Women’s Basketball Runs Away With 78-62 Win Late at St. Bonaventure

By Liam O’Murchu (@Liam_0__)

Women’s basketball picked up their first conference win, 78-62, over St. Bonaventure on Sunday afternoon behind a career high 31 points from sophomore guard Nya Robertson.

The Revolutionaries (8-8, 1-3 A10) notched their highest point total against a Division I opponent so far this season, usurping their previous total of 69 thanks to a barrage of three pointers (14-for-27). Meanwhile, the Bonnies (4-12, 1-4 A10) couldn’t stop GW’s top options and saw the game slip away as the second half progressed.

Robertson started her first game since December 5 and rewarded head coach Caroline McCombs early by showcasing her ability to heat up in a flash. The Fort Worth, Texas native started the game 5-for-5 from three point range and led the Revs to a 17-7 lead at the first media timeout. The Bonnies held GW scoreless for the rest of the quarter and were able to pull within 17-15. Notably, Robertson only took one shot during this stretch.

It became evident early on that the GW coaching staff did not want to have graduate forwards Mayowa Taiwo and Maren Durant on the floor at the same time. Durant started but immediately checked out of the game after winning the opening tip. The decision of who to play was simplified by Durant getting into first half foul trouble. The Boston University transfer finished the game with only five minutes, all of which came in the first half.

“Every team that you’re going to play poses different matchup problems for you, and St. Bonaventure plays a five out offense.” McCombs said. “So just understanding that we have to be able to guard like guards around the perimeter was important. Maren’s more suited to be on the inside so it was just more of a game for Mayowa to play.”

Although she only scored six points, Taiwo was an asset in other aspects of the game, finishing with eight rebounds, four steals, and three assists, not to mention her relentless defensive effort. Her eighth rebound gave her the fifth most rebounds in GW women’s basketball history. She now sits 82 boards behind 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones with 14 games remaining in the regular season.

Just as they did in the opening stanza, GW jumped out to a multi-possession lead at the beginning of the second quarter. Although Robertson was smothered by the Bonnies defense following her hot first quarter, senior guard Asjah Inniss stepped up and hit two three pointers to push the lead to 29-20 at the media timeout. As was the case in the first quarter, St. Bonaventure didn’t roll over and forced McCombs into a timeout after a 6-0 run over just 50 seconds of play coming out of the media timeout. 

The half ended in a stalemate at 35 and after an otherworldly first quarter, Robertson came back to earth in the second. She started the game 5-for-5 from the field (all three pointers) but missed seven straight shots from the field heading into halftime. The Revs had shown flashes in the first half but knew there were things they needed to clean up if they wanted to win. Chief among them was turnovers, as the Revs had eight first half turnovers and the Bonnies held a 14-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

“We just said ‘we have to know personnel, we have to know what they like to do. We have to take those things away.’” McCombs said. “Playing 20 minutes you get that feel for who you’re playing against. So I think that helped out a lot, being able to understand how their actions actually work and being able to guard accordingly. We also talked about taking care of the ball. And if we did those things, the offense would take care of itself.”

It is safe to say that the offense took care of itself and then some. The Revs went on an 11-3 run to start the third quarter and disrupted the Bonnies’ rhythm by applying some pressure higher up the court. GW led 48-38 with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter and St. Bonaventure was forced into a timeout. However, the Bonnies clawed back into the game and the pattern of cold shooting coming out of media timeouts continued for the Revs. GW went scoreless for 4:28 in the middle of the third quarter, allowing the Bonnies to pull within 51-46. But Inniss once again came up big with two three pointers in the final 43 seconds of the third quarter to push the lead to 59-50.

If it weren’t for Robertson setting a career high in scoring, Inniss would have been the player of the game. The Duluth, Georgia native did not step off the floor until there was 2:51 remaining in the game, racking up 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks on 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. If Inniss can continue to put in steady shifts like the one we saw Sunday, GW may be in business as they continue conference play. Her growth since she got to GW last year has not gone unnoticed and she has established herself as an important piece on this Revs squad. Particularly impressive has been her growth as a shooter, especially from deep.

“It’s been something that she’s really worked on, which I’m proud of.” McCombs said. “She’s been in the gym as much as she possibly can, especially with her injury. But that was a priority for her, just working on her skills and working on her shot. So I’m really proud of that actually being able to show in this game today.”

As the game drew to a close, it became clear that GW was in control and St. Bonaventure’s small roster led to some late game struggles. The Revs were getting to the line at will, playing their patented strong defense and finding good shots at the other end. With 4:34 remaining, Robertson swiped the ball, drove into the lane and laid it in to get to 31 points, a new career high. When Robertson is seeing the shots go in like she was against the Bonnies, this is a different GW team. Even when she isn’t scoring all the points herself (which she can do), it opens up opportunities for teammates like Inniss and graduate guard Nya Lok, who had 16 points.

“[Robertson’s] energy fuels her, it fuels everybody and when she can make those plays, and when her shot is on, it’s terrific.” McCombs said.

The Revs were supposed to fly to Buffalo and drive to St. Bonaventure on Saturday but needed to change travel plans at the last minute and take a bus from DC to Olean instead due to the big snow storm that hit western New York this weekend. Although a last minute six hour bus ride is not ideal, McCombs told me the transition was smooth and she didn’t think it affected the team’s performance.

“That’s just kind of what it is.” McCombs said. “When you have a team in New York this time of year and it’s a tough place to get to, you’ve got to be able to make those arrangements and adjustments. Thankfully we have a terrific bus driver and he got us here safely.”

Next up for the Revs is a trip to Dayton on Wednesday. Because of the weather, the team will head straight to Dayton rather than returning to DC for the first day of classes, which was the original plan. Tip-off is slated for 7 PM and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.

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