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Couldn’t watch the basketball teams’ media day? Both men’s head coach Mike Lonergan and women’s head coach Jonathan Tsipis spoke to the press about their upcoming seasons.

Tsipis spoke about building his program back up to the historical strength of GW women’s basketball and the strength of his freshmen class. Tsipis’ team was picked to finish second by other Atlantic 10 coaches.

Lonergan talked about how his team will perform with higher expectations – they were also picked to finish second in the A-10 – and how the return of projected top-100 scorer Kethan Savage will impact the team.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti

The women’s basketball team added a fifth piece to its highly touted recruiting class, signing Colombian guard Camila Tapias to a National Letter of Intent, the athletics department announced Friday.

Tapias, a 5-foot-6 combo guard and native of Bogotá, is a smooth-stroking lefty with deep range. Tapias led IMG Academy with 14.5 points, 5.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game, while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Tapias, who reportedly had offers from Georgetown, Auburn and San Diego State, will be added to a Colonials backcourt that has major shoes to fill with the graduations of Danni Jackson and Megan Nipe, who left gaps on the perimeter for the Colonials.

“[Tapias] is a talented left-handed player who will be able to score in a variety of ways in our high-scoring offense,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release. “With the graduation of [Jackson and Nipe], we are excited to add Cami to our talented core of perimeter players that will make up the 2014-15 roster.”

Tapias also has experience in the international circuit. She was the second best scorer in the world at the 2012 FIBA Americas Championships and led the Columbian U-18 National Team by averaging 15.0 points and three three-point field goals per game.

Tapias joins guards Brianna Cummings and Mia Farmer as well as post players Jada Matthews and Kelli Prange, who all signed letters of intent during the early signing period last November. The quartet had already been ranked as the Atlantic 10’s top recruiting class and the No. 41 recruiting class in the nation by Blue Star Report, prior to the addition of Tapias.

“[Tapias'] addition to our 2014 class gives us the ability to score the basketball from all over the floor,” Tsipis said. “[Tapias] joins [Matthews, Farmer, Prange and Cummings] as players who have been successful at a high level, and we are excited to coach them for the next four years.”

The new additions will join a Colonials squad that finished last season 23-11, a nine-win improvement from a year ago.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti

Who: GW (20-9, 11-5) vs. Saint Joseph’s (22-8, 10-6)

Where: Richmond Coliseum (Richmond, VA)

When: Friday, March 7 at 2:30 p.m.

The Colonials will search for their first Atlantic 10 Conference quarterfinals victory since 2008 against defending conference champion Saint Joseph’s Friday.

The fifth-seeded Lady Hawks earned a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals after toppling No. 12 George Mason 89-55 Thursday.

Case for Saint Joseph’s:

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis said he expects the Lady Hawks to play with a chip on their shoulder in defense of their league title.

“This is their championship to defend and until somebody beats them, they are the defending champions,” Tsipis said Thursday.

GW will be the more well rested team Friday, but in Saint Joseph’s conserved energy in their romp over the Patriots – no one played more than 30 minutes for the Lady Hawks.

Saint Joseph’s is lead by Erin Shields, who averages just over 15 points per game and leads the conference in threes per game. Shields scored 21 points back on Jan 22. when the Hawks defeated the Colonials 76-69 at the smith center.

Tsipis said he thinks both his team and the Lady Hawks have zoned in on their transition games since that meeting which could allow Shields to light it up from beyond the arc.

Shields received a spot on the all-conference second team, joined by her teammate Natasha Cloud, who was also named the A-10′s Defensive Player of the Year.

Cloud’s stellar defense helped Saint Joseph’s put GW in an early hole in their last matchup when the Colonials shot under 25 percent in the first half. The junior guard is also second in the nation in assists, averaging 7.9 per game.

Case for GW:

The Colonials split a pair of regular season matchups with the Lady Hawks, however their loss to Saint Joseph’s came without the play of sophomore Jonquel Jones and an uncharacteristic performance form graduate student Megan Nipe who saw limited playing time due to a nagging knee injury.

