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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Xavier shoots down Colonials in title game

PHILADELPHIA – Xavier knocked off the Colonial women in the Atlantic10 Tournament Championship for the second-straight season with a tournament record 12 three-pointers in a 81-56 victory Monday night at the Liacouras Center. The game carried a lot of emotional baggage for the Colonials, who were heartbroken after the loss.

GW was one of two teams to beat Xavier this season with a 14-point win at the Smith Center in early January. While the Colonials led for most of a Feb. 4 game at Xavier, the team lost it in overtime. Since that loss, GW players have sought revenge on the Musketeers.

The loss should not affect a Colonials at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, but it may hurt their ranking. Players will await bracket announcements Sunday night in the Smith Center. GW made the tournament seven of the past eight years.

In the opening minutes it was obvious just how far GW was from beating the 12th best team in the country, as the Colonials were outmatched. Xavier buried five three-pointers in less than ten minutes of first-half play. The Musketeers led 27-8 after back-to-back three-pointers by Nicole Levandusky and Xavier guard, Reetta Piipari. Piipari raced from baseline to perimeter all evening evading GW guards while finishing with a game-high 20 points (6-of-10 three pointers).

The Colonials could not match that kind of high-powered offense. GW’s freshman center Ugo Oha missed a high number of close-range baskets finishing the first half with five points. Sophomore guard Lindsey Davidson, who scored a career-high 27 points in GW’s January win over Xavier in January, attempted only seven shots in the game scoring nine points.

About the only bright spot before things got really ugly came at the end of the first half. The Colonials had gained some momentum with a 7-0 run led by Elena Vishniakova. After an Erica Lawrence jumper, Vishniakova hit a layup making it 39-21 with 42 seconds remaining. Vishniakova was then fouled by Xavier’s Erin Hall. Vishniakova missed her free throw, but got the rebound and hit a jumper ten seconds later.

GW regained possession with 15 seconds left in the half, and Davidson brought the ball up with a chance to bring the Colonials even closer. But Piipari stole the ball from Davidson at half court and was fouled going in for a layup with a few seconds remaining.

“I thought if we could have scored on that last possession, and got it to 14 or 13, I thought we got it right back to where we wanted it to be.” McKeown said. “But we started trading baskets (in the second half) and you can’t do that with them. We’d hit a three, they’d hit a three.”

Alexander said the team’s mindset at halftime was not to try and win on every possession, but to play careful and with better defense.

“To cut (the lead) down to ten or 15,” Alexander said. “And slowly, chip away. And go from there. Play better defense and not let them to have open three’s.”

The Musketeers opened the second half with an 11-4 run with outside shots falling like dry paint chips. The Colonials had no answer.

GW’s frustration reached its peak with about 14 minutes remaining. Down 24 points, Petra Dubovcova, who had two points in 25 minutes of play, had an open three-point opportunity, but instead passed to Lindsey Davidson. In front of the quiet crowd of 566, Corrin Reid barked at Dubovcova: “Petra, shoot it.”

Reid received a technical foul about 40 seconds later when she got tangled up with the tourney’s Most Valuable Player Jennifer Phillips, who is almost half a foot taller than Reid. Phillips was the first A-10 player since GW’s Debbie Hemery in 1995 to win the regular season and tourney MVP honors.

GW trailed by as many as 26 points in the second half and only once cut the lead to fewer than 20 points in the half. GW shot 34 percent from the floor, while Xavier shot 56 percent from the floor and an astounding 54 percent (12-for-23) from beyond the arc.

Erica Lawrence, who finished with a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds, led the Colonials. The anticipated match-up between Oha and Xavier’s 6-4 center Taru Tuukkanen was not as critical because Tuukkanen mostly passed the ball out to Xavier’s red-hot perimeter shooters. Oha finished the game with 15 points and one block. Oha scored 10 second-half points with Tuukkanen in foul trouble.

NOTES: Alexander and Vishniakova, who has been playing with a broken foot, were selected to the all-tournament team for the Colonials.

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