Women's Hoops Drops Local Rival American, 61-44
Mahoney buries five three-pointers as Colonials snap losing streak with win over Eagles
WASHINGTON - Junior Kelsi Mahoney connected on a career-high five three-pointers en route to 15 points and freshman Neila Luma chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds as the George Washington women's basketball team snapped a four-game skid with a hard-fought 61-44 win over American on Sunday afternoon at the Charles E. Smith Center.
The last six games for GW (4-7) saw the team play four teams from power conferences, three teams receiving votes in national polls, two ranked teams and a pair of road contests, with every game in the stretch presenting its own challenge. Adding to the task for GW, leading scorer Kelli Prange has been out with a concussion, missing her fourth straight game on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, the Colonials entered the game trying to snap a four-game losing skid and having dropped five of six overall.
On paper, American (6-4) provided a bit of a respite, but in a series that has seen the local rivals split 26 all-time meetings entering today, GW knew it would get American's best. The Eagles entered play holding their opponents to 36 percent shooting, so a good start for the Colonials at home was paramount. Thanks to Mahoney and Lexus Levy in the early going, GW got just that. The pair combined for 12 points and four assists in the opening stanza, as each buried a pair of triples to get the Colonials out to a 19-13 lead after one. Mahoney went on to nail two more three-pointers in the second quarter to send the home squad into the locker room at halftime with a 32-23 advantage, having connected on 7-of-11 threes as a team (.636) and 11-of-24 from the field overall (.458).
After a Mei-Lyn Bautista three to beat the third quarter buzzer gave GW its largest lead of the game at 21, the Colonials were able to cruise to victory in the fourth knowing that the most grueling stretch of its schedule this season is now in the rearview mirror.
On the day GW shot a blistering 10-of-16 (.625) from long range, a season-high percentage that saw the team account for nearly half of its 21 field goals from behind the arc. The Colonials assisted on 16 of those field goals, led by the freshman Levy's four dimes. After entering play today pacing the A-10 with a league-low 13.4 turnovers per game, GW was just a fraction off its season average with 14 turnovers on Sunday. The defense was active on the other end, forcing 15 giveaways with five steals, which translated into 15 points.
Mahoney's career-high 15 points were tops for GW, while freshman Neila Luma tossed in 12 along with seven rebounds and a block.
Despite not seeing her recent efforts reflected in the win-loss column until today, senior Brianna Cummings entered play today having averaged 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the last four, and nearly double-doubled against the Eagles with nine points and a career-high tying 10 rebounds, while also stuffing the stat sheet with three assists, three steals and a pair of blocks.
After being limited to just three minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Bautista finished with eight points, three assists one rebound and one steal in a solid second half. Freshman Chyna Latimer also had a strong showing, finishing with six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Colonials nearly led wire-to-wire, save for a 52-second stretch in the first quarter when American briefly enjoyed a two-point lead. The visitors were led by Michael Harris' 17 points, but the stingy GW defense allowed Harris' teammates to make just 9-of-36 field goals (.250) as the Eagles connected at a .321 clip as a whole, including 1-of-12 from long range.
GW closes non-conference play on Friday in West Long Branch, New Jersey, against Monmouth in a weekday matinee at 2pm, before traveling to the Bronx to face Fordham in the Atlantic 10 opener on New Year's Eve at 2 p.m.
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