Game 1: George Washington Colonials vs Grambling State Tigers 2:00 PM
Keith Woods, Co-Sports Director
2 PM, Charles E. Smith Center, Washington, DC
The GW Women will kick-off the season this afternoon in a matchup against the Grambling State Tigers from Grambling, Louisiana. The Tigers are coming off somewhat of a mediocre a 10-20 season (7-11 in the SWAC). The Colonials in 2014-2015 finished 1st in the Atlantic 10 with a tremendous record of 29-4 (15-1). This should be an easy match-up for the Colonials, but as we know it’s important to never overlook the opponent. Keep reading below to find out the three things to watch for during GW Women’s basketball non-conference play.
Three Things to Watch for in Non-Conference Play
- Lauren Chase: It goes without saying that Chase has some big shoes to fill following the departure of guard Chakecia Miller due to graduation. I think Chase will end up successfully taking over as the conductor of this offense but it may take a few games to really get into the swing of things for the graduate student guard. In her last game out versus Christopher Newport Chase looked fantastic tallying 7 points on 3 of 8 shooting, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. Look for her to exploit the relative inexperience of Grambling State’s backcourt in this upcoming matchup.
- Kelli Prange – No doubt about it, Kelli Prange was an absolute stand-out as a Freshman last year for the Colonials. Having made the All-Rookie Team and dropping 21pts on an efficient 9-12 shooting in her last game against Christopher Newport, Prange comes into non-conference play with sky-high expectations. Not only does Prange have great legth she also has a superb shooting touch. I would to see her 3pt shooting percentage jump this season to around the 35% mark. If Prange can get the 3pointer to go on a slightly more consistent basis it’ll be extremely tough tough for opponents to guard defensively, essentially forcing them to choose leaving Washington and Jones open down low or guarding Prange who’ll be stretching the floor.
- Height Advantage- As was evident in the win over Christopher Newport, GW’s length is going to pose a problem for many opponents this upcoming season. Caira Washington scored 15 points, Prange added 21, and Jones another 14. Expect the inside presence to be key for the Colonials early on as this unit not only has great height but also much past-playing time and experience. Relying on the experienced front-court to dominant game in and game out is something I think we’ll see a lot of during this non-conference schedule.
Game Prediction – Jonquel Jones and the rest of the bigs are too much for Grambling State to handle. GW gets out to a decent lead early on and cruises to the finish. Lauren Chase finishes the game with double-digit scoring and at least 5 assists as she fills the hole left by Chakecia Miller.
Final Score: Colonials 78 – Tigers 54
Keith Woods, Co-Sports Director
12 PM, Charles E. Smith Center, Washington, DC
Media Coverage: @wrgwsports and @ GW_WBB for Game Coverage
The GW Women’s basketball squad will prepare for their highly anticipated season at noon today in an exhibition against the Christopher Newport Captains. This will mark the first game of the 2015-2016 year for either team. Christopher Newport is a Division III program hailing from Newport News, VA. They have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament elite-eight and sweet sixteen previously in 2013 and 2014 respectively. While under the helm of their Head Coach Bill Broderick (entering his 4th season) the Captains have gone 70-18, winning nearly 80% of their games.
Three Things to Watch
1. Déjà vu– The Colonials return nearly all of their players from last season (13 of 14) and will be looking to replicate the success the team saw just a year ago. Four out of five starters return in Shannon Cranshaw, Hannah Schaible, Caira Washington, and Jonquel Jones with the addition of graduate student guard Lauren Chase taking over for Chakecia Miller as the conductor of the offense. As a result of such a multitude of familiar faces expect the Colonials to continue the momentum they built last season as they went 29-4 overall and 15-1 in A10 play.
2. New Rules/Format– As with the men’s side of things, the women will have to contend with some new rule and format alterations implemented by the NCAA this season. The most obvious of these changes is the new four quarter format as opposed to the traditional halves. Thats right, the NCAA is moving to a new quarter format (10 minutes/quarter) and doing away with the two 20-minute halves. The NCAA believes that this format change will enhance the flow of the on-court product. In addition teams will enter the double-bonus on the 5th team foul in the quarter and not on the 7th team foul of the half like in years past. Taking a page out of the NBA playbook the NCAA is implementing a new ball advancement rule in the last 59.9 seconds of play. If a timeout is taken within the aforementioned 59.9 second time period the ball will be advanced to the frontcourt. This should allow for a higher chance at buzzer-beaters and important game tying or even winning plays in crunch time.
For a full overview of all the new rules and format changes, check out this helpful article by the NCAA.
