GW Women's Hoops Returns to Smith Center to Host Saint Joseph's on Thursday
Jan. 16, 2013
WHO: GW Women's Basketball (6-9, 0-1 A-10)
WASHINGTON - After nearly a month on the road, the George Washington women's basketball team returns to the Charles E. Smith Center on Thursday evening to host Atlantic 10 rival Saint Joseph's at 7 p.m.
GW (6-9, 0-1 A-10) has not played at the Smith Center since defeating George Mason, 60-52, on Dec. 22 - a stretch of 26 days that included four road games. The Colonials are 4-2 at home this season and 22-7 all-time in A-10 home openers.
A founding member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, GW is one of five institutions to have played in the league all 31 seasons it has sponsored women's basketball. GW has had a great deal of success in league play, posting a 303-141 record all-time. Saint Joseph's is also a charter member of the A-10, and with 306 league wins, is the only program with more conference victories than GW.
Graduate student Tara Booker and senior Danni Jackson, both A-10 preseason all-conference selections, have excelled in Atlantic 10 play in their careers. Jackson has averaged 12.5 points and 3.6 assists per game over three seasons, while Booker has averaged 10.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in four years.
GW dropped its fourth straight game on Saturday, falling at Massachusetts, 62-58, in the A-10 opener for both teams. The Colonials used a 16-5 run late in the second half to pull within three points but could not complete the comeback. Jackson and Booker led all scorers with 14 points. Booker made 4-of-9 three-point attempts and added three steals and a team-high six rebounds, while Jackson recorded five assists and three steals. In addition, sophomore Chakecia Miller tallied nine points and five steals and matched her career-high with six assists.
Senior Megan Nipe (10.1 ppg) paces a balanced Colonials' offense in which four players are averaging more than 8.5 points per game. Booker is GW's top rebounder with 5.7 rpg, while Jackson is averaging 5.3 assists and 2.6 steals per game, ranking fourth in the A-10 in both categories.
Saint Joseph's (10-5, 1-0 A-10) has won five of its last six games since Dec. 21, with its only loss in that span coming to No. 17 UCLA, 73-65, on Dec. 31. The Hawks are coming off an 82-62 rout of Richmond in its A-10 opener on Saturday. Chatilla van Grinsven recorded a double-double of 24 points and 18 rebounds, while Erin Shields tallied 21 points as four Hawks scored in double figures.
Van Grinsven is the reigning A-10 co-Player of the Week. She ranks fifth in the league in scoring (15.0 ppg) and third in rebounding (10.3 rpg), and is one of three A-10 players averaging a double-double on the season.
As a team, Saint Joseph's is one of the top offenses and defenses in the Atlantic 10, averaging 64.1 points per game (4th) and allowing just 56.2 points per contest (3rd), outscoring opponents by nearly eight points per game. The Hawks have also committed the second-fewest turnovers in the A-10 (14.5 per game).
Saint Joseph's was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, and senior guard Ashley Prim was tabbed to the preseason all-conference third team. The Hawks have earned a WNIT berth in three straight seasons but return just one starter from the 2011-12 squad, which posted a 22-11 overall record.
GW is 24-28 all-time against Saint Joseph's, one of just two teams in the A-10 against which the Colonials have a losing record. The series began on Feb. 7, 1981, an 83-67 win for the host Hawks, who took 18 of the first 21 meetings. Saint Joseph's has also won the last three meetings in the series. Jackson has averaged 13.0 points and 4.0 assists in two career contests against the Hawks.
Last season on Feb. 26, Saint Joseph's edged GW, 52-49, in the regular-season finale at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia. The Colonials rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to pull within two but fell short. Booker posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while the Hawks were led by 12 points from Kelly Cavallo.
The Colonials next hit the road again for two more games at VCU (Jan. 20) and Dayton (Jan. 4) before returning to the Smith Center on Jan. 27 to host Rhode Island.