Controversial Technical Foul Spurs an Eagles Comeback in GW Loss at American
Despite leading by seven with seven minutes to play, the Colonials could not seal the deal, losing to cross-town rival American University 57-54 on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena in northwest Washington.
Each team struggled in the first half, shooting 29 percent. However, the Colonials committed 16 of their 22 turnovers in the first half and, as a result, trailed 25-19 at halftime. The Eagles started the game off hot, converting on three layups that resulted from sloppy GW turnovers. However, the Colonials rallied from a four point deficit and kept the score close in the first half, cutting the deficit to one behind a Tara Booker three pointer at the six minute mark. After that, everything went well for the Eagles, who outscored the Colonials 12-7 in the closing minutes of the half. Jen Dumiak, American’s leading scorer averaging just under 17 points a game, contributed with six of her eight first half points during this run.
Megan Nipe, who was coming off an 11 point performance versus Georgetown, led the Colonials with nine points on an efficient 4-8 shooting in the first half. Unfortunately however, guards Chakecia Miller and Danni Jackson each struggled in the first half for the Colonials. Miller committed eight turnovers in the first half and Jackson struggled shooting, missing her first 11 shots.
The Colonials fought back to start the second half and took the lead at the 12 minute mark of the second half. Chakecia Miller overcame her first half struggles and helped fuel the comeback with two layups coming in transition. Once the Colonials took the lead, it became a hard fought battle to determine the winner with eight lead changes coming in the second half. George Washington looked like they had control of the game with seven minutes remaining and a seven point lead but a minute later, controversy ensued and momentum shifted following a Tara Booker personal foul. The sideline referee thought he saw Booker slam the ball down and whistled her for a technical foul. The Eagles made the two technical free throws and one of the two from the first foul. They recovered the rebound from the free throw and proceeded to score. The Colonials failed to score on the next possession and the Eagles scored in transition. The technical on Booker resulted in a five point swing and a 7-0 run for the Eagles.
The Colonials struggled down the stretch to generate offense as the Eagles constantly switched defense on possession between a 2-3 zone and man to man. The Colonials were down two with a minute remaining but could not convert on two different possessions to tie the game. Megan Nipe made the game interesting when she drilled a tough three pointer to cut the deficit to one with under thirty seconds left. Following a pair of Alexis Dobbs free throws for American, the Colonials had one more chance to send the game into overtime. But Danni Jackson’s jumper rimmed out, giving American the hard fought home win.
Megan Nipe nearly had a double-double with 14 points and 7 boards on an efficient 6-12 night from the field. But Danni Jackson’s struggles were magnified in the close loss, as she finished shooting 3-17 from the field. American was led by Dumiak, who continued her great play with 14 points on the afternoon. GW had a better field goal percentage than the Eagles, but committed more turnovers and shot 12 less free throws than American. Some may blame the technical foul for the loss, but the lack of free throws and the vast amount of turnovers were the main reasons for today’s lose at American.
The Colonials will need to cut down on turnovers if they want to beat Auburn at home this Wednesday. Turnovers have been a constant problem for the Colonials as they had 22 turnovers today versus the Eagles. The second half showed a glimmer of hope for the Colonials on this front as they committed only six turnovers. If they can limit each half to six turnovers or less at the very least, with their strong defense, they will have a chance to get back on track and win many games going forward.
With the loss, GW falls to an even 4-4 on the season while American improves to 4-4. As was alluded to above, the Colonials will now get set to host Auburn on Wednesday night at the Smith Center in Foggy Bottom. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and you can listen to all the action on your flagship home for GW Women’s Basketball, WRGW-Colonials Radio Central at gwradio.com.