Women’s Basketball Snaps Five Game Losing Streak in Dominant Win Over St. Bonaventure

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

By Liam O’Murchu (@Liam_0__)

Women’s basketball broke their funk with a 69-48 win over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night at home.

The Revolutionaries (9-14, 2-9 A10) were propelled by a career night from graduate forward Mayowa Taiwo, who finished with nine points, 15 rebounds, eight steals, four assists and a block. The Bonnies (4-18, 1-10 A10), who haven’t won in 39 days, struggled to hold onto the ball and wasted a season-high 21 points from redshirt junior Isabellah Middleton.

“I’m just really proud of our team.” GW head coach Caroline McCombs said. “It’s been a tough stretch and the first five minutes weren’t the best, but I think that after that we really put our stamp on things and were very, very locked in and good on both sides of the ball.”

GW found themselves in an early hole and trailed 11-4 at the opening media timeout thanks to six points from Bonnies senior guard Nadechka Laccen. After the teams traded buckets coming out of the break, both offenses went dry for over three minutes. Freshman wing Kamari Sims broke the scoring drought with a three pointer, her eighth of the season in 23 attempts. In her 13 minutes (more than her last three appearances combined), she scored seven points, the most she’s scored against D1 opposition in her collegiate career.

​​”We didn’t get off to the greatest start, so trying to get some subs and some rotations in there was big.” McCombs said postgame. “I thought Kamari Sims came in and gave us some huge minutes and put the ball in the basket.”

By the 4:13 mark of the second period, the Buff & Blue had established a 19-15 lead as the Bonnies managed only two points in just under 10 minutes while the Revs scored 13 in the same stretch.

At halftime, GW led 25-18 after outscoring St. Bonaventure 16-5 in the second quarter, bucking the trend of them losing the second stanza by an average of 4.6 points this season and winning their first second quarter in 19 games. The second half was more of the same, as graduate guard Nya Lok found her groove and scored 13 of her 18 points in the third quarter.

“I’ve said before that she guards the other team’s best player and that’s a huge assignment for her.” McCombs said. “But we also ask her to put the ball in the basket. So I thought we created a lot of space within our offense for those drives and I thought she was getting inside out threes, which are high percentage threes for her and she was really fluid.”

The Bonnies continued to turn the ball over, oftentimes without GW forcing it. In the game as a whole, SBU had 23 turnovers and only 11 of them were GW steals. The Revs held St. Bonaventure to 13-for-45 (28.9%) shooting from the field and allowed just five players to get on the scoresheet.

“We really wanted to be in our gaps on their drives, and I felt we were able to get some gap steals in that way.” McCombs said. “And then the important thing is converting them because we haven’t always done that.”

GW had 24 points off turnovers, their highest number in conference play this season.

Among the few bright spots for the Bonnies were Isabellah Middleton, who ended with 21 points, six steals and five rebounds on 4-for-7 three point shooting and Nadechka Laccen, who had 15 points and 5 boards.

Heading into the fourth quarter, GW led comfortably, 46-34. Despite a slow start to the final period, St. Bonaventure was unable to make the Revs pay and never got closer than 10 points. The Revs pushed the lead to as high as 23, giving some of the younger players and walk-ons a chance to see the floor.

Notably quiet for the Buff & Blue was sophomore guard Nya Robertson, who led the team with 15.9 points per game coming into the game but had just three points on 1-for-8 shooting from the floor. After an 0-5 record against D1 opposition this year when the Fort Worth, Texas native scored less than 10 points, the Revs finally broke that duct.

“It’s huge for us.” McCombs said postgame. “We haven’t played well when Nya hasn’t scored so it’s good for us to be able to do that. When you are the leading scorer you’re gonna take on the best defender and they were able to take her away today.”

But the star of the show was Mayowa Taiwo, who matched her season high in assists, bested it in rebounds, and set a career high in steals. After playing much of the non-conference slate out of position as a power forward rather than a center, Taiwo has reestablished herself as a marquee player on the opposition’s scouting report and regained confidence in the process.

“She’s just elite.” McCombs said with one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen from her. “You want to have those people on your team. She’s just elite the way that she can guard the ball. She likes to guard guards, we tried her at the four for a while and she wasn’t herself. So I’ll take responsibility for that. She fits best at the five where she’s able to defend and guard multiple positions and bother a bigger post player.”

Although the opponent was the worst they’ll see this calendar year, this was a much needed win for a Revolutionaries team that hasn’t seen the conference slate go the way they were envisioning. However trivial it may sound, the postgame smiles indicated a weight lifted off the shoulders of a team that’s struggled with unfulfilled expectations this season and is hoping to reverse their fortunes in the home stretch of conference play.

GW travels to Richmond on Sunday in hopes of avenging their 70-66 loss to the Spiders (20-4, 10-1 A10) earlier this year. That game tips off at 1 PM and can be streamed on ESPN+ and WRGW.

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