Women’s Basketball Defeated 62-59 in Sloppy Loss at UMES

By: Liam O’Murchu (@Liam_0__)

Women’s basketball dropped a lackluster 62-59 game to Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday afternoon for their first loss of the season.

The Revolutionaries (3-1) started hot but struggled down the stretch thanks to aggressive defense from the Hawks (2-3). Sophomore guard Nya Robertson led GW with 21 points while UMES was paced by senior guard Zamara Haynes with 17 points.

GW head coach Caroline McCombs was forced to switch up the starting lineup due to the absence of graduate student wing Essence Brown, who did not travel with the team. Brown’s steady offensive production was missed along with her veteran leadership. Graduate student guard Madison Buford replaced her in the starting lineup and hoped to replicate her 22-point performance from when the team visited Manhattan last week.

The Hawks were sloppy in the first quarter, committing a few ticky tack fouls and getting the Revs in the bonus two minutes into the game. The Revs capitalized on this and jumped out to a 17-5 lead behind a quick 10 points from Robertson.

But UMES woke up offensively in the second quarter, and GW struggled to find a rhythm offensively as McCombs looked deep down her bench to account for the absence of Brown and senior guard Asjah Inniss (who also didn’t travel with the team).

Despite shooting 24.1% from the field in the first half, the Hawks only trailed 28-25 at halftime, spurred on by 9-for-13 free throw shooting. The Revs, on the other hand, struggled mightily from the line all day, shooting an abysmal 9-for-18 from the line in the game as a whole.

Less than two minutes into the third quarter, graduate student guard Nya Lok picked up her third foul and was forced to sit out for much of the quarter. Moments after re-entering late in the third quarter, she picked up her fourth foul. Taking her minutes was freshman forward Sara Lewis, who produced her best performance of her young college career in the most minutes she’s played. Although she had a few freshman moments, the College Park, Georgia native was efficient offensively (despite four turnovers), shooting 3-for-5 from two point range and grabbing five rebounds. Unfortunately for GW, Lewis was also in foul trouble and racked up her fourth foul with 3:31 left in the third quarter. GW led 46-42 heading into the final quarter but had to manage foul trouble.

Early in the fourth quarter, Robertson collided with a Hawks player, immediately left the game, and was having work done on the trainers table behind the bench. With the absence of key players, freshmen Lewis and Monica Marsh played an increased role down the stretch. Both players stepped up and made big shots when needed even if they struggled at times when UMES went at them on the other end. Marsh’s time was highlighted by a big three pointer with 7:10 left to tie it at 49 while Lewis shined when she drew a charge with 5:32 left down four points as she had four fouls.

GW’s defense kept it tight down the stretch and were helped when Robertson returned to the game with under two minutes left. The first play with Robertson back on the floor was a big Lok three pointer to tie it at 58 with 1:39 that looked like it could propel GW to victory. But the Hawks answered right back with a Haynes mid-range jumper 14 seconds later and wouldn’t relinquish the lead.

However, the final moments didn’t come without drama (read at your own peril, it got complicated). Graduate student forward wing Taylor Webster drew a foul around the basket with 49 seconds remaining and had the chance to tie the game at 60 but split the free throws. Fortunately, graduate student forward Mayowa Taiwo grabbed the rebound and had a fresh shot clock to work with but 13 seconds later Webster traveled and gave the ball back to UMES.

GW did not foul until Haynes was going up for a shot and Haynes made one free throw. The Revs were able to advance the ball up the floor after a timeout down 61-59 with 25 seconds left. Lok tried to find Taiwo but had her pass deflected and recovered by UMES. GW was careful about who was committing the fouls to send the Hawks to the line, as they didn’t want Lok to foul out, which led to them waiting a bit longer than they should have to foul at times.

Once the Revs sent the Hawks to the line (after they had a few fouls to give), Haynes once again split her free throws, keeping it a one possession game with 18 seconds left. GW again advanced the ball up the court after a timeout and ran a clever play where they lobbed it into Taiwo, who kicked it out to Lok, who missed an open three. GW got the rebound and found Robertson in the corner, who also missed her three pointer. The Hawks collected the ball and heaved it down the court, but Lok hustled down the court and swiped it before taking a timeout.

GW had the ball down three with 4.3 seconds left and inbounded to graduate student forward Faith Blethen at the top of the key, who took a contested three and missed it by a lot (it might have been an airball). Somehow the Revs got the ball underneath with fractions of a second left but threw it away for their first loss of the year.

The offense was lackluster for much of the day, failing to score 20 points in any quarter and shooting 25.8% from three point range. Robertson always finds a way to score, which makes her an offensive weapon even if she is inefficient. The Revs need someone to step up as a second option on offense and they didn’t get that on Saturday. Brown, Lok, and Buford have all been that option in a game this year but Brown didn’t play, Lok got in foul trouble, and Buford was 0-for-7.

The Revs will hope that Inniss and Brown can suit up soon, as they are heading to the Caribbean for the Discover Puerto Rico Shootout. First up is a matchup with West Virginia at 1:30 PM on Thursday, followed by games against Southern Illinois and Charlotte Friday and Saturday also at 1:30. If you’re interested in some Thanksgiving weekend basketball, you can stream the games on FloHoops.

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