Women’s Basketball Undone by Lousy 3rd Quarter in Loss to St. Joe’s

By Liam O’Murchu (@Liam_0__)

GW women’s basketball fell 67-47 in their first road game of conference play against Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night.

The Revolutionaries (7-7, 0-2 A10) hung around throughout the first half but were hamstrung by 2-for-12 shooting in the third quarter and ultimately lost to the Hawks (13-1, 2-0 A10) for the fourth consecutive time.

“We were toe to toe with them in the first half and coming out of halftime we couldn’t put the ball in the basket.” GW head coach Caroline McCombs said. “They were really efficient with their opportunities and we just had that third quarter drought and dug ourselves too big of a hole.”

GW found high quality shots and knocked them down early while slowing down St. Joes’ best players on the other end. Despite the absence of sophomore guard Nya Robertson in the starting lineup, the Revs looked comfortable on offense and were tied 9-9 heading into the first media timeout.

As the game progressed, it became obvious why the Hawks were ranked second in the A10 preseason coaches poll. With four players averaging double digits coming into the game, the Revs couldn’t focus all their attention on one player defensively. St. Joes’ leading scorers junior forward Talya Brugler and sophomore forward Laura Ziegler paced the Hawks early, combining for 10 of their 18 points in the first quarter. But GW was within 18-14 at the end of the first stanza thanks to 10 early points from graduate guard Nya Lok.

Lok checked out of the game for the first five minutes of the second quarter but that didn’t stop the Revs from being tied 22-22 at the second quarter media timeout. With 1:30 left in the half, the wheels began to fall off for GW, who allowed the Hawks to regain a four point lead heading into the break thanks to careless play on both ends of the floor.

The half opened with a Lok three pointer (her last points of the game) to cut the lead to 31-30. Then the wheels continued to fall off, rolled further down the road, and crashed right into the GW bus. With 2:34 remaining in the third quarter, St. Joe’s led 47-30 and in a matter of a few minutes, the Revs’ upset bid was over. By the end of the third quarter, the score was 52-32 in favor of SJU thanks to a 21-5 quarter. Meanwhile, GW’s leading scorer in Robertson had only two points heading into the final quarter of play.

“A big focus for us was just finishing around the rim and when you don’t do that, it doesn’t really matter what you’re running on offense.” McCombs said.

After struggling in the second quarter and excelling in the third quarter throughout their non-conference schedule, the opposite has been the case through two games of conference play. The constant has been that GW cannot seem to play a complete game where they can consistently put the ball in the basket on offense for all four quarters. If the Revs want to make any noise in the A10 this year, they’ll have to find a way to consistently play a complete game.

The Buff & Blue showed a little bit of life to start the fourth quarter as Robertson scored eight points in the first four minutes of the quarter to trim the deficit to 56-42. But it was too little too late for a Revolutionaries team still searching for their first Atlantic 10 win.

Meanwhile, the Hawks look like a legitimate contender to win the Atlantic 10 and received two votes in the most recent USA Today coaches poll. Their 13-1 start to the year is the best they’ve had to start a season since 1976-77. Brugler finished with 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting, Ziegler contributed 18 points to go with eight rebounds, and graduate guard Chloe Welch chipped in 16 points and eight boards of her own. They are incredibly balanced and the rest of the A10 knows it will take a monumental effort to stop them.

“We had four go-to players on the scout for them.” McCombs said. “We know their perimeters can shoot some threes so we were trying to guard them one-on-one because threes are better than twos, but they were really on fire today.”

After a week off, the Revs return to action next Wednesday at home against a Duquesne team that’s won both of their conference games thus far, including a 70-42 drubbing of Dayton. Tip-off is set for 6 PM and the game can be streamed on ESPN+ and WRGW.

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