its starters to the bench to finish out the last moments of the game.

VCU chipped away at GW’s lead by capitalizing on a 9-0 scoring drought and sinking clutch shots from the perimeter. The Rams were able to cut lead to 61-56, but head coach Jonathan Tsipis knew what he needed to do to keep his team in the driver’s seat.

But VCU’s drive was immediately shut down when senior guard Lauren Chase finished with a dagger to kick the lead back out to eight after head coach Jonathan Tsipis called a timeout to help his team refocus and close out the game.

The Colonials pulled out the 65-57 victory by penetrating the zone, controlling the pace of the game and crashing the boards to get second and third chance opportunities.

The dynamic duo of posts junior Jonquel Jones and sophomore Caira Washington both notched double-doubles on the night, contributing 31 points and 30 boards combined.

Even though Washington reached some foul trouble early, racking up three in the first half, she was able to use her height advantage to drive in the basket and box out for rebounds including seven off the offensive glass.

“I knew that they were going to switch screens and I would have a smaller guard on me, so I took advantage of that and tried to get to the basket,” Washington said. “Our guards did a good job of looking for us, both me, J.J. and Kelli.”

Even though Jones and Washington were the statistical leaders, Tsipis said sophomore guard Hannah Schaible was the one who got the ball rolling for the Colonials in the first half. Schaible finished the night with 13 points and eight rebounds.

“The activity level was good from the start,” Tsipis said. “And I thought Hannah Schaible set that tone. She was ready to shoot, she was hunting down loose balls and getting those offensive rebounds.”

VCU had good hustle and raw physicality, but the team did not have the numbers to shake GW. The Colonials had composure and patience from the line where they shot 81 percent while the Rams were a shaky 42 percent from the stripe.

With only three games left to scout in the regular season, Tsipis said he is confident his team will be prepared to matchup against Fordham, who currently sits in the fourth spot in the conference leaderboard, on Saturday at 2 p.m..

The Colonials solidified a top four seed with a bye in the tournament with the win, but Tsipis said his players have a lot of pride and will do whatever it takes to clinch the No. 1 seed.

“My concern is more ‘are we ready for a really good Fordham team that we’ve not had a chance to play at home yet since I’ve been here?’,” Tsipis said. “You have to protect your home court and we need to continue to play our best basketball as we head into the tournament.”

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Junior Jonquel Jones jumps for a layup in the Colonials' 70-48 win over St. Bonaventure on Sunday. Jones posted her 15th double-double of the season with 17 rebounds and 13 points. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior Jonquel Jones jumps for a layup in the Colonials’ 70-48 win over St. Bonaventure on Sunday. Jones posted her 15th double-double of the season with 17 rebounds and 13 points. Desiree Halpern | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

No. 20 women’s basketball returned to its winning ways in dominating fashion at the Smith Center today, defeating St. Bonaventure 70-48.

Junior Jonquel Jones posted her 15th double-double of the year with 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, and added a season high eight assists. Sophomore Caira Washington also recorded a double-double, as she led all players with 18 points and tallied 11 rebounds.

“It was a fun game to be out there and bounce back after the game we had in Saint Louis,” Jones said. “We had a lot of things we wanted to focus on and things we wanted to get better.”

With the win, GW improves to 22-3 overall and 11-1 in Atlantic 10 conference play.

“We needed to be better the last couple of days and that would play into today,” said head coach Jonathan Tsipis. “I’m really proud of our group and how they were able to be what you’ve seen a GW women’s basketball team be all year.”

The Colonials controlled the paint, out-rebounding the Bonnies 57-31 for the game. They held a 34-12 scoring advantage in the paint and a 22-3 scoring advantage on second chance points. GW shot 40 percent from the field.

Tsipis said he was happy with the way the defense responded after Saint Louis snapped his team’s 19-game win streak on Saturday, saying it was back to its “customary level.” The Colonials held the Bonnies to only 28 percent shooting and only 24 points in each half. However, St. Bonaventure hit 41 percent from three-point range, making seven three-pointers.

