Hot Shooting Propels Colonials to Road Win at VCU
Women’s Basketball Writer
RICHMOND, Va.—Having your best shooting game of the season makes getting a win quite a bit easier. Led by sophomore Chakecia Miller, who scored 20 points for the second straight game, and a double-double performance off the bench from graduate student Sara Mostafa, the Colonials were able to get their first win in conference play and end their longest losing streak of the season, taking out the Virginia Commonwealth Rams on their home court by a final score of 79-68.
Senior forward Shi-Heria Shipp led the team in the assists category with eight, a career-high for her and just the second time all season that a non-point guard has led the way in that category. GW finished with a rebounding margin of +13, their best since the season opener.
GW’s best half, unlike their last game against St. Joseph’s, was the first half. They shot 69 percent from the field, scoring 22 points in the paint. The offensive model of getting the ball into the post proved effective on several occasions, as GW opted to stay away from the outside shot on the whole. Despite a flurry of three-pointers by the Rams, GW ended the back-and-forth first half on a 15-2 run in the last four minutes, making nine of their last ten shots. There were three players in double figures by the end of the half, led by grad student Sara Mostafa’s 13 points on perfect shooting. She also was able to bring down seven rebounds. Chakecia Miller scored 12 points for the half, while Tara Booker also hit double figures, putting in ten. Robyn Parks scored 14 points on 6-9 shooting for VCU. GW went into intermission with a 42-36 advantage, despite committing 12 turnovers.
But with 4-19 shooting to start the second half for the Colonials, the game tightened up a bit. Both Danni Jackson and Chakecia Miller got into foul trouble late, but they both still got significant minutes late in the game. VCU pulled to within two points with under five minutes to go, but free throw shooting down the stretch helped cement the game for the Colonials. They went 14-14 from the charity stripe in the second half, and finished the game with 95.2 percent free throw shooting, their highest since last February against St. Bonaventure.
Coach Jonathan Tsipis was happy with the performance. On his personnel decision to start White ahead of Mostafa, he said he did it “to get a spark” out of Mostafa. That strategy has proved effective, as she was able to get a double-double and get some key blocks late in the game. Tsipis was also proud of the way that “everybody stepped up at different times” and noted how senior guard Danni Jackson got hot late in the game before fouling out after being quiet during the first half.
It is always good to see a team be able to do well without some of their best players doing well. When Jackson was slumping, Miller was able to step up. The team’s leading scorer, Megan Nipe, netted just four points on 1-10 shooting. But where she was not making shots, the rest of the team was, especially in the first half. While the point guards were not as successful as they would like getting the ball to scorers, Shipp had a record assists day. The balanced performance really defines this team and when there is balance like there was today, it makes getting a win quite a bit easier.
The Colonials (7-10, 1-2 Atlantic 10) will now head to Ohio to face nationally-ranked (#18 AP/#17 USA Today) Dayton in another tough road conference battle on Thursday. Tipoff is at 11 a.m. and you can listen to all the action on WRGW Sports-Colonials Radio Central.