Colonials Squeak Out Win against St. Bonaventure, Clinch Postseason Berth

Raynell Cooper
Women’s Basketball Writer

WASHINGTON — The Colonials earned a spot in the Atlantic 10 tournament, staving off a St. Bonaventure comeback and beating the Bonnies 57-52, behind a double-double by senior Megan Nipe and one of their best rebounding performances of the season.

Leading by as much as 14 in the second half, St. Bonaventure chipped away at the lead, bringing it to within four. Bonnies junior forward Doris Ortega helped lead the comeback, scoring 10 in the second half. A layup by grad student forward Tara Booker with 39 seconds left helped put the game away for the Colonials. Execution in the closing minutes, aside from a few key missed free throws by Megan Nipe, was a big part of this win for GW.

Nipe recorded her first double-double of her career, scoring 10 and pulling down a career-high 13 rebounds. “It’s really just a personal focus of making sure I crash the boards every single time a shot goes up,” said Nipe after the game. The 5’7” sophomore Chakecia Miller also tallied double-digit rebounds, with six of those coming off of the offensive glass, allowing for second chances down the stretch. Tara Booker and seniors Danni Jackson and Shi-Heria Shipp finished in double figures along with Nipe, marking the sixth game four or more Colonials scored 10 or more.

GW out-rebounded the Bonnies 49-35, giving them their second-best margin of conference play. The rebounding advantage really helped them with their recurring problem of stopping a transition scorer. “You can stop a team that likes to go in transition if you can control the backboards,” said head coach Jonathan Tsipis after the game. Megan Nipe “knew the game would come down to who won the boards,” and GW being able to tie their season high with 20 offensive boards helped in their win. GW scored 14 second-chance points, taking advantage of their aggressive play in the post, by both the guards and the forwards.

GW gave one of their most energetic first half performances of the season on Sunday, which translated into success on the defensive end forcing poor possessions for the Bonnies, ending in several shot clock violations and questionable shot selection. Evidence of the energy was the leading rebounders for GW at the half: Not Mostafa or Booker but Nipe, Miller, and freshman guard Alexis Chandler.

The offense was clicking at times, with Jackson making some impressive jumpers in the second half, but it was not a consistent performance. Shipp started 3-3 while the rest of the team started just 0-5, but Megan Nipe knocked down two threes as part of an 8-0 GW run.

The problem of not being able to get put-backs and close jumpers to fall on a regular basis was apparent, with grad student center Sara Mostafa finishing 0-5. However due to the small size of the Bonnies, with the tallest starter measuring 6’1”, freshman Anjaleace White and Sara Mostafa played just a combined 15 minutes.

The smaller look for GW was great on defense. Booker or Shipp would act as a lynchpin on the inside, holding the defense together while the energetic play of the guards was often enough to rattle this St. Bonaventure team that is now on an eight-game losing streak. On the offensive end, having just one big in the post was more than enough, especially when the outside shooting was hot for the Colonials.

The win gives the Colonials a spot in the Atlantic 10 tournament in Philadelphia on March 8-10. That will not stop the focus of GW in these last two games. They can finish anywhere between 6th and 11th in the conference, and they will put out their best effort in this final stretch. “No matter the records, you’re playing teams that are fighting for their life to continue their season,” Tsipis said of these late-season tilts. Tsipis said he wants his team playing the best basketball they can going into the tournament.

The Colonials (12-14, 6-6 A10) continue their push for a .500 finish and a high tournament seed on the road against the red-hot Xavier Musketeers (11-15, 5-7 A10) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. You can catch all the action from Cincinnati on WRGW Sports – Colonials Radio Central at gwradio.com.

Posted on February 24, 2013, in Campus, GW Basketball, Women's Basketball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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