GW Women's Hoops Tips Off 30th Atlantic 10 Season on Saturday at UMass
Jan. 11, 2013
WHO: GW Women's Basketball (6-8)
WASHINGTON - The George Washington women's basketball team begins its 30th season of Atlantic 10 Conference action on Saturday afternoon when it visits Massachusetts for a 2 p.m. tipoff. Both founding members of the A-10, GW and UMass are two of just five institutions to have played in the league all 29 seasons it has sponsored women's basketball. GW has had a great deal of success in league play, posting a 303-141 (.682) record all-time.
The Colonials are 20-9 all-time in A-10 openers since the 1983-84 campaign, the first season the league sponsored women's basketball, including 8-4 when opening on the road and 2-0 when opening against UMass (1989, 1990). GW begins A-10 play on the road for the first time since 2008-09 at Richmond.
GW ended a three-year skid in A-10 openers last season with a 54-43 win over Fordham at the Smith Center on Jan. 7. Danni Jackson scored a career-high 23 points, and Tara Booker added 20 points and eight rebounds. Both A-10 preseason all-conference selections, Jackson and Booker have excelled in Atlantic 10 play in their careers, as Jackson has averaged 12.4 points and 3.5 assists over two seasons, while Booker has averaged 10.2 points and 7.1 rebounds in three years.
The Colonials (6-8) have lost three straight following a 67-56 loss at North Carolina A&T last Sunday in their non-conference finale. Senior Shi-Heria Shipp scored a career-high 16 points, while classmate Megan Nipe tallied a season-best 15.
Nipe (10.2 ppg) paces a balanced Colonials' offense in which four players are averaging more than 8.5 points per game. Booker is the Colonials' top rebounder with 5.7 rpg, while Jackson is averaging 5.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game, ranking fourth and third, respectively, in the A-10.
Massachusetts (2-13) has dropped eight in a row following a 57-55 loss to Dartmouth last Sunday. Kiara Bomben led the Minutewomen with a career-high 16 points. UMass has not won since Nov. 29 at Ohio.
Senior Jasmine Watson paces the Minutewomen with 12.8 points per game this season, and freshman Rashida Timbilla is the team's top rebounder with 8.2 rpg, which ranks sixth in the A-10. Timbilla also leads the league with a .521 shooting percentage. Emily Mital is UMass' top three-point threat, ranking second in the conference with 2.4 triples made per game.
As a team, UMass ranks at the bottom of the A-10 in defense, allowing 69.1 points per game and a .412 field goal percentage to its opponents. In addition, the Minutewomen have been outscored by an average of 9.8 points per game this season. However, UMass leads the A-10 in three-point percentage, shooting 34.5 percent from long distance.
UMass was picked to finish 15th out of 16 teams in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, and Watson was tabbed to the preseason all-conference second team. The Minutewomen return eight letterwinners but just two starters from last season's squad, which went 8-21 overall and 3-11 in conference play, tying for 12th place in the league standings.
GW is 35-9 all-time against UMass, including 12-9 on the road, and the Colonials have outscored the Minutewomen by an average of 13.0 points per game. The 35 wins are the third-most by the Colonials against an A-10 opponent, following Duquesne (47) and Rhode Island (36). The series began on Jan. 11, 1984, a 61-54 win for the host Minutewomen, who won three of the first five meetings before GW's string of success began, including a 21-1 stretch from 1987-97. Booker has averaged 16.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game in three career contests against UMass, as she has recorded a double-double in each contest.
Last season's 56-53 loss in Amherst snapped a five-game winning streak for GW against UMass. The game saw six ties and 16 lead changes. Booker posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Colonials, while Megan Zullo led the Minutewomen with 18 points on four three-pointers and added five assists and four steals.
After concluding their current four-game road trip against UMass, the Colonials return home for the first time in nearly a month to host A-10 rival Saint Joseph's on Thursday, Jan. 17.