Category Archives: Women’s Basketball
…and the ladies’.
The George Washington Colonials women’s basketball team were unable to slow down the high-powered Dayton Flyers offense, falling in the Atlantic 10 conference championship semifinals on Saturday in Richmond, Va., 89-68.
Dayton guard and A-10 Player of the Year Andrea Hoover was the game’s leading scorer, with 22 points on 8-16 shooting. GW was led by Danni Jackson’s 19 points. Starting forwards Jonquel Jones and Caira Washington combined for nine points, being held in check by Ally Malott, Cassie Sant, and others inside.
Both teams played Friday, with GW playing later in the day and playing a longer game. Dayton narrowly escaped defeat Friday, winning against VCU in the final seconds.
The Colonials shot just 18.2 percent in the first half, trailing by 14 going into the intermission. The Flyers led by as much as 26 in the second half, despite an early second-half run that got the Colonials within nine.
GW made it to the free throw line 28 times, making 24 of their shots, including a 10-10 performance by guard Hannah Schaible. The Colonials were out-rebounded by the Flyers 52-44.
Dayton will play in the Atlantic 10 Championship Game Sunday against Fordham, who took down St. Bonaventure in the other semifinal.
GW is almost assured to continue playing, despite the conference season drawing to a close. While the NCAA tournament is probably not in the cards for the Colonials, the buff and blue will likely see themselves in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, which will be announced on March 17 and will begin play March 19-21. Games are played at campus sites, and GW has an opportunity to host a game.
It is hard to tell what adjustments need to be made based off the Dayton game because they will not see Dayton-level talent in the WNIT. There are few rosters in college basketball that carry as many players over 6’3” as Dayton does, especially amongst the teams they will be facing. GW had serious trouble getting the ball inside on Saturday, but they have had success against many other teams doing that, including Saint Joseph’s on Friday.
The Colonials have a talented squad, and they have a real shot at making a deep run in the 64-team WNIT field. Play begins March 19-21 and can be heard on WRGW District Radio.
Twenty-three months ago, a highly-touted assistant coach from Notre Dame arrived in Foggy Bottom, aiming to turn around a once-great program that was coming off a season in which the team won just four conference games.
This week, Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis leads a George Washington squad with just five conference losses into the Atlantic 10 Championship in Richmond. The Colonials, who finished tied for second in the conference, have the fourth seed in the tournament, earning them a bye in Thursday’s first round. Their first game, Friday at 2:30 p.m. against fifth-seed Saint Joseph’s, can be heard on WRGW.
This has been a strong season for the Colonials. They started hot, notching a home win against #10 California behind one of grad student Megan Nipe’s two 31-point performances. The team then split the season series with Saint Joseph’s and Dayton, the teams in the conference with the two highest RPI ratings.
The team’s strengths come inside, with sophomore Clemson transfer Jonquel Jones and Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Caira Washington, each of whom had 10 double-doubles this season. Jones, who joined the team in late-December, is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.5 points per game to go along with nearly 11 rebounds a game.
But not all the offense has come from the post. The talent inside has done a good job of freeing up space outside for shooters, like Nipe, to nail threes. They have also been key in opening up lanes to the basket for guards like grad student Danni Jackson and junior Chakecia Miller. The shooting, however, has been cold at times, which highlights the importance of the players inside even more.
The defense has also been a major part of GW’s success. The scoring defense stats do not blow you away because the team tends to play more of a fast-paced, high-scoring game (which makes them fun to watch or listen to), but they have done a good job, especially in late game situations, of getting stops when they need to.
Atlantic 10 Tournament: GW comes into the tournament with the fourth seed, the team’s highest since 2008. They will play Saint Joseph’s in the second round of the tournament, a team GW split the season series with this season. Saint Joseph’s’ offense is built around two players: Erin Shields and Natasha Cloud. Shields is the A-10 leader in made threes, while Cloud is the team leader in rebounds. But this is a very deep Hawks team (neither of those two players finished in double figures in Thursday’s first round win against George Mason) with many weapons, both inside and out. Sarah Fairbanks and Ilze Gotfrida are going to have to muscle their way inside if the Hawks want to get the win.
