Colonials Welcome Jaguars, Hawks, Lady Flames to 2nd Annual GW Thanksgiving Classic
Nov. 27, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - After winning both its games as host last year, GW welcomes Hartford, Liberty and South Alabama to the nation's capital and Charles E. Smith Center for the second annual GW Thanksgiving Classic Friday, Nov. 28, and Saturday, Nov. 29.
The four tournament participants posted a combined 103-28 record and won at least 20 games apiece in 2007-08, with GW, Hartford and Liberty each appearing in the NCAA Tournament.
Friday's game against South Alabama is the first of seven consecutive home games for GW. The month-long homestand features marquee match-ups against two-time defending national champion Tennessee Dec. 2 and nationally ranked Auburn Dec. 19.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
5:30 pm - Championship
GW was the only team to win both games at last year's Classic, which featured Western Kentucky (1-1), South Dakota State (1-1) and Southern Illinois (0-2). The Colonials squeezed past the Jackrabbits, 65-60, on Nov. 23, then used a second-half surge for an 80-63 victory against the Lady Toppers Nov. 24.
The Classic's precursor, the GW Invitational, originated in 1981 and ran for six straight seasons until 1986. Former head coach Joe McKeown brought the tournament back for three years from 1993-95, then introduced the renamed GW Thanksgiving Classic last year. GW is 16-6 all-time in its own event, including tournament titles in 1985 and 1993-95.
Friday's game marks the first meeting between GW and USA in nearly 18 years and the Jaguars' first-ever visit to the District. The Colonials won previous meetings at the 1989 LSU Crawfish Classic and 1990 South Florida Tournament. The Colonials' 71-63 victory in Baton Rouge, LA, in Nov. 1989, was former head coach Joe McKeown's first at GW.
GW owns the nation's 10th longest home court winning streak with 15 consecutive victories on the Smith Center hardwood. The Colonials, who had a 15-game home streak snapped by nationally ranked Rutgers last season, have won 30 of their last 31 games in Foggy Bottom, nearly 90 percent (130-of-145) of their home games over the past decade and 77.6 percent (339-98) in the facility's 33 seasons.
South Alabama seeks to start 5-0 for the second consecutive season when its meets GW Friday. The Jaguars' 5-0 start in 2007-08 was the second-best in school history, behind only the 12 straight victories to open the 1984-85 season.
Backcourt tandem Jessica Starling and Shakira Nettles have combined to lead the team in scoring in each of its first four games in which USA is outscoring its opponents by an average of 20.5 points, all on its home floor. Starling led six double-digit scorers with 19 points in USA's 96-82 victory against Mercer Monday night. The Jaguars shot nearly 60 percent for the game, including over 70 percent (17-for-24) in the second half. USA posted a 20-11 record last year, its first 20-win season since 2003-04 and the program's seventh in 34 seasons all-time.