GW Women's Basketball Advances By La Salle in A-10 Championship
Cummings, Prange and Tapias combine for 43 points as Colonials rout Explorers
WASHINGTON - For the George Washington women's basketball team on Wednesday night, the game was simple. Survive and advance. The 5th-seeded Colonials hosted the 12-seed La Salle Explorers in Atlantic 10 Championship action at the Charles E. Smith Center, with a berth to Friday's Quarterfinals on the line.
After a resounding 69-49 win, GW moves on to the Richmond Coliseum to take on George Mason at 2pm on Friday. Previously this season the Colonials defeated the Patriots, 62-52, at Smith Center on January 7th and again at EagleBank Arena, 65-61, on February 7th.
The Colonials started relatively slow against the visiting Explorers, and found themselves in a five-point hole midway through the second quarter. GW survived the start, however, and advanced on a 17-0 run punctuated by a Kelli Prange three-pointer to rally from a 21-16 second quarter deficit to a 33-21 lead. La Salle stopped the bleeding with a bucket in the closing minute of the second stanza, only to once again be subdued by Prange with another triple to enter the halftime locker room up 36-23.
The second half was a different story as GW ran away and hid from La Salle, extending to a 29-point lead at its largest, to cruise to the victory. Prange was efficient in netting her 16 points in 23 minutes of action, in a 5-of-11 performance that featured perfect marksmanship from three-point range (2-of-2) and the free throw line (4-of-4). Fellow senior Brianna Cummings, playing in her final A-10 game at home, led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while playing her usual tenacious defense to lead a charge that forced 23 La Salle turnovers, four coming courtesy of Cummings' steals.
Emerging as one of the premier playmakers not just in the conference but in the country, junior point guard Mei-Lyn Bautista was exquisite with the rock. While dishing nine assists, some of which came with her trademarked no-look flair, against nary a turnover, Bautista helped GW assist on 19 of 26 made field goals, as the squad committed just nine miscues. The whopping turnover disparity between the clubs yielded a mammoth 27-7 edge in points off turnovers that was the difference maker in the 20-point game.
Kelsi Mahoney also reached double figures in scoring with 10 points to go with her team-high five rebounds while Neila Luma (nine points, three rebounds) and Camila Tapias (nine points, three rebounds, four assists) finished just shy of double figures.
La Salle was led by Adreana Miller (14 points), Shalina Miller (13) and Amy Griffin (12).
The 4th-seeded Mason Patriots now await with the potential semifinal opponent (Sat., 11 a.m.) coming from the winner of No. 1 Dayton vs. No. 8 Richmond. First GW will look to improve to 3-0 against their Revolutionary Rival this season.
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