GW beat the Hawks earlier this season in Philadelphia, behind a Jonquel Jones double-double. If this team is firing on all cylinders—like they were Saturday against the Dayton Flyers—then the Colonials can nab a win. But they will have to look to stay out of foul trouble and slow down Erin Shields.
A win against Saint Joe’s would pit GW against Dayton, the team that bounced the Colonials from the tournament last season. GW lost big in Dayton earlier this year, but won on Senior Day at the Smith Center. The Flyers are led by Andrea Hoover, conference player of the year, and get major contributions from Ally Mallott and Cassie Sant. Dayton is a very talented team with the power to hurt you from outside, but GW is a team that, on any given day, can beat anyone in the conference.
If the Colonials can make it to the finals, they have yet another tough test. The likely foes would be Saint Bonaventure or Fordham, two teams the Colonials have lost to on the road. GW had a hard time getting the Bonnies to play at GW’s faster pace, and Fordham’s Abigail Corning had a 20 point performance when the Colonials made the trip to the Bronx.
There are no cupcakes in the conference tournament draw. But this team has proven that they can beat nearly anyone in the conference when they are at their best, so it would hardly be a shock if the Colonials are the ones cutting down the Richmond Coliseum nets on Sunday.
Beyond the Conference Tournament: ESPN’s women’s basketball bracketologist Charlie Creme, does not have GW in his field of 64. The only two Atlantic 10 teams in the field, Dayton and Saint Joseph’s, will likely face GW this weekend, which is a good sign for the Colonials. However, with an RPI of 82 as of Thursday evening, it will be a tough sell, even with those wins, for an at-large bid in the tournament.
If GW can pull off a conference tournament win, they we will be headed to the Big Dance with an automatic bid. This scenario is not out of the question by any means. If they make it, the Colonials will have a tough first-round battle, almost certainly playing as a double-digit seed.
What is more likely is a place for GW in the Women’s NIT. The conference sent five teams to the tournament, with games being played at school hosts. This would be a great way for the younger players to get some more postseason experience and to help bring this program back into national prominence.
No matter how it turns out, Coach Tsipis has to be proud to have been able to turn the team he inherited into a 20-win squad. This is not only a good team, but an exciting team, so these postseason matchups are sure to entertain.
WRGW SPORTS DIRECTOR
On December 13, 2010 the bright future of Steven E. Smith (B.A. ’08), an alumni of WRGW Sports, was cut tragically short by a car accident when he was just 24 years old. This past Friday, on what would have been Smith’s 28th birthday, WRGW District Radio, in collaboration with Smith’s family, dedicated their Marvin Center studio in his honor, renaming it the Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center, so that his memory and legacy with the radio station will live on for years to come.
Smith served the GW community as a broadcaster on WRGW Sports and the vice-president of Colonial Army. When he wasn’t calling Men’s and Women’s basketball games for the station, he was the radio voice of the Baltimore Orioles AA affiliate, the Bowie Baysox.
Smith was statistical whiz and lover of all things sports, but especially his New York Yankees and New Jersey Devils. He cherished his time with WRGW and was extremely dedicated to his work there. In an application for Sports Director submitted in 2007, Smith wrote, “WRGW has meant the world to me…Though there are hours of grueling, unpaid work, I feel almost compelled to lead the department and give back to the station that has meant so much to me for the past three years.” Though he did not get the position, his legacy of hard work and dedication live on with the members of the sports department today, and will continue to live on thanks to this dedication.
This past Friday, with friends and family in attendance, a dedication ceremony was held in the Marvin Center for the newly named Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center. The dedication, hosted by Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski, revealed a plaque and a picture hanging outside the door of the broadcasting center, which will hang in its place for as long as the station remains there.
After the official dedication, attendees were asked to share reflections of the accomplished life that Smith lived. Smith’s father, Dr. Matthew Smith, mother, Mrs. Rhonda Smith, and brother, Jared Smith, opened up the reflections talking about Steven’s love for sports, broadcasting, and the station which gave him his first broadcasting opportunity. Mrs. Smith spoke about the footprints that Steven left behind on the people that he touched. This became incredibly apparent as friends of Steven in attendance, including former roommates, broadcast partners, classmates and a family friend from his childhood, took the microphone to share stories and fond memories of Steven’s passion for sports, radio, and friendship.