Fresh off beating No. 21 Dayton using a balanced attack featuring both scorers, GW should have a more potent offense in the rubber match.

Even without Nipe in the lineup, GW topped Saint Joseph’s 74-67 on the road earlier this season.

A big part of that win against the Lady Hawks was holding Shields to 1-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Graduate student Danni Jackson also adjusted well to guarding her in the teams’ second meeting, holding her to just eight points in the second half, six of them coming from the free throw line.

The Colonials, who Tsipis described as “playing our best basketball,” will have the added advantage of rest afforded by the double bye GW earned by ending the regular season as the fourth best team in the conference.

GW has the tools to get a win Friday, which would most likely put them up against Dayton in the semifinals on Saturday. But as much of the regular season has shown, anything can happen in the postseason.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

Freshman forward Caira Washington earned Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Week honors for the third time this season after helping the Colonials to a perfect 2-0 weekend.

Washington averaged a double-double with 19.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in wins over VCU and Massachusetts. She also added 2.5 blocks per game, including four big denials against a powerful Rams offense Thursday.

Against UMass Saturday, Washington had a career night, scoring 25 points while grabbing 16 rebounds in a 78-54 win. Saturday’s performance marked Washington’s ninth double-double of the season, a team best.

Freshman Caira Washington goes up for a shot earlier this season. She earned her third A-10 Rookie of the Week Award Monday. Hatchet File Photo

Freshman Caira Washington goes up for a shot earlier this season. She earned her third A-10 Rookie of the Week Award Monday. Hatchet File Photo

Washington couldn’t say which part of her stat line she was most proud of, but she gave credit to her teammates for helping her get there.

“They’re both exciting numbers. I have a great team, great guards who find me on open looks and with [Jonquel Jones] and [DaLacy Anderson] being there on the boards helping me get tips and the extra looks on offense and defense it makes it much easier for me to go to the boards,” Washington said after Saturday’s win over the Minutewomen.

The Brandywine, Md. native shot an impressive 73.9 percent from the floor during the week, as her consistent inside presence kept the Colonials on track during slow starts in both games.

Washington is averaging 11.9 points and a conference-best 9.2 rebounds for the season. Her 57 percent field goal percentage and 3.8 offensive rebounds per game also lead the A-10.

The women’s basketball team will return to action Saturday, where they will play a road game against Richmond at 2 p.m.

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Sophomore forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket Saturday night against the VCU Rams. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sophomore Forward Jonquel Jones charges to the basket Saturday night against the VCU Rams. Aly Kruse | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti.

Entering Wednesday’s game, GW and VCU had similar conference resumes. Sitting back-to-back in the conference standings and similar overall records, the two teams took to the Smith Center floor with the second and third best offenses in the Atlantic 10.

But the Colonials put some space between them and the Rams with an 80-62 victory, and they did it with a balanced offense and suffocating defense.

GW’s man-to-man defense forced the Rams into off-balanced shots, and held them to just over 25 percent shooting on the night. The Colonials on the other hand would shoot almost 49 percent from the field. GW arms were a constantly in the face of ball-handlers, skying for rebounds or contesting shots on VCU possessions all night.

“The man to man tonight, especially in the first half, was as good as we’ve seen it all season,” said head coach Jonathan Tsipis.

A-10 leading scorer Robyn Parks was averaging over 22 points per game at tipoff, but was held to just 13 Wednesday on 4-21 shooting. She was nowhere to be found as her team tried to get going, scoring her first points from the field with less than nine minutes left to play.

“I think she’s a very athletic player,” graduate student Megan Nipe said. “We had to stick to our fundamentals bigtime and not put her on the free throw line too much and I think we did a really good job of that tonight.”

The game wasn’t always well in hand for GW (17-8, 8-4), however. They were down by as many as nine points early in the first half, the VCU (18-7, 6-6) surge fueled by early turnovers and frantic play in the halfcourt.

