By: Ashleigh Tobin
GW women’s basketball is getting hot at the right time. The Buff and Blue picked up their fourth straight victory with a 58-52 win over Duquesne, improving to third place in the Atlantic 10, with just six games left in conference play.
A defensive battle throughout, GW was able to hold off the Dukes by limiting their scoring to 52 points, the second-lowest a conference opponent has scored against them this season. GW out-rebounded Duquesne 54-40 and recorded 16 second-chance points off 24 offensive rebounds.
“It was a great win, definitely a defensive battle. Neither team was connecting at a high efficiency on offense, so it really came down to us defending. Defending the three point line especially was a focus for us. Really proud of that effort,” said head coach Caroline McCombs on the team’s performance.
GW was able to hold the Dukes, a team that averages 32% from three to an impressive 1-29, which converts to around 3%.
“We know they have good shooters on their team, so we really made it a priority to guard the arc and guard the arc hard. We really take pride in our defense,” said transfer guard Mia Lakstigala, attesting to the team’s defensive identity.
A slow offensive start for both teams had GW up 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, even though the Buff and Blue led 10-2 with 4:08 to go. GW went over four minutes without a point from the end of the first quarter to the beginning of the second, allowing Duquesne to tie the game at 10. The second quarter went back and forth, with the teams exchanging small leads before GW pulled away by five going into the locker room.
During the second half, the Buff and Blue extended their lead to nine and were in front for the rest of the game. A true leader for GW, forward Mayowa Taiwo recorded a team-high 16 rebounds alongside her seven points and two steals to set the tone defensively.
“I started off with a couple of boards quick, some of them came to me and others I had to go get. So, I think just keeping that momentum, especially because I got in foul trouble, in my limited time, just doing what I do best and trying to get those rebounds,” said Taiwo on her effort.
The Buff and Blue struggled offensively throughout the game, shooting just 27.9% from the field. However, Lakstigala and rookie Nya Robertson led the way for GW’s offense, scoring 21 and 15 points, respectively.
“It was huge. When you have games like this, it really teaches your team how important defense is. The ball wasn’t falling today, and so you learn that you have to have that type of performance to pull out a win against a good Duquesne team,” said McCombs on the victory.
GW will be back in action at the Smith Center against George Mason for their homecoming game on Saturday, February 5, at noon. That game can be found on ESPN+ or listened to on WRGW.
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