Late Run Gives GW Key Road Win over La Salle
Women’s Basketball Writer
PHILADELPHIA – A 22-4 run kicked off by back-to-back threes from grad student forward Tara Booker late in the second half helped turn a tight game into a solid road blowout as GW knocked off the La Salle Explorers 74-57.
Five Colonials finished in double figures, led by Booker’s 13. However, senior guard Shi-Heria Shipp was perhaps the most impressive, tying her career-high with six shot attempts and netting 12 points. Her mix of strong physicality in the post and speedy play down the court helped propel GW to the win. Senior guard Danni Jackson also stepped up her play big time, bouncing back from shooting 24.3 percent from the field in the last three games to scoring 11 points on 4-7 shooting Sunday. Grad student Sara Mostafa got her second double-double on the season, getting 11 points and 12 boards.
The game was tight throughout the first half, as senior guard Ebonee Jones scored nine points for La Salle, who was able to force eight GW turnovers (while giving up eight of their own). The first half saw six lead changes and despite good shooting, GW went into the half up just four. The second half belonged to the Colonials rather firmly, as they shot over 50 percent and led by as much as 21.
The big story coming into the game was the sidelining of La Salle star Brittany Wilson. Coming off two games where she played all 40 minutes, Wilson, the conference’s leading scorer, was not on the court against the Colonials and the offense for La Salle suffered because of it. Ebonee Jones was able to put up 21 points and senior guard Shanel Harrison was able to score 12, but this offense was clearly without its centerpiece. They shot just under 33 percent and seemed flustered most of the game by the once again strong defensive play by GW. Even with just five steals, one of the lowest marks of the season, the Explorers were forced to take poor shots late into the shot clock on several occasions by the strong 2-3 zone, which let a few wide open looks for La Salle but, for the most part, prevented this defense from operating.
As impressive as the Colonials were at holding back La Salle, their offense is what won them this game. They had their third-best shooting performance of the season, thanks in part to more focused, well-executed guard play. A big theme this season has been the Colonials’ inability to control their own tempo, going too fast on fast breaks and playing too hurried on offense. GW started off with some poorly-managed plays and questionable shot selection, but once they were able to calm things down, things began to click. An example of this was a play late in the first half, where sophomore guard Chakecia Miller was controlling the ball and instead of driving into coverage or throwing a bad pass, she was able to find a cutting Alexis Chandler, the third cutting player on that possession. These patient, well-meditated possessions have proved very successful for GW against all sorts of defenses and these are the type of plays GW would like to see more of.
This win was huge for the Colonials. Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Duquesne in double overtime at home, this team needed a confidence booster and nothing does that better than a big win on the road. They were able to prove to themselves that they can control a game and run things at the pace they want to run things.
The Colonials (9-12, 3-4 Atlantic 10) come back to Foggy Bottom for a game on Wednesday against a Richmond Spiders (12-11, 2-5 A-10) team that just gave #17 Dayton a run for its money on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and you can catch all of the action on WRGW Sports – Colonials Radio Central at gwradio.com.