The next day, the George Washington Women’s basketball team played host to the #21 Dayton Flyers and won 88-79, earning them the 4th seed and a double-bye in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. It was the first game to be produced from the just-dedicated Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center. Before the game, WRGW Sports aired a story about the life of Steven Smith and the dedication of the studio. Alumnus Nkwa Asonye produced the story, with audio provided by Dr. Smith (listen below). The story re-aired before the Men’s game Sunday against rival George Mason, a game that GW won 66-58.
From this day forward, every song played, every news story broken, every trade discussed, every match analyzed, every slam dunk scored, and every GW basketball game broadcasted on WRGW will be produced from the Steven E. Smith Broadcasting Center, and we couldn’t be more honored by that distinction.
From all of us at WRGW and WRGW Sports we would like to thank everyone who attended the dedication on Friday and the GW Alumni House for organizing the event. Finally, we would especially like to thank Steven’s family for ensuring that future broadcasters on the station can get the same experience from it as Steven so cherished and for their extreme support and generosity. Thank you so much.
WRGW SPORTS DIRECTOR
George Washington Women’s Basketball opened up the 2013-2014 season with two historic wins over the Jackson St. Lady Tigers last Saturday and the California Golden Bears, who are ranked #10 in the country, on Friday.
GW started off the season in style, putting up more then 100 points for the first time since the game against Mt. St. Mary’s on December 17, 2000, defeating the Jackson St. Lady Tigers in decisive fashion, 101-73. The Colonials scored first and never looked back, leading for the entire game.
While graduate student Megan Nipe led all scorers with 20 points, it was the trio of freshmen who really shined for the Colonials. Guard Hannah Schaible and forward Caira Washington earned starting roles in the opener from Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis. Schaible scored 16, nabbed 7 rebounds, and totaled 3 assists, all while playing intensely on both sides of the court on the way to being named player of the game. Washington scored 13 and had 8 rebounds. Guard Shannon Cranshaw came off the bench totaling 13 points and a team high 5 assists in 21 minutes.
As the team approached triple digits, tension and excitement grew in the Smith Center. The Colonials got the ball with 30 seconds left leading 99-73 and Alexis Chandler’s layup pushed the Colonials over 100 points. Here are seniors Connor Doyle and Tim Riordan on the call for WRGW Sports.
After the game, Associate Head Coach Megan Duffy was excited about the accomplishment, but expressed some improvements needed before going into the California game. Here is our exclusive post-game interview with Coach Duffy.
George Washington and Megan Nipe protected home court in a stunning 75-73 victory over the #10 California Golden Bears.
Nipe put up a career high 31 points on the way to GW defeating their first ranked team since 2008, when GW beat #10/8 California in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Nipe is also the first player to score 30+ points since Cathy Joens netted 32 in February of 2004.
The Golden Bears were lead by juniors Reshanda Gray, 24 points, and Brittany Boyd, 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Nipe and graduate student Danni Jackson, 14 points and 3 assists, were prolific from beyond the arc, combining to go 7-17, and getting the scoring started early in the first half. Here are juniors Raynell Cooper and Mike Martenak on the call for WRGW Sports.
Cal went on a 7-2 run to end the first half, going into the locker room with a 41-34 lead. GW, who came out strong to start the half, appeared to be giving the game away with some bad turnovers.
The tide turned quickly out of half time, as a Megan Nipe three pointer was able to tie the game back up at 43 a piece with 16:24 to play.
The lead would change hands five times in the second half, before Jackson’s three-pointer with 3:11 left to play put the Colonials up for good.
Down the stretch, California’s Courtney Range had two crucial offensive fouls called against her, and free throws were able to clinch it for the Colonials.
Once the final buzzer chimed, the “White Out” crowd of 1014 went crazy, celebrating what, potentially, could be the game of the year for this women’s squad.
Assistant Coach Diane Richardson joined Cooper and Martenak after the game for an exclusive interview.
The Colonials put their 2-0 record on the line, going on the road for the first time to face another ranked opponent in DMV rival, #8 Maryland. Seniors Tim Riordan and Connor Doyle will have the call from College Park. Tune into this game and all GW basketball games on WRGW Sports – Colonials Radio Central at wrgwsports.com.