But the Colonials would eventually settle down with help from their veteran in Nipe. The six-foot guard, who had a game high 19 points, started raining three’s for the Colonials, and would finish 5-9 from beyond the arc on the night. Nipe’s offensive push was echoed by the GW frontcourt pitching in layups, and combined with VCU missing shots the Colonials found themselves in front.

Not only did Nipe redeem herself after an uncharacteristic two point performance in a loss to Fordham, she exhibited poise when she didn’t play her best to begin the game, which seemed to be contagious as the team didn’t panic and turned the game around.

“I actually came out in this game and had a rough start as well with a missed three, a foul and a turnover,” Nipe said. “I was determined not to make it like my last game.”

The Colonials’ great offensive balance made it hard for the Rams to truly crack down on defense. With the exception of freshman Shannon Cranshaw, who only played four minutes Thursday, every single GW player scored at least one basket. By game’s end the bench would score 29 points, it was all about unselfish play for the Colonials.

Out of the hole and ahead by two, Jones got the ball in front of an open basket off the fastbreak. Instead of taking a wide open layup she tossed it backwards to Nipe, who buried a three.

“Even I was surprised,” Nipe said. “That was just the flow of the game, though. Being unselfish was really what got that huge spurt going where we just took off.”

GW went on a 32-9 run to close out the first half with the lead swelling to 29 points early in the second.

“The offense felt really efficient, the team was working great together,” Jones said. “Everyone was moving and getting into open spaces.”

Jones was untouchable inside for the Colonials, posting a double double with 17 points and 17 boards. Her frontcourt partner, freshman Caira Washington, joined her with 14 points and 10 rebounds of her own.

“Sometimes it looks like they’re just throwing it back up to themselves,” Nipe joked.

The frontcourt duo lead GW off the glass, where they outrebounded the Rams 52-32. The Rams did not get a single second chance point.

“When you don’t give a team any second chance points, then that’s one way, especially when it’s a team on the road, you can take away that confidence,” Tsipis said.

With the win GW improved their home record to 12-3.

The Colonials have a quick turnaround, hosting Massachusetts on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in the Smith Center.

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Graduate student Danni Jackson tied the GW single game record with 14 assists. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Graduate student Danni Jackson tied the GW single game record with 14 assists. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon

In her first career double-double performance, graduate student Danni Jackson tied the GW single game record with 14 assists en route to a 84-61 comeback win over Saint Louis Wednesday.

With the victory, GW (12-4) extends its winning streak to eight. The Colonials are 11-1 on their home floor and are 3-0 to start conference play and tonight’s win was due in large part to the play of  their veteran point guard.

On Wednesday, Jackson tied the record set twice before, first by Kristin McArdle in 1992 and then Colleen McCrea in 1994.

Sophomore Jonquel Jones fights off a defender. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Sophomore Jonquel Jones fights off a defender. Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor

Despite attempts by head coach Jonathan Tsipis to run plays through his fifth year guard to give her an opportunity to break the record, Jackson says that she was completely unaware that she was approaching it.

“The last media timeout, [Megan Nipe] came up to me and said ‘Give me two assists,’ and I just thought she just meant give her two assists to make it double digits,” Jackson said. “I didn’t know that I had the record so close.”

Along with her 14-assist night, Jackson finished with 16 points and just two turnovers.

“I don’t really go out there to get records, I just go out there to have fun with my teammates and play as hard as possible, but making records is awesome too,” she said.

Jackson’s record-tying performance came in a game where the Colonials shared the ball well and found the open player on the floor. Twenty-seven of GW’s 31 made field goals were scored off assists.

“We talked about it at halftime,” said head coach Jonathan Tsipis. “There are a lot of things you can control, and I think the enthusiasm for playing this game, along with the activity levels, when those are good, then you’re locked in on how you need to execute.”

It wasn’t easy in the first half for a Colonials team that struggled against the Billikens. GW failed to make open shots of any kind, shooting 37.5 percent from the field in the first half. The Colonials were also just 27.3 percent from the free-throw line, converting just 3-10 shots.

“At home, you have to make sure you are the one throwing the most punches,” Tsipis said. “I think in the first half, we took a lot of punches and didn’t respond.”

