Women’s Basketball Dropped by Towson in Wednesday Matinee

By Liam O’Murchu (@Liam_0__)

Women’s basketball lost 68-60 to Towson on Wednesday afternoon just north of Baltimore on STEM Day, where over 2,000 schoolkids were in attendance and making a ruckus.

The Revolutionaries (4-5) were carried by sophomore guard Nya Robertson, who set career highs in points, rebounds, and field goals made. The Fort Worth, Texas native finished with 30 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and a block, shooting 12-for-23 from the field and 3-for-6 from three point range. The Tigers (6-1) showed why they were picked first in the CAA preseason poll and withstood an early second half run from the Revs to stay undefeated at home on the year, led by a career high 24 points (8-for-12 FG, 4-for-6 3PT) from sophomore guard India Johnston.

“We need to string together four quarters.” GW head coach Caroline McCombs said. “That’s going to be a huge point of emphasis, as it has been. We can’t have a slow start on somebody else’s home court.”

GW grabbed an early 7-6 lead behind hot shooting from Robertson but Towson quickly regained the lead and pushed it to 13-7, forcing McCombs into a timeout with 4:14 left in the first quarter. It wasn’t until the 1:51 mark of the first stanza that someone other than Robertson scored for GW when senior wing Taylor Webster laid it in down low. Despite their offensive struggles early on, the Revs ended the quarter on a high note when graduate students Nya Lok and Maren Durant connected on a deep entry pass into the low post which Durant put off the glass and in. On the other end, senior guard Asjah Inniss got a hand on a Towson jumper to fire up the away bench. Heading into the second quarter, the Tigers were up 18-13.

But the Revolutionaries still couldn’t find any answers on the offensive end in the second stanza other than Robertson, who had 15 of the team’s 23 first half points. GW went scoreless for the final 5:23 of the first half and saw the deficit balloon to 40-23 behind 8-for-15 second quarter shooting from Towson. GW didn’t take a single free throw in the first half and went into the locker room searching for answers.

“We’ve got to take care of ourselves and the basketball and we’ve got to get to the free throw line and not let other teams get there.” McCombs said.

Whatever the coaching staff said during the break was effective, as the Revs looked like a different team to start the third quarter. They finally got to the free throw line a bit and someone other than Robertson put the ball in the basket. That someone was Nya Lok, who scored eight of her 15 points in the third quarter, which GW won 24-13. This was the first quarter the Revs scored more than 20 points in against a D1 opponent since November 15 (this was also their most recent win against a D1 team).

“I don’t know if it was anything different.” McCombs said. “It was just that we were down and we need to come out with that same intensity to start the game as we did in the second half.”

The offensive struggles are evident when watching the Revolutionaries, as they have been for much of the year. Seemingly every play someone is dribbling into a defender in the paint or playing into a trap. The floor spacing has left something to be desired and it’s clear they haven’t figured out how to effectively use graduate forwards Mayowa Taiwo and Maren Durant together.

Towson went into the final period with their lead whittled down to 53-47 as GW had all the momentum. The Revs were unable to get it closer than a two possession affair and whenever they got within four points, the Tigers quickly responded with a basket. GW went scoreless for just over three minutes in the middle of the quarter, allowing Towson to push their lead to 11. From there they would not look back en route to securing their third victory in program history over GW and their first since 2013. Along with 24 points from Johnston, Towson got 10 points from redshirt senior guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas and junior guard Patricia Anumgba. Kornegay-Lucas was circled on the scouting report coming in and made her impact on the game despite shooting only 2-for-7 from the field by grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out four assists to go with two blocks and a steal.

For GW, it was a similar story on a different day. The offensive production was only really there from Robertson, who was absolutely incredible. It has to be the best game I’ve seen her play in college and it’s a shame it came in a losing effort. Other than that they looked lost on the offensive end until Lok got going in the second half. But even with those two able to score, the Revs have not been able to consistently rely on anyone else for points and opposing teams have game planned accordingly. This is a very strong defensive team and with even a slight improvement offensively they can compete with almost anyone in the A10 on paper.

On a lighter note, the presence of 2,000 screaming kids on field trips made the atmosphere very fun. When Towson hit a three pointer to open the game, I thought the roof was going to come off TU Arena. And once the kids realized cheerleaders were throwing shirts into the stands after every three pointer they became borderline feral.

“Honestly, I love the environment.” McCombs said. “The kids don’t care who wins or loses, they just want to see the ball go in the basket. I think somebody told me we need to play better defense on our way out. So you take it with a grain of salt but it’s fun to play in front of little kids and fans and give them somebody to look up to.”

Amidst breaks in the action there was dancing in the stands (highlighted by the Macarena), games on the floor, and a bizarre amount of trivia about the Hubble Telescope. Around the concourse there were various stations with different activities relating to STEM run by adults and Towson students. Overall it made for a fun environment and if you are as big of a college basketball fan as I am, attending a Field Trip Game is a must. GW has their Field Trip Game on Wednesday January 24 at noon against George Mason and I’m sure the Smith Center will be rocking.

From a personal standpoint, I loved the 11 AM tip. I was out the door as the sun was rising to catch my train from DC to Baltimore and walking back in the door as the sun was setting. Even if the result didn’t go GW’s way, I’m always up for a good day out.

Next up for the Revs is a matchup with Coppin State, a team GW has never lost to (8-0 all-time). That game is on Saturday at 2 PM as part of a double header with the men’s team, who also take on the Eagles at 6 PM. Both games can be streamed on WRGW or ESPN+.

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