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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Women’s basketball team falls to Saint Mary’s

Graduate student forward Tara Booker releases a shot during the first half of a previous game this season. Hatchet File Photo by Ashley Lucas | Assistant Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Sophia Omuemu.

With 12 minutes left in the first half, senior guard Danni Jackson netted a trey to tie the game 14-14. But that would be the last time the Colonials came within striking distance of Saint Mary’s Gaels.

GW continued its four-game road swing against the Gaels Sunday in the programs’ first matchup since 2004. Coming off of a tough 70-43 loss to No. 8 California, GW took the court with hopes of obtaining its seventh win of the season.

Senior forward Megan Nipe started the Colonials off with a quick three-pointer within the first two minutes of the game while graduate student center Sara Mostafa made her defensive presence known early with a key defensive board. But though Mostafa would end the game with five total boards, it wasn’t enough to spark a commanding inside game for GW, bested 45-33 at the boards. That stalled the Colonials’ attack, ultimately contributing to the 79-49 loss.

“We need to continue to rebound the ball better. It allows us to get more and easier opportunities,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.

Both teams entered the game aggressively, and through the early moments of the first half, GW trailed the Gaels closely with the help of freshman forward Anjaleace White’s three back-to-back shots in the paint.

But the Colonials began to struggle on the defensive end once Jackson tied the game with 12 minutes left in the half. Saint Mary’s aggressively pushed the ball down the court, and was able to pull ahead with a 12-point lead with four minutes left in the first half.

“We were in a position where offensively, we weren’t being as aggressive as we needed to be, especially in transition,” Tsipis said. “We needed to take advantage of breaks and really attack using our ball screens.”

The Gaels attacked the Colonials’ strong man-to-man defense, ultimately leading to GW committing 10 fouls in the first half. It wasn’t his team’s best defensive effort this season, Tsipis allowed, but based on its past games, he’s confident it will recover quickly. And despite its struggles, GW closed the first half only eight points behind after senior forward Shi-Heria Shipp sunk two free throws.

Though the Colonials entered the second with renewed intensity, the Gaels matched that play. The two teams traded back-and-forth scoring before Saint Mary’s exploded out on a 15-0 run that sunk GW’s chances of further pulling ahead.

“When you’re down eight or nine, you can’t trade baskets for the whole half but I think when they went on a run, we weren’t really able to match,” Tsipis said.

Saint Mary ended the game with a 49.1 field goal percentage compared to GW’s 31.7 percent. The Gaels were also 40 percent from the arc, and used a second scoring run in the second half, 10-0, to further widen the lead.

“I felt like defensively that wasn’t our normal effort. I think we are a good defensive team and to give up 79 points and [have] them shoot that high of a percentage, not only from the field but from the three-point line is not like us,” Tsipis said.

Jackson and Shipp led the team with 13 points each, with Jackson adding five assists to pad the stat sheet. Nipe added six points and six rebounds, and graduate student forward Tara Booker chipped in four points and a team-high eight rebounds.

As the Colonials head to North Carolina A&T Jan. 6, Tsipis said that it will be key for his team to return to the solid defensive play it exhibited earlier in the season.

“We need to create more things in the half court and turn people over so we can get out in transition,” Tsipis said. “I think that’s how we’ll improve defensively and not rely on just jump shots to go down.”

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