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Serving the GW Community since 1904

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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

Basketball programs celebrate start of season at GDub Madness

Sabrina Godin | Hatchet Photographer

Men’s and women’s basketball rallied a crowd at the Smith Center to kick off the 2018-19 basketball season at GDub Madness Friday night.

The recently renamed season-opening rally – formerly called Colonial Madness – included a dance-off between the men’s and women’s teams, a dunking competition and a shootout between women’s basketball head coach Jennifer Rizzotti and men’s basketball head coach Maurice Joseph.

The night began with remarks from University President Thomas LeBlanc, who welcomed parents and families that traveled to Foggy Bottom for Colonials Weekend.

“Tonight we’re going to celebrate the magnificence of GW athletics, starting with our men’s basketball team and our women’s basketball team,” LeBlanc said.

Both teams tossed t-shirts into the crowd as rosters were announced.

[gwh_image id=”1069749″ credit=”Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor” align=”none” size=”embedded-img”]Freshman forward Mayowa Taiwo twirls during a dance performed by the women’s basketball team.[/gwh_image]

The women’s squad was the first to take the court. The team added four freshmen and one transfer to a squad that captured last year’s Atlantic 10 Championship crown.

First-year players guard Tori Hyduke, guard Maddie Loder, forward Mayowa Taiwo and center Kayla Mokwuah made their debut at the Smith Center alongside redshirt sophomore guard Sydney Zambrotta.

Rizzotti welcomed the crowd and said her team is thrilled to start the year coming off an NCAA tournament appearance.

“We know the standards are high, and we know you expect us to live up to them,” Rizzotti said. “I promise you this group has been working really hard.”

The men’s side added a trio of new faces this year with guard Shandon Brown and forwards Marcus Littles and Mezie Offurum taking the Smith Center court for the first time.

Brown said seeing the crowd at the event was an exciting reward after a month of tough practices.

“We’ve been looking forward to it all week long, all month long as it continued to get here,” Brown said.

Student Association President Ashley Le led the crowd in cheers following the team introductions, rewarding the loudest chants with GW merchandise tossed into the stands.

Joseph and Rizzotti also participated in a free-throw contest, with 30 seconds for each to knock in as many free throws as possible. Joseph came out on top sinking 12 shots from the stripe, while Rizzotti finished with seven.

The night ended in a dunk contest between guards sophomore Terry Nolan Jr. and junior Justin Williams. Williams garnered top scores from the judges, narrowly capturing a victory over Nolan.

Joseph said the night was an opportunity for his team to “let loose” as they prepare for an exhibition game against Division III opponent Catholic Sunday.

“Sunday is going to be the first test of a long journey,” Joseph said.

Men’s basketball will tip-off against Catholic at 4 p.m. Sunday. The women will open their season on the road against James Madison on Nov. 8.

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