“We didn’t let any of the threes drain us,” Tsipis said. “On Wednesday after Saint Louis hit them there was frustration. But even when it was at 11-11 early today it was at our pace.”

GW went into the half on a 26-13 run over the final 13:10 to build a 37-24 lead. The Colonials shot 45.5 percent from the field, while holding the Bonnies to 32.3 percent. GW dominated on the glass, holding a 26-13 rebound advantage.

Similarly, GW outscored the Bonnies 16-6 in the paint, and 10-3 on the second chance in the first half.

“We were shooting really well,” said sophomore Hannah Schaible, who had 13 points. “That plays into a snowball effect of being able to hit certain people and play off the defense.”

Washington led all players with 10 points on five for six shooting, and added six rebounds. Jones was close behind with nine points, and tallied a first half high eight rebounds. Miller lead all players with four first half assists, and added four points and three turnovers.

“We need to make sure our practice translates to the game,” Washington said of the plan for the stretch run. “That’s running the floor, guards pushing it, and our bench being just as active as people on the floor.”

GW returns to action on Wednesday to face VCU on the road at 7 p.m.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

For the first time since Nov. 22 of last year, No. 20 women’s basketball lost a game.

Falling to St. Louis 79-61 Wednesday night on the road, the Colonials (21-3, 10-1 A-10) snapped a 19-game winning streak and conceded their first loss in Atlantic 10 play.

St. Louis (12-12, 5-6 A-10) hadn’t defeated a ranked opponent since Jan. 24, 2003 when the team took down No. 20 DePaul, and entered the contest sitting in the bottom half of the conference, but came out strong to secure the 18-point victory.

“I felt from the opening tip that we were not mentally and physically ready to play the same way St. Louis was,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “It was 17-2 to start the game. They were the aggressors in everything they did.”

Sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw led the Colonials with 12 points, all scored on her four three-pointers, tying a career high. Senior guard Lauren Chase added 10 points and four assists, while junior forward Jonquel Jones led the game with 14 rebounds and put up eight points.

St. Louis controlled the game from the very beginning, as the Colonials went 1-11 from the field out of the gate, compared to 7-11 for St. Louis. The Billikens’ onslaught did not waver after halftime either: They outscored the Colonials 51-36 in the second half of a game in which GW never led and the score was tied just once.

“We work our offense through Jonquel and Caira and Kelli, and that didn’t get started early. We were kind of dazed when that didn’t work,” Tsipis said.

St. Louis was able to build up what would eventually become a 22-point lead in part because of three-point shooting. St. Louis shot 58 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 11 threes compared to GW’s five. St. Louis also shot 75 percent from the free throw line, while GW shot 55 percent.

“We had some defensive lapses, and they were able to exploit it and knock down some jumpers,” Jones said. “On our end we just have to handle our defense and build from there.”

Despite the loss, the Colonials still managed to out-rebound St. Louis 36-31 and outscore them in the paint 34-22 and 11-5 on second-chance points. However, the Billikens were able to score 20 points off of 19 GW turnovers.

GW entered the first half down 28-25 after a last-second St. Louis three-pointer. However, GW ended the half on a 18-10 run over the final 8:50. Cranshaw led the Colonials in first-half points with six after hitting two threes. Jones led all players with six rebounds in the first 20 minutes, and added three points and three assists. Both teams shot 38 percent in the first half.

With three days before the next game, Tsipis is already looking for ways to get the team back on the winning track.

“We have to be better defensively,” Tsipis said. “We weren’t at our best offensively and we still scored 61 points.”

The Colonials return to action Sunday to face St. Bonaventure at the Smith Center.

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The deafening roar of some 2,000 local school children filled the Smith Center on Thursday as women’s basketball secured its 18th consecutive victory with a 52-35 win over Davidson on Field Trip Day.

The win is GW’s first since earning the No. 24 spot in the AP Top 25 Poll on Monday and its 20th win on the season. The Colonials haven’t been ranked since 2008.

“It was great to play in front of such an energetic crowd,” junior forward Jonquel Jones said. “The kids were so happy to be there and it just made you appreciate the game even more, just seeing their joy.”

