GW Women's Hoops Set for A-10 Championship
March 7, 2013
WHO: GW Women's Basketball (13-15, 7-7 A-10)
PHILADELPHIA - The No. 8 seed George Washington women's basketball team will take on No. 9 Richmond in the first round of the 2013 Buick Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena on the campus of Saint Joseph's University.
The Colonials (13-15, 7-7 A-10) are making their 31st appearance in the Atlantic 10 Championship, one of three teams to qualify for every league postseason since the tournament began in 1983, joining Saint Joseph's and Temple. GW is 32-26 all-time in the A-10 Championship. Last season, No. 10 GW fell to No. 7 Duquesne, 69-55, in the first round. The No. 8 seed is the Colonials' highest since 2009, when they were seeded fifth. The Colonials' 13 overall wins and seven Atlantic 10 victories this season are their most since 2009, when they went 17-14 overall and 9-5 in league play, and advanced to the WNIT.
The Colonials are 2-0 all-time against Richmond in the A-10 Championship, with the wins coming in the 2005 semifinals and the 2006 quarterfinals. A win over the Spiders would move GW into Saturday's quarterfinals against top-seeded and 11th-ranked Dayton, which has a first-round bye after completing a perfect conference season.
GW is 18-10 all-time against Richmond. The Spiders had won eight straight prior to the Colonials' 57-54 win earlier this season at the Smith Center. Graduate student Tara Booker, who was selected to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team on Thursday (first Colonials player to earn the honor since 2008), is averaging 10.9 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 46.2 percent from the floor in seven career games against Richmond, while senior Danni Jackson has posted 9.8 points and 2.8 assists in five contests.
The Colonials defeated the Spiders, 57-54, on Feb. 6 at the Smith Center. Sophomore Chakecia Miller scored four points in the final 11 seconds and came up with a key steal to propel GW to the come-from-behind win. Seniors Megan Nipe and Shi-Heria Shipp led the Colonials with a game-high 12 points apiece, and Shipp added nine rebounds. Kristina King and Becca Wann paced the Spiders in the previous meeting this season with 11 points each.
GW is coming off a 68-55 victory over Saint Louis in the regular-season finale on Sunday. Four Colonials scored in double figures, led by Nipe's career-high 20 points. Jackson netted 17, and graduate student Sara Mostafa added 13 points and eight rebounds in her final game at the Charles E. Smith Center.
Richmond (16-14, 6-8 A-10), which was picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, has won four of their last five contests after starting 2-7 in conference play. Richmond ended the season with a 64-55 loss to Charlotte on Sunday. Wann led the Spiders with 14 points off the bench and also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, while Rachael Bilney added 13 points and eight boards.
Three Spiders are scoring in double figures this season, led by King, who ranks eighth in the Atlantic 10 with 13.1 points per game this season. Wann is the team's top rebounder, ranking 10th in the league with 7.7 boards per contest to go with 10.6 points per game. Bilney, who joins Booker on the All-Academic Team, is one of the top three-point threats in the A-10. She ranks third in the league with 2.3 triples per game and fourth with a .373 shooting percentage from long distance. Bilney is averaging 11.6 points per game.
Richmond is the A-10's fourth-ranked offense (62.2 ppg) but ranks near the bottom of the league in defense (60.5 ppg). The Spiders are also the fourth-best three-point shooting team in the conference, connecting on 31.4 percent of their attempts from long distance and averaging 5.5 triples per game.