No. 5-Seed GW Upset by 12th-Seeded Rhode Island 62-58 in A-10 First Round
March 6, 2009
CHARLOTTE, NC - George Washington senior center Jessica Adair recorded a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double, including a game-tying lay-in with 2:26 remaining, but Rhode Island converted four free throws in the final 24 seconds to knock-off the Colonials, 62-58, in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Championship at Charlotte's Halton Arena Friday afternoon.
Adair, who posted her sixth double-double of the season and 18th of her career, and freshman Tara Booker, who added 13 points, combined for 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting, but the Colonials' nine other players hit only 9-of-37 field goals (24.3 percent) in the program's earliest exit from the league postseason since 1985.
GW falls to 17-13 overall under first-year head coach Mike Bozeman and will await a potential postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament bid. The 48-team WNIT field will be announced Monday, March 16. Rhode Island (10-20) advances to Saturday's quarterfinal round where it will face No. 4-seed Richmond at 2:30 pm. The loss snaps GW's 15-game winning streak over URI dating back to 1997.
Adair gave the Colonials their largest lead at 39-33 on a pair of free throws at the 16:29 mark of the second half and followed with four straight points to assume a 43-38 advantage with 14:44 remaining.
GW then struggled through a 5:39 scoring drought and Rhode Island capitalized with a 12-0 run - with eight total points from Lara Gaspar and Lindsay Harris - to seize control at 50-43 with 9:31 to play.
The Colonials steadily worked their way back behind a pair of three-pointers from senior Antelia Parrish and another from Booker to trail 58-56 with 2:55 left. Tanja Licina missed inside and sophomore Erica Rivera grabbed the rebound and found Adair on the block for the game-tying basket.
Both teams' missed on their next three shots, but it was an inside miss by senior Yolanda Lavender which sprung the Rams on a 3-on-1 fast break. Sophomore Ivy Abiona raced back to foul Gaspar, who converted both free throws to put URI on top, 60-58, with 24 seconds remaining.
GW worked its offense for a open corner three by Booker, but the shot rimmed out, Harris was fouled on the rebound and hit both ends at the line as Rhode Island avenged last year's 70-43 quarterfinal loss to the Colonials.
Harris and Crystal Bellinger each scored 15 points to lead the Rams, followed by 12 from Licina and 10 from Gaspar. Rhode Island shot 41.1 percent from the field and hit 13-of-16 free throws, while GW shot just 34.4 percent, including 9-of-31 in the second half, and converted 10-of-15 charity attempts.
Adair likely finishes her four-year career 11th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,455 points and seventh in rebounds with 765.
GW missed its first six shots from the floor, but shot 50.0 percent (12-of-24) the remainder of the first half and grabbed a 25-20 lead on a Lavender three-pointer with 2:33 left in the period.
After Licina answered with consecutive baskets in the lane to close within a point, Booker tossed in a baseline hook shot with 13 seconds to play for a 27-24 edge. However, Harris converted a three-point play with 2.5 seconds in the half to bring the Rams even, 27-27, at the break.