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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Colonials can’t complete upset in first round of A-10 tournament

The word head coach Mike Bozeman used to describe his feelings after the women’s basketball team’s loss Friday night in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament was proud.

Proud not of the fact that his team lost 61-58 to Dayton and not of the fact that that loss had ended a second-straight disappointing season for his team, but of his players who, despite taking the court with eight players Friday night after playing with a short bench for nearly the entire season, nearly pulled an upset against a team that beat GW by 16 points earlier this year.

“These girls played today and they did everything I asked them to do,” Bozeman said. “We got our chances. I mean, we were right there. They did everything I asked them to do. I think they grew some as a team tonight.”

Early on, there wasn’t much for Bozeman to be enthused about as he watched the Flyers jump out to a 32-24 first half advantage on the backs of Justine Raterman and Kristin Daugherty who both had 10 points before halftime for Dayton.

GW made halftime adjustments though to slow the Flyers’ scorers down, switching defenses to focus on slowing down Dayton’s perimeter scoring. The strategy worked, forcing Dayton to shoot just over 31 percent from the floor in the second half. The lockdown on the defensive end also allowed the Colonials to develop an offensive rhythm to the tune of a 56.5 shooting percentage after halftime.

On the strength of that second half resurgence, GW, the tournament’s 11th seed, found itself in position late to upset the sixth-seeded Flyers, down just one with less than 30 seconds to play. The Colonials fed the ball junior center Sara Mostafa, the team’s leading scorer Friday night, but before she could even put up a shot, Mostafa was called for traveling and the ball, along with the Colonials’ best chance of earning their first postseason win in Bozeman’s three years as head coach, slipped away.

“That same move [Mostafa] just made and got called for a walk on, she was doing very successfully all night, so we felt comfortable going to her,” Bozeman said. “I don’t know whether it was a good call or a bad call.”

Despite being called for traveling late, Mostafa carried the Colonials for stretches of Friday night’s game and led the team in both scoring with 15 points and rebounds with eight. Junior guard Tiana Myers also played well offensively for GW with 14 points against the Flyers, and redshirt sophomore Brooke Wilson rounded out the Colonials top scorers with 11 points.

Noticeably absent from the stat sheet was junior guard Tara Booker, who played 39 minutes but didn’t score in the GW loss. Like many of her teammates, Booker has dealt with nagging injuries for much of the season and Bozeman said that despite her disappointing offensive output, he was impressed with her toughness Friday night.

“Tara Booker played 39 minutes tonight, and yesterday she could barely finish practice,” Bozeman said. “They gaae me everything they had and I’m proud of them. I’m finished with moral victories but I’m proud of the way they played tonight, representing George Washington.”

With the season now over, Bozeman said he was happy to finally be able to allow his battered team to rest after watching it struggle through a second straight season in which injuries devastated the Colonials’ roster. Bozeman was without six players for Friday night’s game, and many of the players he did have in uniform were less than 100 percent.

“I’ll tell you man, I feel bad for the girls,” Bozeman said. “There’s a sense of relief that I don’t have to push these girls or ask these girls to do these things that are physically pushing their bodies to the limit.”

With 2010-2011 in the books, Bozeman said he was already looking forward to next season, when his bench will once again be full of healthy players instead of injured ones. It will be an opportunity, he said, to live up to the kind of tradition that GW, once a proud women’s basketball powerhouse in the A-10, is used to.

“That’s what I would ask of the George Washington faithful, is to stick with this group,” Bozeman said. “We have a lot in the tank that can produce the kind of wins that our George Washington University is used to, but I got to allow these girls to get healthy.”

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