Booker's Heroics Lift GW Women's Hoops Past Howard, 61-60
Dec. 15, 2012
WASHINGTON - Tara Booker had quite the second half for the George Washington women's basketball team on Saturday afternoon. Not only did she score her 1,000th career point, but the graduate student also converted a four-point play with six seconds remaining to complete a 13-point comeback and send the Colonials to a 61-60 victory over crosstown rival Howard at the Charles E. Smith Center.
GW (5-5) trailed by three, 60-57, after Howard guard Cheyenne Curley-Payne made one of her two free throws with 14 seconds left. Senior Danni Jackson brought the ball up the court and passed it to Booker on the wing, and with six seconds on the clock and a hand in her face, she sank the three-pointer to tie the game and was fouled. Booker calmly nailed her biggest foul shot of the season to give the Colonials their first lead since the 11:33 mark of the first half.
Howard (4-5) had one final opportunity to win the game, but Curley-Payne's last-second attempt was no good, and GW came away with the thrilling 61-60 come-from-behind victory, snapping a three-game skid as well as the Lady Bison's four-game winning streak.
The Colonials trailed, 55-42, with five and a half minutes to go but scored eight straight points, capped by a big three-pointer from freshman Aaliyah Brown, to claw within five, 55-50, with 3:38 left. Howard made four free throws over the next three minutes and led by seven, 59-52, with 1:15 remaining.
Booker responded with a triple and Jackson followed with a difficult fade-away jumper to make it a two-point game with 15 seconds left. The Colonials committed the foul following a timeout, and Curley-Payne, who was just 5-for-10 from the line on the night, made 1-of-2 to set the stage for Booker's game-winning heroics, which capped a 19-5 GW run.
The teams stayed close for most of the first half, and GW led, 14-10, with 11:51 to go before Howard's Kara Smith drained a three-pointer to spark a 13-point run that also included a pair of triples by Imani Bailey. Freshman Anjaleace White and sophomore Chakecia Miller scored five straight points for the Colonials to pull back within four, 23-19, but the Lady Bison answered with another seven-in-a-row to regain a double-digit advantage and lead, 30-23, at halftime.
Needing 11 points heading into the game to become the 27th member of GW's 1,000-point club, Booker finished with game-highs of 18 points and nine rebounds. She is just the 10th Colonials' player ever with 1,000 points and 600 rebounds in her career. She reached the milestone on a jumper from the corner with 4:18 to go during GW's 8-0 run.
Booker was the lone Colonial to score in double figures, senior Shi-Heria Shipp tallied nine points and Brown finished with eight. In addition, Jackson dished out a career-high 11 assists, and senior Megan Nipe added six points, eight rebounds and three steals. In her first game back from an injury that sidelined her the last two games, graduate student Sara Mostafa pulled down nine rebounds, including five on the offensive glass.
Saadia Doyle led four Lady Bison in double figures with 15 points and nine boards, while Bailey also tallied 15 points and Curley-Payne had 14 points, six assists and four steals.
The Colonials have a week off for final exams before hosting local rival George Mason on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 12:00 p.m. as part of an afternoon basketball doubleheader at the Smith Center. GW men's basketball will host VMI at 3:00 p.m., and tickets for either event are good for both games.