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

Preview: Women’s basketball vs. Davidson

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Agam Mittal. 

What: Women’s basketball (11-6, 4-1 A-10) vs. Davidson (2-14, 0-4 A-10)

When: Sunday, January 15 at 2 p.m., CBSSN (TV)

Where: Charles E. Smith Center, Washington, D.C.

The Colonials will look to pick up their fifth win in six games as they host the Davidson Wildcats at the Smith Center, where GW is 6-1 this season and 47-7 over the past four years.

Case for the Colonials

When they faced off against the George Mason Patriots this past Wednesday, a normally-staunch Colonials defense gave up 32 first-half points and struggled to find stops before turning it around in the second half and overtime en route to a comeback victory.

After that game, head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said that her team is still working towards playing with intensity and energy for a full 40 minutes. They will get another shot to do so against a vulnerable Davidson team that is winless through four games of conference play.

The Colonials, owners of the third best scoring offense in the conference at 66.3 points per game, should find success on the offensive end against the Wildcats, who concede a conference-worst 72.1 points per game and allow opposing teams to shoot 41.5 percent from the field. The numbers seem to suggest that GW could be looking at a blowout victory, as one of the league’s top offenses faces off against one of the league’s weakest defenses.

Graduate transfer forward Lexi Martins continues to shine in A-10 play, averaging 14.5 points and 10.8 rebounds over the last four games and recording four consecutive double-doubles. Caira Washington, the team’s leading scorer, is averaging 11.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, making the duo of Martins and Washington one of the most explosive in the league and one that few teams have been able to limit.

Defensively, the Colonials must primarily focus on stopping two Wildcats – junior forward Mackenzie Latt and sophomore guard Justine Lyon, who are averaging 36.5 of the team’s 63.0 points per game in conference play. The Colonials can expect this duo to have the ball in their hands for most of the game, and if they are able to limit either player, they should avoid an upset.

Case for the Wildcats

The Colonials should be heavily favored in this game, but that makes it even more of a must-win game for GW. Should they let their guard down, any team in the Atlantic 10 could be capable of upsetting the Colonials and handing the back-to-back Atlantic 10 champions a bad loss. To illustrate, the Colonials’ lack of defensive focus led to a 66-61 loss to American University last month, a Patriot League team that was just 2-5 at the time.

One of the keys to American’s success was slowing down the normally uptempo GW offense, which feeds off of pushing the pace off of defensive stops and scoring points in transition. The Wildcats should look to emulate this strategy on the defensive end to limit the explosive Colonials offense, which scored 58 points in the second half and overtime against George Mason.

One way the Wildcats can slow down the Colonials is by looking to capitalize on their ability to force turnovers in order to get stops. They are one of the best in the conference when it comes to forcing turnovers via steals, with 8.3 per game; the Colonials will have to be careful with the rock.

Offensively, the Wildcats also have one of the most potent scoring duos in the league Latt and Lyon. Latt is a career 1000-point scorer who is averaging 15.7 ppg, the fourth-best mark in the conference, to go along with a team-best 8.3 rebounds. The last eight games combined, Latt is averaging a near double-double (19.8 ppg/9.8 rpg) and Justine Lyon has averages of 17.9 points and 5.5 rebounds.

However, the key for the Wildcats will be to get production from supporting players such as Chloe Johnson and Melanie Ransom, who need to be reliable third options to give their team a chance.

Bottom Line:

The Colonials have blown out the Wildcats in their previous two meetings and Sunday may be no different. With their balanced offensive attack facing a struggling defense, GW should be heavily favored at home.

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