Women's Basketball Advances to Semifinals with Win Over Richmond, 61-51
GW (21-7) Defeats Richmond (13-17) in the Quarterfinals and Plays Saint Joseph's (20-9) Tomorrow at 2PM
March 4, 2006
PHILADELPHIA, PA - The George Washington Colonials (21-7) defeated the Richmond Spiders (13-17) in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship, 61-51. Jessica Simmonds, GW's only senior, led the Colonials with her 11th double-double as a Colonial when she scored 18 points and tied a career-high with 14 rebounds. Simmonds scored 12 of her points in the first half. Sarah-Jo Lawrence scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half and Kimberly Beck scored all 12 of her points in the second half. With the victory, GW advances to the Semifinals against host Saint Joseph's who upset Xavier, 70-67, in the game following GW's.
The Spiders and Colonials had split regular season games, each team winning on the opponent's home court. The Colonials won this year's series with the Spiders on the strength of their rebounding, improving to 15-0 when outrebounding opponents. GW had a 48-37 advantage on the boards and had 16 offensive rebounds which led to an amazing 18-0 advantage on second chance points. GW had that many chances in part because it shot less than 30 percent in the first half but the team improved to almost 40 percent in the second half settling on making a third of their shots for the game.
Richmond was led by Alison Mitchell who scored 19 points while Mirna Mazic had 13. Jessica Adair played an important role in the paint for the Colonials with eight points and nine rebounds. All of Beck's points came in the second half including back-to-back three pointers, the first of which put the Colonials ahead for good 43-40 with 10:18 left in the game. Perhaps the most important key to the Colonials victory was their ability to make clutch foul shots down the stretch. GW went 7-8 from the line over the last 51 seconds of the game to extend its lead to a game-high 10 by the final whistle.
Lawrence scored her first point of the game with two seconds left in the first half. She was also the first for GW to score in the second half but not until almost 3:30 minutes had expired. With the scoring drought, Richmond extended its lead to a game-high seven points. After the slow start in the second frame, GW went on a 9-0 run to take its first lead, 40-38 of the second half. After Richmond answered for the eighth and final tie of the game, GW's Beck hit her first of two-straight three-pointers.
The Colonials play next at 2:00 p.m. against tournament host Saint Joseph's (20-9). If the Colonials win they would play in the Atlantic 10 Championship game on Monday at 5:00 p.m., which will be televised on ESPN2. The Colonials are the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the top team remaining on the other side of the bracket is No. 3 seed Temple, after No. 2 Charlotte was upset by No. 10 Duquesne.