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Georgetown snaps Colonial win streak

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Daniel Wright.

Junior guard Danni Jackson spots up for a jumper in transition during Sunday's match against Georgetown. Daniel Wright | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Junior guard Danni Jackson spots up for a jumper in transition during Sunday's match against Georgetown. Daniel Wright | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Six minutes into the Colonials cross-town rivalry game against No. 20 Georgetown (ESPN/USA Today), head coach Mike Bozeman’s actions said everything about the intensity of the game.

As the Hoyas took an early lead and Bozeman’s jacket came off, he indicated that the Colonials were going to have to battle hard if they wanted to defeat their first ranked opponent since the 2007-08 season.

Despite taking the lead with just four minutes to play in a back-and-forth contest, GW (5-4) ultimately fell 59-50 to Georgetown, snapping GW’s four game win-streak.

“We had an opportunity to win this game and we need to grow to the point where we don’t just have opportunities,” Bozeman said. “I think we’re at the point now where that game was ours to win. We just didn’t make enough big plays down in the last four minute stretch to win it and Georgetown did. I think we’re at the point where we’re not shooting for moral victories, we legitimately came into the No. 20 ranked team in the country and legitimately had that game. I felt we were right there and just lost it.”

Coming in with one of the top ranked defenses in the A-10 conference, the Colonials implemented their full court press early in the first half, forcing 10 turnovers and tallying seven steals. The defense limited Georgetown to just 28.1 percent shooting from the floor and just 13.3 percent from behind the arc in the first half, but the Colonials struggled to find a consistent rhythm offensively. Both sides made just nine field goals apiece in the first half, and the Hoyas took a 23-22 lead into halftime.

Playing without senior center Sara Mostafa, who broke her hand in practice the day before, the Colonials lacked their biggest presence in the paint as they faced Georgetown’s 6-foot-6 center Sydney Wilson. But GW didn’t let its roster woes drain its intensity, matching the Hoyas’ 21 rebounds in the first half, lead by junior forward Megan Nipe’s seven boards.

In addition to Mostafa, the Colonials were also without freshman guard Bria Bourgeois, who will miss six to eight weeks with a broken thumb. Mostafa’s timeline for return is still unclear, with the center slated to meet with doctors tomorrow. Although pointing out that the loss to Mostafa was a big setback, Bozeman thought other factors were more to blame than for the loss than her absence.

“It definitely hurt us, but I won’t say that’s why we lost the game,” Bozeman said. “We did miss her and the inside presence that she gives us and I think that enabled their [center] in the end to be a lot more effective than she would have if Mostafa was in.”

As the second half began, Georgetown pulled out to a fast start, extending their lead by as much as five points with 10 minutes to play. Using a full court press similar to the Colonials, Georgetown forced GW into 24 turnovers and committed only 16. Losing the turnover battle was something Bozeman identified as key to the Colonials defeat.

“I have to go with turnovers as a big key to [the loss],” Bozeman said. “No doubt about it. Their press causes that.”

Junior guard Danni Jackson, who finished with 10 points, had a career-high eight steals for the Colonials and provided a catalyst with her defensive pressure and ball movement in transition. Led by her presence on defense, the Colonials regained the lead with four minutes to play in a game that that saw seven ties and seven lead changes.

Redshirt junior forward Brooke Wilson added eight points and nine rebounds, four of them on the offensive side of the ball, and came up with key put backs under the basket down the stretch. Senior guard Tiana Meyers also added eight points, and senior forward Brooke Wilson matched Jackson’s team-high with 10 points.

Senior guard Tiana Myers drains a three over her defender in the first half of the game against the Hoyas. Daniel Wright | Hatchet Staff Photographer

But it was Wilson of Georgetown who ultimately came up with two baskets that extended the Hoyas lead to six with just over a minute to play, as the Colonials had no answer for her size on the low post. Despite missing out on an opportunity to record his first victory against a top 25 team, Bozeman saw the defeat as a big testament to his squad’s ability to compete with nationally ranked teams.

“I think we can compete with anybody in the country if we’re playing our game and if we take the lessons that we were learn in all of our games this season and get better,” Bozeman said. “I’m very proud of them, but again we’ve been doing moral victories for two years with all the injuries. I think we’re right there where we get over the hump and these guys are playing hard and executing. They are playing with a lot more confidence than anybody thought.”

Jackson echoed her coach’s comments, stressing the confidence her team brings to the court.

“I think today helps us with our confidence and shows that we’re not the team that we were last year,” Jackson said. “Going forward we see that we can play with those top 25 teams and we can compete.”

The Colonials next square off against Loyola Dec. 18th at the Smith Center at 2 p.m.

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