Women’s Basketball Drops Nail-Biter to Richmond in A10 Opener

Photo credit: GW women’s basketball

By Matthew Brooks (@brooksie1219)

In today’s opening match of Atlantic 10 play, the George Washington women’s basketball team was favored to lose in the betting odds by 12.5 points at home against Richmond. But as a shock to many, GW played the entire game within single digits and lost in a closely fought battle, 70-66.

“I thought we competed at a pretty high level,” GW head Coach Caroline McCombs said after the game.

“I thought we tried to follow our game plan as much as we could. I was disappointed with the outcome, but I thought we fought and battled.”

66 is the Revolutionaries (7-6, 0-1 A10) third-highest point total against Division I opponents this season. They scored 67 against Stonehill, the worst team in all of D1 according to the NET, and 69 against American. Neither of those teams compares in caliber to the Spiders (11-3, 1-0 A10), but with this GW team fully healthy, the pieces finally fell into place for a strong, balanced offensive performance.

Coach McCombs certainly understood the impact of having all of her weapons back in the lineup, even if they were not at full strength.

“This is our second game of the year where we’ve had everybody able to play, and so that matters… And even though everyone wasn’t at full strength today, we did have everybody available. That’s just really important in our rotations.”

The return of sophomore guard Nya Robertson played a major role in the Revs’ newly found offensive success. She finished with 25 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Critically, she put up these scoring numbers efficiently, shooting 52.9% from the field and 50% from three.

The rest of the backcourt accounted for pretty much all of the day’s scoring production. Senior guard Asjah Inniss contributed 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists. And graduate guard Nya Lok had 12 points, seven rebounds, with six of those rebounds coming on the offensive end.

But that doesn’t mean the frontcourt didn’t have a major impact on the game. In her A10 debut, graduate forward Maren Durant made a big impact down low, grabbing five offensive rebounds and two defensive. Crucially, she effectively shut down Richmond star sophomore forward Maggie Doogan for most of the game, holding her to 11 points and four rebounds in 35 minutes of play.

Graduate forward Mayowa Taiwo also took care of her assignment. She limited senior forward Addie Budnik to only eight points and three rebounds. Taiwo achieved this while playing all 40 minutes of the game, starting and not being subbed out once.

With Doogan and Budnik neutralized, Richmond looked to senior guard Grace Townsend to step up and lead the offense, and she was largely successful, especially in the first half. 22 of her 26 points came in the first two quarters, accounting for a majority of the Spiders’ first-half offense.

Defensively, limiting Richmond from deep was something Coach McCombs knew she would have to do, and her team successfully shut down those opportunities.

“Trying to limit those threes, I think that was really important. They make 9.6 a game. They made 5.”

The inside game ended up being critical for both teams for different reasons. On offense, GW just couldn’t contain Richmond when they attacked the basket, allowing them 42 points in the paint. But GW ended up out rebounding Richmond 39-25 and converting 15 second-chance points on 19 offensive rebounds.

Overall, with A10 play starting up, Coach McCombs and her team are ready for the challenge of competing in two big games against strong A10 opponents at the top of their conference play schedule. Next up is a trip to Philadelphia to take on a St. Joe’s team ranked 61st in the NET.

“St. Joe’s is a good team.” McCombs said. “These are two of the top teams in the league from the jump, and every game will be a battle. We’re excited to go and compete. We’ll get our rest and then we’ll get prepared.”

GW goes on the road to take on the Hawks on Wednesday, January 3rd, at 7:00 PM for their first game of the new year and their first road test of A10 play. That game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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