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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Colonials reach title game for second-straight season

PHILADELPHIA – For the second-straight year, the GW women’s basketball team will face No. 12 Xavier in the Atlantic 10 Championship game after defeating Temple 74-59 in Sunday’s semi-final game at the Liacouras Center.

GW had Xavier marked ever since its two-point road loss Feb. 4, which ousted the Colonials from first place in the conference. An automatic NCAA Tournament berth awaits the winner.

The Colonials (22-8) approached their first two tournament games with a business-like attitude, easily defeating the Lady Owls at their home court and getting past Duquesne 71-61 in Saturday’s quarterfinal round.

The win against Temple was sweet revenge for a GW team that lost an earlier meeting to the Owls in Philadelphia.

Kristeena Alexander led GW in both games with aggressive “New York City basketball,” as she described her play after the game. The senior was poised under fire and sparked the team when the Colonials needed it. Alexander said she will block out from her memory the team’s road loss to Xavier and a 80-66 loss to the Musketeers in last season’s A-10 title match.

“This is a new game, a championship game and the scoreboard reads zero, zero,” Alexander said.

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Colonials will find a team in Xavier (25-2) equal to themselves in size and strength. Freshman center Ugo Oha will have her hands full with Xavier’s Taru Tuukkanen. The Xavier senior center scored 22 points leading the Musketeers to an 80-71 win over Dayton Saturday.

GW head coach Joe McKeown said he expects a very close game.

“(Xavier’s) a great basketball team,” McKeown said. “And we’re starting to play our best basketball of the year. We were up and down in January and February and in any program you want to peak in March.”

The two teams split their regular season match-ups with both squads winning on their home court. The Colonials have not won the A-10 tournament title since 1996.

GW 74, Temple 59
Sunday, March 4

If there was one play that seemed to spark the Colonials and rattle the Lady Owls, it was a steal and lay-up late by Alexander in the first half of GW’s 74-59 victory over Temple Sunday afternoon. Temple’s Stacey Smalls charged up the court with Alexander awaiting the guard at center court. Alexander (16 points) slapped the ball away from Smalls, gained control of the ball and went in for an uncontested lay-up that tied the game at 14-14, shifting the game’s momentum.

“Coach told me I had to go out and stay poised no matter what happened,” Alexander said.

The play sparked a 9-0 Colonials run that distanced GW from the Lady Owls (19-10) and enabled them to hold a 29-22 halftime advantage that they would never relinquish. Oha capped the GW run with a block on Ieesha Turnage and then scored a basket with a foul at the other end.

The second half was completely different from the first, as GW built on a seven-point halftime lead. Petra Dubovcova scored 10 of her 11 points in the second half while Erica Lawrence rested on the bench. The Colonials had their greatest lead at 21 points when Alexander cut through two Temple defenders and hit a lay-up with 9:30 remaining. GW never relented.

GW 71, Duquesne 61
Saturday, March 3

The Colonials ended Duquesne’s season Saturday, defeating the Dukes 71-61 at the Liacouras Center in quarterfinal action. Strong performances from junior-transfer Elena Vishniakova and senior Kristeena Alexander led GW.

Vishniakova scored 16 points and pulled in nine rebounds. The forward has not played postseason basketball since her days as a starter on the 1998-99 University of Georgia team that lost in the Final Four.

Alexander scored 14 points, and sophomore Erica Lawrence, who leads the team in scoring, added 13. The Colonials finished the season 3-0 against Duquesne and have won five of six meetings against Duquesne in the A-10 tourney action dating back to 1983.

GW had a first-round bye and had not played a game since beating Rhode Island Feb. 25. The Dukes (15-14) entered the game fresh off a 56-54 first-round victory over St. Bonaventure.

That close game may have drained the Dukes, who shot 36 percent from the floor (21-for-59) against GW. From behind the arc, the Dukes shot a dismal 1-for-11.

The Colonials led 35-29 with more than 16 minutes remaining. Alexander and Lawrence sparked a GW 9-0 run in a three-minute span.

Duquesne’s Khalihah Este-Shehu scored a game-high 20 points and Beth Friday had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Nikolina Pender added 10 points for the Dukes.

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