Women's Basketball Takes A-10 Title
Colonials roll over Rhode Island, 56-49
March 10, 2003
By JOSEPH WHITE
WASHINGTON - For all its success over the years, George Washington always seemed to stumble in its own conference tournament. Not this year.
Ugo Oha dominated inside with 26 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks as the Colonials overcame a surprisingly stubborn challenge from Rhode Island, beating the Rams 56-49 Monday in the Atlantic 10 championship game.
The Colonials (24-6), who have nine straight and 20 of 21, will be going to the NCAA tournament for the 10th time in 13 years, but this is their first tournament championship since 1996. Last year, a first-round tournament loss had them settling for the WNIT despite a 20-win season.
Denise King scored 22 points for the Rams (16-15), who had to be happy just to make it to the title game for the second time in school history and first time since 1984. Rhode Island, seeded fifth in the East, had a 5-11 conference record and became the lowest seed to get to the final since the conference went to a two-division format in 1996.
But the Rams, who lost 90-38 to George Washington on Jan. 2, kept it close in a game that turned into a second-half scoring duel between Oha and King. The two players overcame foul trouble to score 27 of the teams' combined 45 points in the second half.
Neither team led by more than six in the second half until the final minute. King's three-point play cut George Washington's lead to 48-47 with 3:29 to play, but the Rams didn't score again for nearly three minutes. Oha scored the next two baskets on inside moves to put the Colonials up by five with 1:19 to go, and free throws did the rest.
The Colonials, the No. 1 seed in the West with a 15-1 regular season record,
hosted the game as the higher seed of the two teams in the final. The Rams are
now 0-16 lifetime at the Smith Center.