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The GW Hatchet

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Women’s basketball looks to reboot after A-10 letdown, offseason exodus

Rachel Schwartz | Staff Photographer
Head Coach Caroline McCombs shouts instructions to her squad from the sideline.

After a loss to Saint Louis in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament that bookended an underachieving season, GW women’s basketball, led by Head Coach Caroline McCombs, has turned its attention toward the offseason and constructing a squad capable of A-10 contention.  

McCombs and her staff took advantage of the NCAA’s early signing period, which took place from Nov. 8 to Nov. 15,  to land commitments from three high school standouts as well as a high-octane point guard out of junior college. The quartet will hope to fill the gaps in the rotation left by departing seniors, graduate students and players electing to enter the transfer portal.

While the current incoming class boasts their fair share of accolades, point guard Gabby Reynolds may be the most decorated. The third-ranked prospect out of Michigan, according to PrepGirlsHoops, Reynolds was named Michigan’s 2024 Miss Basketball after breaking both West Ottawa High’s single-game and all-time scoring records in her senior season.

In what would be the final run of her storied high school career, Reynolds willed the Panthers to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1986. Despite her 25-point performance, West Ottawa couldn’t keep up with Rockford, falling 36-52.

In addition to Reynolds, McCombs nabbed another high school stalwart in Morgan Matthews out of The Pennington School in Brunswick, New Jersey. An explosive, 6’0″ guard, Matthews broke The Pennington School’s all-time scoring record of 1,413 career points in her senior season with Red Hawks en route to 2023-24 All-MAPL League Honors. 

In her last high school game, Matthews led her squad to victory in the Mercer Country Invitational Championship, finishing with 36 points and the win.

Despite seeking out talent from around the country, McCombs and company may have found a local gem in DMV native Kyraha Parnell. Hailing from Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia, the 6’3″ forward finished her illustrious career with the Fighting Bishops with more than 1,200 points, 800 rebounds and 300 steals. 

Parnell rounded out her senior season by being named Blue Ridge Athletic Conference Player of the Year as well as earning First Team All-State honors. With graduate student forwards Mayowa Taiwo and Maren Durant set to graduate, Parnell has a real opportunity to carve out a rotation role in a depleted Revs front court.

Finally, McCombs and the Revs will add Filipa Calisto, a 6’0” guard who spent her last two seasons at New Mexico Junior College, to an already dynamic back court led by 2023-24 leading scorer Nya Robertson. 

Calisto averaged 11.2 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting while pulling down 5.4 rebounds per game in her time with the Thunderbirds. In a Feb. 15 match up with Odessa College, Calisto had the best offensive performance of her collegiate career, scoring 20 points on eight-13 shooting to go along with 10 boards in a 90-89 loss.

While Reynolds, Matthews, Parnell and Calisto all committed to GW in early November, McCombs made her first postseason splash with the addition of South Georgia Tech JUCO forward Maéva Fotsa. Standing at 6’2″, Fotsa will add height to a depleted Revs front court in addition to experience, having played two seasons for the Lady Jets.

While the Revs, who finished 11th in the A-10 with a 6-12 conference record and 13-18 overall, have amassed an exciting group of newcomers, the squad hasn’t been immune to the pull of the portal.

Senior guard Asjah Inniss was the first player to announce her entrance into the portal March 22. Inniss started 26 games this season for the Revs, averaging 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity George Washington University has afforded me these last couple of years to be apart of the GDUB family,” Inniss wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m thankful for the connections and life long friendships I’ve built throughout this time.”

Freshman forward Jaylin Hartman announced her commitment to the University of Buffalo on March 29. Hartman appeared in seven games for the Revs this season, recording 29 total minutes of action. 

Freshman guard Monica Marsh announced her decision to enter the portal via social media March 27. Marsh saw playing time in 15 games this season, scoring a season-high 6 points against Dayton on Jan. 6. 

“The relationships I’ve built here at GW will be forever cherished,” Marsh wrote in an Instagram post. 

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