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Women’s basketball drops second-straight A-10 matchup to Saint Louis

Maya Nair | Staff Photographer
The loss marked the Colonials’ second in the conference last week, but their two-game road trip has come to an end.

Women’s basketball’s loss to Saint Louis Saturday was a tale of two offenses – one that kept firing from the SLU perimeter to no avail and another that pounded through the GW interior to power the Billikens to a 76-64 victory.

The Colonials (16-10, 8-5 A-10) missed 32 of a staggering 40 shots from 3-point range, nearly double their season average of 23.9 attempts from deep, as they fell 76-64 to the Billikens (11-16, 7-5). SLU launched a much more conservative 7-16 from beyond the arc and picked up most of their points from inside.

Though SLU’s 22 turnovers and lax defensive rebounding kept the game within reach, they seemed content to let GW fire 3 after 3, and the Colonials obliged despite their own inefficiency. GW hung on to fourth place in the Atlantic 10 despite the loss, but Saint Joseph’s follows one game behind.

SLU jumped off to a quick start with three straight unanswered baskets in the first two minutes to make it 6-0. The Colonials responded with an open 3 from graduate forward Mia Lakstigala off the assist from senior guard Nya Lok.

Lok dropped 18 points on 6-12 shooting from the field and an efficient 3-6 from behind the arc, leading GW in both field goal and 3-point percentage.

Lakstigala went on to register seven points, but she was just 1-9 from 3-point land.

SLU pushed their lead to 14-5 at midquarter when junior forward Peyton Kennedy knocked down a triple. Lok quickly brought it back to a one-possession game with two back-to-back 3s of her own, making it 14-11.

The Billikens continued their consistent offensive attack, scoring steadily to close the quarter up 20-17. The more sporadic GW offense ended the quarter with nine more field goal attempts than Saint Louis but one less make.

Freshman guard Nya Robertson opened the second quarter for GW with a pair of free throws to cut the lead down to one. Robertson nailed a 3 on the next possession to give the Colonials their first lead of the evening with nine to go in the second quarter.

Another 3-ball fell for the Colonials with just under six minutes to go, this time from Lok off the assist from Lakstigala, which pushed the lead to 29-24. As the quarter winded down, GW’s narrow lead turned into a deadlock at 34, until a last-possession 3 from SLU senior guard Kyla McMakin closed the half at 37-34.

Although the Colonials made just .333 percent of their first-half field goals, they stayed competitive with their hustle, winning the rebounding battle 22-18 and scoring 10 second-chance points.

The first half of quarter No. 3 featured a 12-4 Billiken run that put GW down nine, 49-40. Ten of the 12 points in this run came from inside scores, contributing to SLU’s success on the interior, with 38 points coming from the painted area on the night. 

With 3:30 to play in the third, the Colonials capitalized on consecutive turnovers as junior guard Asjah Inniss scored back-to-back midrange jumpers to pull the Colonials back within a possession, 47-46. 

Graduate guard Camre Clegg capped off a last-minute Billikens run with the lone 3 of the quarter, putting SLU back out in a comfortable lead, 54-46.

The Colonial defense forced 22 turnovers, well above their season average of 15.2, allowing them to keep it close through the matchup.

Just a minute into the fourth quarter, senior forward Mayowa Taiwo nabbed a steal and ran coast to coast to catch and score inside off a pinpoint pass from sophomore guard Maxine Engel, bringing the deficit back down to 6. 

Both sides traded baskets as the Colonials tried to pull it back within striking distance, and a 3 by Inniss with just under two minutes to go did just that, putting the score at 68-64. But the Billikens’ efficiency from the free throw line closed it out late-game as they used the clock to their advantage and went a perfect 7-7 in the fourth quarter, with 6 coming in the last two minutes.

Six GW players attempted a 3 on the night, but only Lok managed to shoot better than 25 percent. GW’s reliance on the 3 for offensive production was atypical, and the lack of success, shooting .200 percent compared to a season average of .332 percent, made it a questionable decision to keep firing from beyond the arc at all.

The loss marked the Colonials’ second in the conference last week, but their two-game road trip has come to an end. GW returns to the Smith Center to face Loyola Chicago at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

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