Like the young fans in attendance, Jones had plenty of energy on the court, notching her 13th double-double of the season while contributing 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. She shared the top-scoring spot with sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw, who tied her career-high with four three-pointers on the day.

“We knew Davidson would zone us and that’s a credit to our post play,” Cranshaw said. “I knew that I would be open so my teammates did a really good job of getting me the ball. There were times where I didn’t even get a hand in my face, and coach Tsipis told me I had to be shot ready, so I made those adjustments in the second half.”

But while Cranshaw, who was averaging just 5.8 points per game coming into the contest, found her stride, the team as a whole could not.

For just the fourth time all season, the Colonials would finish shooting under 35 percent from the field, going 22-66 on the day despite averaging 43 percent on the season. The 52 points GW recorded were also its fewest all season, but head coach Jonathan Tsipis wasn’t worried.

“There weren’t a lot of shots today that were over-contested where they should have made an extra pass, and our kids know that. They’re still very unselfish,” Tsipis said. “I think we just have to understand that every game isn’t going to be as pretty offensively as it was the other night against George Mason.”

Defensively, however, the Colonials dominated: The team was able to hold the Wildcats to 26.3 percent shooting from the field on the day, with Davidson only hitting six of 31 in the second half.

Despite owning the Atlantic 10’s worst scoring margin, the Wildcats were shooting 32.1 percent from three-point range to the Colonials’ 28.4 percent heading into Thursday. But GW was able to shut down Davidson’s long game and hold top-scoring forwards Hannah Early and Mackenzie Latt to a combined 11 points.

“Defensively, I think we accomplished a lot of the goals we set specifically for that game,” Tsipis said. “Collectively as a team, we did a good job of guarding Hannah Early and forcing her into tough, contested shots and limiting [Davidson] to one shot, with them only having six offensive rebounds.”

Committing five turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Colonials struggled out of the gate. After taking an early 7-2 lead, GW allowed the Wildcats to get back in it and soon trailed by one midway through the frame.

But the short-lived Davidson lead would be its only one of the day as the Colonials quickly picked up their play on both ends of the court. Sophomore guard Hannah Schaible would lead her team with nine first-half points as the Colonials headed into halftime up 31-23.

A 9-0 run to begin the second half propelled GW to a 17-point lead that would not falter for the rest of the game. Schaible would be the third Colonial to finish scoring in double figures, posting 11 points and adding a game-high four steals.

“I thought [Schaible’s] energy level was outstanding,” Tsipis said. “She leads the team, if not the A-10 in floor burns and bruises because she is willing to give up her body on every single play, and I think that becomes contagious.”

Despite the lackluster shooting, the Colonials were able to assist 17 of their 22 made field goals, and win the day’s rebounding battle 47-40.

The Colonials continue their home stand Sunday at noon when they take on second-place Dayton, who they narrowly edged 69-66 in the teams’ first meeting last month.

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Junior Jonquel Jones had 22 points and 17 rebounds on Wednesday night as the Colonials defeated the Dukes 83-56. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Junior Jonquel Jones had 22 points and 17 rebounds in the Colonials’ victory over the Dukes earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rob Bartnichak.

Dominant teams often have boldface names on their rosters that are the keys to their success.

GW gets that in junior Naismith trophy candidate Jonquel Jones. She can post a double-double at will, and her dominance is obvious after six Atlantic 10 Player of the Week awards. But what’s less obvious is Jones has done it while playing just under 26 minutes a game. In the backcourt and up and down the roster, depth has pushed the Colonials to their first national ranking in seven years.

“Everyone’s running, so we always have fresh legs in the game,” senior guard Lauren Chase said. “Everyone knows all the plays, everyone is clicking on all cylinders, and we all have great chemistry on and off the court.”

No GW player ranks in the league’s top 10 in minutes per game, and nine players are averaging double-digit minutes per game, two of whom – Kelli Prange and Brianna Cummings – are freshmen.

The inside-outside balance doesn’t necessarily show itself in who is scoring, but nearly everyone is putting up big numbers for GW in some category.