At the half, GW was fortunate to trail Saint Louis (5-10) by just a single point. The Colonials were without any offensive rhythm and played poor defense. The Bilikens capitalized in the half court, exploiting GW’s slow defensive rotations in the 2-3 zone set.

A defensive switch by Tsipis to a man-to-man half court defense, as well as increased intensity on their 1-3-1 press frustrated Saint Louis, causing them to shoot 30.4 percent from the field. The Colonials defensive pressure also led to 14 second half turnovers.

The second half is also when Jackson’s passes began to find her teammates in the right spots. Jackson helped the team finish with five different players in double figures in scoring, while only freshman Shannon Crainshaw failed to score for the entire GW roster.

“I came back and the guards found me,” said freshman Caira Washington. “I got to the line a couple times and I made open shots.”

Washington, who had just five points at the half, finished with 14 points and nine rebounds – just shy of what would have been her fourth straight double-double.

After a 10-4 run to start the second half, the Colonials continued to build their lead to as much as 25.

Junior Chakecia Miller and graudate student Brooke Wilson turned in solid performances with 13 points, six assists and six points, eight rebounds, respectively.Freshman Hannah Scaible continues to produce for GW, finishing Wednesday’s game with with 11 points, six rebounds and four steals,

Up next for the Colonials is Dayton who also played Wednesday night,beating George Mason 91-64 in their conference opener.

The Colonials will have a week break before they square off against last season’s regular season conference champs. The team hopes to get leading scorer, graduate student Megan Nipe back from a knee injury for the game. Tsipis said she has been practicing more lately, but is still listed day-to-day.

GW will play at Dayton on Jan. 16 at 9 p.m.

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Guard Danni Jackson looks to maneuver a pass past Jackson State earlier in the season. Hatchet File Photo

Guard Danni Jackson looks to maneuver a pass past Jackson State earlier in the season. Hatchet File Photo

Without leading scorer Megan Nipe against American last week, GW needed a lift. They got it.

Graduate student Danni Jackson carried the team alongside freshman Hannah Schaible. Both of their performances Saturday led to a sweep of the Atlantic 10 weekly honors: Jackson earning Player of the Week and Schaible winning Rookie of the Week.

It marks the first time the team has swept the awards since February of 2005, when Anna Montanana and Whitney Alley won Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively. That GW team would eventually go on to play in the NCAA tournament.

A-10 Player of the Week: Danni Jackson

Usually one to throw the dime over to her backcourt classmate Nipe for three, against American it was Jackson who took over offensively. Jackson knocked down three treys en route to a 23-point performance, her second straight 20-point game. Jackson would add four assists and three rebounds in a 77-64 win over American last Saturday.

This honor marks the second time Jackson has been named conference player of the week. Jackson last earned the honor on Dec. 24, 2012. Jackson is the first Colonial to win the weekly honor in her GW career since Sarah-Jo Lawrence (’08).

A-10 Rookie of the Week: Hannah Schaible

Against American, Schaible scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds, and tallied three assists and three steals in GW’s 13-point win against the Colonials crosstown rival.

Schaible is the second GW freshman to earn the honor this season after freshman Caira Washington was named Rookie of the Week on Dec. 16.

The last time GW won the honor twice in a season was 2008-09, when Tiana Meyers won the honor twice. But more notably, it is the first time two different Colonials earned the honor in the same season since2 Jessica and Jazmine Adair in 2005-06.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Josh Solomon

WHO: GW (8-4) vs. Bluefield State (4-9)

WHERE: Smith Center

WHEN: Tuesday, 12 p.m.

Case for Bluefield State:

The Division II Blues of Bluefield State are coming off two straight wins, both of which they won by an average of 23 points.

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson. Hatchet FIle Photo

Graduate student guard Danni Jackson. Hatchet FIle Photo

During that streak, senior guard Kearah Jefferys scored 21 and 22 points in the two contests. Jefferys leads the team in scoring averaging 12.0 points per game. At 5-foot-5 she will likely go head-to-head with either graduate student Danni Jackson or defensive specialist, junior Chakecia Miller.