3. The Department of the Interior– Ahhh yes… the Department of the Interior as they’ve been dubbed by some will be exciting to watch in not only this game but for the rest of the 2015-2016 season. For the uninitiated the DoI is composed of three key GW frontcourt players: Jonquel Jones, Caira Washington, and Kelli Prange. It’ll be interesting to see how Christopher Newport intends to stop the trio that measures 6’4″, 6’2″, and 6’5″ respectively. The tallest player on Christopher Newport is 6’2″ Jessica Daguilh, but the playing time she’ll receive may be minimal as she’s only a Freshman. Look for GW to exploit the mismatches down low for most of the game.
Game Prediction: GW 89 – Christopher Newport 60
The Captains will need to focus on beating the Colonials backcourt for a chance to win this one. Expect to see the Colonials get out in front early and from that point on sustain a comfortable cushion throughout the matchup. Lauren Chase will pick-up right from where she left off last season and lead the team with around 4-5 assists. The frontcourt shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring over the undersized Captains, as the team snags a win in this exhibition.
Reminder- Our first live women’s broadcast will be next Saturday vs Grambling State at 2 PM.
#6 George Washington Colonials (29-3, 15-1 A10) vs. #11 Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-7, 16-2 WCC)
7:30 PM, Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR
Media: WRGW, ESPN2/WatchESPN
Announcer: Jeff Pawling
Click Here to Listen Live
The long wait is over as the George Washington Colonials return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. GW has to travel across the country for their appearance, as they face a tough Gonzaga Bulldogs team in the First Round of the Spokane Region.
It has been 12 days since the Colonials thrilling comeback win against Dayton to capture the Atlantic 10 Tournament title and automatic bid to the Big Dance. GW was fueled by Jonquel Jones‘ incredible second half performance, in which she scored 16 of her 21 total points, including four three-pointers, en route to being named the Atlantic 10 Championship’s Most Outstanding Player. Caira Washington and Hannah Schaible were also integral parts of the Colonials’ rally from an eight-point halftime deficit and joined Jones on the All-Tournament Team.
Today’s matchup with 11-seed Gonzaga, the first ever meeting between the two programs, is by no means an easy one. In fact, the Colonials may have drawn the toughest of the 11-seeds in the field as Gonzaga boasts a potent offense that is backed up solid defense and excellent team rebounding. The Bulldogs are led by Sunny Greinacher, the WCC’s 10th leading scorer at 13.7 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting, good for third in the conference. She also grabs 6.0 rebounds per game and, in combination with leading rebounder Shelby Cheslek (8.5 rpg), forms a potent duo on the boards that will present challenges to the Colonials’ front court of Jones and Washington. Keani Albanez is another offensive weapon the Bulldogs lean on, especially from beyond the arc, where she made a team-best 58 three-pointers. Schaible, Shannon Cranshaw, and Brianna Cummings will need to be locked in and use their length to shut down Albanez from the outside if GW wants to prevail in this first round matchup.
Make no mistake, the matchup with Gonzaga, on paper, shows that the game could be a difficult one. Gonzaga has suffered its share of disappointment in the last couple of years, having been upset in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament by eventual champion BYU and having been upset in last year’s NCAA Tournament as a 6-seed by 11-seed James Madison. The roles are now reversed for the Bulldogs, with Gonzaga coming in as the lower-seeded team and there is no doubt that they will be fired up to right the wrongs of last year.
As for the Colonials, today marks the return to the NCAA Tournament and, hopefully, the beginning of an era that hearkens back to the days of Joe McKeown. Jonathan Tsipis has done an incredible job turning this program around in three short years. More importantly, he knows from his days at Notre Dame what it takes to win in the postseason. We saw it at the Atlantic 10 Tournament and now we get to see it on display at the NCAA Tournament. GW may have gotten the worst draw of any team in the dance, but don’t expect Tsipis and company to use that as an excuse. As he said in his press conference yesterday, they have been playing with a chip on their shoulder “since the beginning of the season.” As long as the Colonials play their game and can dictate the pace and style of play, there is no reason why GW cannot move on to the second round.
WRGW’s coverage live from Corvallis will begin at 7:20 with tip off tentatively scheduled for 7:30 pm on gwradio.com.
The George Washington Colonials earned their first Atlantic 10 Tournament championship since 2003 and clinched their first ticket to the NCAA Tournament since 2008 with a thrilling 75-62 victory over Dayton yesterday at the Richmond Coliseum. In case you missed it, here are the highlights, courtesy of RaiseHigh TV with WRGW’s Jeff Pawling and Mike Martenak on the call.
And in case you were wondering where the Colonials will be traveling for the Big Dance, the latest Bracketology from ESPN’s Charlie Creme doesn’t have GW traveling anywhere. In fact, Creme has the Colonials hosting first and second round matchups at the Charles E. Smith Center. So get ready, because GW basketball on Tex Silverman Court may not be done just yet.
But for now, congratulations to the 2015 Atlantic 10 Champion George Washington Colonials! The official bracket and seedings for the NCAA Tournament will be revealed on Monday, March 16th at 7 pm on ESPN.