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis has repeatedly said the paint is the most important part of GW’s offensive play. But he also said after the team’s victories over La Salle and George Mason that the perimeter could open things up for Jones, Caira Washington and Prange.

“Knowing our offense runs through the post and not [relying] on the perimeter will increase our perimeter players’ shooting percentage and afford them more opportunities for assists,” Tsipis said.

The team is ranked third in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.9) despite having the second-most turnovers in the conference (391). GW is first in the A-10 in assists per game (17.5) and is also first in shooting percentage (.428).

Senior Chakecia Miller dribbles past Duqesne's defense Wednesday night. The Colonials squashed the Dukes 83-56, remaining undefeated in conference play. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Senior Chakecia Miller dribbles past Duquesne’s defense earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

“They’re making smart passes,” Jones said of the guards. “Sometimes as post players you want the ball, but you can’t see everything because your back is to the play, so they’re making smart decisions.”

The guards individually have also had success. While none of them rank as top scorers in the conference, seniors Chase and Chakecia Miller rank fourth (4.7) and sixth (3.9) in assists per game, respectively. The two are in the top 10 for assist-to-turnover ratio, with Miller at four and Chase at six.

And the group has gotten involved in defensive play: Miller ranks third in the conference in steals (2.3), while sophomore Hannah Schaible is fifth (2 steals per game).

But the Colonials do seem to lack in three-point shooting. Despite sophomore Shannon Cranshaw’s team-leading 26 three pointers, she is the only Colonial averaging more than one per game. The team is 12th in the conference in three-point shooting percentage. Still, Tsipis has pointed to the fact that perimeter players have successfully worked the ball to open players when the three pointers aren’t falling.

Even with the prominent frontcourt, GW basketball fans should keep an eye on the players finding the open spaces. It just might be a different person every time.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Junior Jonquel Jones had 22 points and 17 rebounds on Wednesday night as the Colonials defeated the Dukes 83-56. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Junior Jonquel Jones shoots over Duquesne defenders in a game earlier this season. File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Women’s basketball has toppled its opponent by more than 19 points for the third time in conference play this season.

On the road this Saturday, the Colonials stomped over the Patriots by 35 points, winning 87-52 to secure their 17th consecutive victory and remain undefeated in the Atlantic 10.

With a week off to refresh mentally, the Colonials took down their DMV rival for the 15th time since 1976. Three players scored in double digits, contributing to the team’s 46.5 shooting percentage from the field on the day to George Mason’s 26.7 percent.

The consistent frontcourt of sophomore Caira Washington and junior Jonquel Jones did not fail to produce, racking up 29 points from the field and combining for 15 rebounds on the day. Senior guard Lauren Chase added to the play of the forwards, pacing all guards with 11 points and five assists. Chase leads a deep backcourt that has helped the Colonials outscore their opponents’ benches in the last seven games.

“I think we [guards] have been performing well and getting out in transition, setting each other up in terms of dishing out our assists,” Chase said. “Just doing the little things has really made an impact on guard play.”

GW marched to a 10-2 lead early in the first after sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw, who put up nine points on the day, knocked down one from the free throw line. Four minutes in, Jones notched her first contribution of the game after going coast to coast to fire up a jumper that elevated GW to a 14-4 advantage. Jones, who has been named A-10 player of the week six times so far this season, would finish with 14 points, seven rebounds and one assist.

Although the Patriots did a good job of breaking the defensive press in the first half, speed was not enough for George Mason to match up against tough GW posts who dominated off the glass.

With an aggressive defensive and spreadable offense, the Colonials propelled to a 46-24 lead and forced 20 turnovers before heading into the locker room.

The second half proved to be no different, as George Mason struggled to find a rhythm in the lopsided affair. The Patriots would get into foul trouble early in the second half, allowing GW to kick the lead out to 59-37 after an easy layup from freshman guard Brianna Cummings.

GW’s bench also helped the team on the offensive end, as the Colonials’ reserves outscored those of the Patriots 37-12. And even when George Mason did add pressure from the perimeter, Chase was able to get passes to the inside and find open shooters.