The Blues are averaging 3.1 blocks per game, similar to the Colonials’ 3.0 blocks per game. With no one taller than six feet though, it will be difficult for the Blues to maintain this advantage over a bigger Colonials squad.

The Blues will be well-rested as they come up to D.C. from West Virginia to take on the Colonials after not playing since Dec. 21.

If GW is without graduate student Megan Nipe – the team’s leading scorer – and other Colonials, like Danni Jackson, fail to step-up to provide the scoring, the Blues could catch the Colonials off guard. Not to mention, GW might look past their DII opponent in preparation for their A-10 opener against George Mason later this week on Thursday.

Case for GW:

The Colonials should be able to roll into conference play Thursday on a five-game winning streak after their matchup against Bluefield State. The Colonials are bigger and have faced significantly stronger competition this season, including American, who they defeated Saturday.

Their two weaknesses will be potential fatigue, and the lack of Nipe’s scoring on the floor. GW was able to overcome not having their leading scorer against American, and will probably see a couple different faces lead the way Tuesday.

Sophomore Jonquel Jones was plagued with foul trouble all game against American, limiting both her minutes and productivity. As long as Jones stays clear of foul trouble early on, her size difference will likely help her lead the team on the scoring end, especially if Nipe does not play with her lower body injury. Freshman Caira Washington could also see a big game, after being quiet in recent games on the scoring end – averaging just four points in the Colonials last two games.

Reigning A-10 Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, Jackson and freshman Hannah Schaible  as a pair could have another productive effort. They will use their speed and physicality against a smaller Bluefield State.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

After sitting on the bench all season with a hamstring injury, sophomore Anjaleace White will transfer from the GW women’s basketball team.

Freshman Anjaleace White goes up for a contested lay-up last season. Hatchet File Photo

Freshman Anjaleace White goes up for a contested lay-up last season. Hatchet File Photo

The 6-foot-2 forward played more than any other freshman last season, averaging 12.6 minutes per game.

White has been listed as day-to-day all season with no set timetable for return. Head coach Jonathan Tsipis had said that his staff would reevaluate White for game action whenever she started full participation in practice.

“We appreciate the contributions Anjie made to our team over the last year and a half and wish her success in the future,” Tsipis said in a press release Monday.

With White sidelined, freshman forward Caira Washington has been starting for GW at the forward or center positions alongside graduate student Brooke Wilson. But with Wilson sustaining an injury herself, forcing her to sit out the Colonials Dec. 1 game against Morgan State, Tsipis has primarily played a smaller lineup with freshman wing Hannah Schaible starting at power forward.

White’s departure comes as GW bolsters its lineup, with sophomore transfer Jonquel Jones is set to join the team on the floor Saturday after sitting out the entire fall semester due to NCAA regulations.

Additionally, GW also signed forwards Jada Matthews and local product Kelli Prange as a part of their 2014 recruiting class that is one of the best in the country.

GW will play North Carolina A&T Saturday at the Smith Center at 12 p.m.

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Sophomore Kethan Savage shoots against Radford earlier this season. Delaney Walsh | Photo Editor

Sophomore Kethan Savage shoots against Radford earlier this season. Delaney Walsh | Photo Editor

Surprisingly, GW basketball is already making national waves. Well, right now it’s more like a ripple.

After starting their season off 3-0 for the first time in seven years, men’s basketball received a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 poll Monday, ranking as the No. 25 team on one voter’s ballot.

The last time GW earned votes in the AP poll was during the memorable 2006-2007 season when the Colonials topped the Atlantic 10 for the second time in three seasons. GW would go on to the NCAA tournament for their third straight appearance in a row.

There was also good news for GW women’s basketball who received 16 votes in the AP Top 25 after knocking off then-No. 10/11 California 75-72 on Friday. The 2-0 Colonials are now the No. 30 ranked team in the nation.

Both the men’s and women’s team return to action tomorrow night. The men’s team hosts Delaware State at 7 p.m. while the women’s team travels to College Park to take on No. 8 Maryland.

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