“Lauren did a great job in the first half coming off the ball screen. They really went on her low and she got in the lane and opened up for her a full on jumper,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “In the second half when she was in, they played a little bit more zone and she ended up with five assists and no turnovers. She just put herself in a good position to score.”

Later in the contest, junior guard Alexis Chandler grabbed an offensive board to boost GW to 63-39 and forced the Patriots to call a timeout. Without being able to turn the court into a workable playing field, George Mason couldn’t mount a comeback as freshman forward Mia Farmer shot a flawless three pointer to close out the game.

It looked like the Colonials were able to maximize their week off, as Tsipis said he was most impressed by his team’s aggressive play.

“We took Sunday and Monday off, and I think it’s really important when they are able to take a weekend day off that they are able to refresh and reenergize,” Tsipis said. “We got the chance to work on ourselves, as opposed to a specific game plan or running things for an opponent.”

GW returns to action on Thursday to host A-10 newcomer Davidson at 11 a.m.

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Junior Jonquel Jones receives the ball outside the paint in GW's last home game against Duquesne. Jones contributed a game-high 16 rebounds in GW's 67-48 win over La Salle on Saturday. The Colonials tallied 63 boards in the game, the most since 2008. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.

Junior Jonquel Jones receives the ball outside the paint in GW’s last home game against Duquesne. Jones contributed a game-high 16 rebounds in GW’s 67-48 win over La Salle on Saturday. The Colonials tallied 63 boards in the game, the most since 2008. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

Despite shooting just 27.5 percent from the field, the Colonials’ defense was able to create turnovers and dominate the glass to help earn GW a 67-48 victory at La Salle on Saturday afternoon.

Junior forward Jonquel Jones notched her seventh double-double of the season with a team-high 12 points and 16 rebounds, followed closely by freshman Kelli Prange, who added 11 points and eight rebounds.

Although La Salle was physical down low early in the first half, GW was patient and regained its footing in the paint to lead by as much as 20 points in the second. After a three from freshman Mia Farmer closed out the game, the Colonials had secured their 16th consecutive win.

“[La Salle] wasn’t really doing anything special. I just felt like our shots weren’t dropping,” Jones said. “The shots that we took in the first half were the same shots that we always take, so we needed to rely on our defense.”

To open the first frame, GW ran a man defense to test La Salle’s speed. The Explorers started with a strong tempo and were within a possession six minutes into the game, but were not able to compete against the Colonials’ pressure on defense. GW finished with 14 steals and an obscene 63 rebounds, the most in a game since 2008, with the frontcourt of Jones, sophomore Caira Washington and Prange leading the pack with a combined 32 boards.

Even when shots were not falling in the their favor, the Colonials made sure they got extra chances. The Explorers struggled to get set in the half court without coughing up the ball, which helped GW accumulate 18 points off turnovers.

“I think we had a really good awareness in the press and in the half-court defense, [we knew] where our help had to come from,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “People really understood their assignments.”

Eventually the ball did start to roll for the Colonials. As La Salle’s posts failed to be alert and ready to receive the ball, the Colonials were able to capitalize on the Explorers’ turnovers and close out the half up 35-20. The Explorers finished the game with 24 giveaways after averaging only 15 per game on the season. They had 17 at halftime.

During the break, Tsipis told his team to concentrate on getting more offensive rebounds to attain second-chance points, as his team did not execute in transition the way that he wanted them to in the first.

The Colonials listened, coming out of the break with a full-court press. Riding the momentum, back-to-back makes by Jones and sophomore guard Shannon Cranshaw forced La Salle to call a timeout with GW up by 19.

Despite being 2-8 on the season when they are trailing at the half, the Explorers began gaining momentum with three-point shooting in the second and were able close the gap to 41-31. But La Salle’s drive was short lived as players began rushing their opportunities to ultimately shoot just 25.8 percent after halftime.

A few plays later, GW’s posts spread the floor, allowing freshman guard Brianna Cummings to drive the lane. She was fouled on the way in, knocked down two shots from the line and propelled GW back to a strong, 47-31 advantage that kept growing.

With a week of practice before GW’s next contest, Tsipis said his team will work on meshing offensive execution with perimeter defense and rebounding to prepare for the upcoming schedule.

“You only get one bye during the A-10 season, and I think we spend time during the first part of the week on conditioning and getting lifts in, but its just as important that we get a mental break,” Tsipis said.

The Colonials will return to action Saturday to take on George Mason in Fairfax, Va. at 2 p.m.

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Senior guard Lauren Chase was part of a core group of perimeter defenders that held Duquesne to its lowest shooting percentage on 3-pointers since the A-10 tournament last year. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.

Senior guard Lauren Chase was part of a core group of perimeter defenders that held Duquesne to its lowest shooting percentage on 3-pointers since the A-10 tournament last year. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor.


This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

The leading scorer for the Dukes sank a 3-pointer from the top of key, draining it over the outstretched hand of Jonquel Jones.

Nothing too out of the norm for Duquesne – the Atlantic 10’s top 3-point shooting team – but it was anything but the usual Wednesday night in the Smith Center as the Colonials locked down.

“We turned it up another level today,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said of his defense.

Star guard April Robinson made her team’s first trey of the game with 5:30 to play, down 70-44. The Colonials, now ranked nationally at No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, were well on their way to their 15th straight win. Robinson hit one more in the final minutes, irrelevant in the 83-56 blowout.

The Dukes finished 2-13 from behind the line, good for 15.4 percent. Heading into the game, Duquesne was first in the conference with a 36.3 3-point field goal percentage, second in scoring offense at 74.9 points per game and near the top of many of the league’s rebounding and assists numbers. An all around good offensive team.

Their problem? They ran into a GW team that is not only tied for first with the Duke Blue Devils for the best rebounding margin in the nation, but a Colonials crew that put some defensive lapses on the road behind them and turned them into critical points at home.

Before heading out on a two-game road trip to Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Tsipis had a long talk with his players about where they were in the league defensively. But in truth it was the Colonials offense that was showcased on the trip and the team leaned on scoring potency instead of stopping their opposition.

That changed back in the Smith Center, as depth and speed caused trouble for Duquesne in the Smith Center. Guards like sophomores Hannah Schaible and Shannon Cranshaw, senior Chakecia Miller and senior Lauren Chase helped extend the GW defense. The Dukes attempted seven threes in the first half, but rarely with an open look.

“All of a sudden to know, we have the depth right now where we can play people for three and a half to four minute spurts and they can play as hard as possible and as locked in, and we’re going to get them a break,” Tsipis said. “And to be able to do that on the defensive end and then the ability to get out and run in transition.”

Schaible credited “intelligent play,” and an in depth scouting report from assistant coach Bill Ferrara shaped a diligent defense.

“Whether it’s a shooter or a driver, we were set and basically knew what we had to do to keep them at bay and win the game,” Jones said, who finished with 22 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks.

Every player on the court for Duquesne had an individual scouting report, one that prompted players to go under the screen on some ball screens and over on others, like with Robinson.

“We focused a lot on chasing them off the 3-point line so that they can’t even get those shots up,” Schaible said.

Chasing was the keyword, one that Tsipis used as well. The man to man defense spread into a full court zone for long stretches in the first half, creating turnovers and forcing shooters into an unnatural spot in the half court. Guards would often extend out to the 3-point line when defending the basket.

The last time Duquesne finished with such a low 3-point field goal percentage was against Fordham last year in the A-10 tournament, hitting 1-11 then. GW has had one of the top 3-point field defenses all season long. They are second in the conference, allowing opponents just a 26 percent accuracy rate on the three.

Though players like Jones get much of the credit for the number in front of GW’s name, all 14 Colonials on the active roster got a piece of the action, able to defend the target now on their back.

“You saw today there was a tremendous amount of pride that we put ourselves in position to be successful,” Tsipis said. “One through 14, they all knew exactly what those kids could do. It’s one thing to know, it’s a second to carry it out.

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