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2/09/2023 8:39 pm  #1

GW versus St. Louis Thread

Next up:                 St. Louis University Billikens
Time:                      February 11, 2023; 8 PM
Venue:                   Chaifetz Arena; St. Louis MO
2021-22 Record:   9-18 overall; 5-9 in A10
2023 Projection:   12th
Current Record:   10-16
    OOC Record:    4-11
    A10 Record:      6-5
Common OOC:     None
Broadcast:            ESPN+ 

WBB heads to St. Louis this weekend to face a streaking Billikens team at the Chaifetz Arena. After a slow start, St. Louis has run off 4 straight conference victories to climb above the .500 mark at 6-5. Picked to finish 12th in the conference this season and struggling through a 4-11 OOC schedule, the Billikens have found their stride, knocking off Fordham, George Mason, St. Bonaventure, and Dayton, in succession. They played a respectable OOC schedule with losses to the likes of Baylor, Memphis, and Missouri. The Billikens shared no common OOC opponents with GW.

St. Louis averages 68.6 ppg on 39.3% shooting (25.8% from 3-point range) and 77.5% on free throws. They allow 70.9 ppg on 40.6% (35.9% on 3-pointers) accuracy from the opponents. St. Louis is led by preseason All A10 2nd Team selection Brooke Flowers, who was also selected to the All-Defensive Team, and All A10 3rd Team selection Kyla McMakin. The 6’5” Flowers, who averages 11.3 ppg on 53.6% shooting and 8.6 rpg, also leads the A10 with 107 blocked shots, almost twice as many as the entire GW team. McMakin ranks third in A10 scoring at 17.4 ppg, but she is a high-volume shooter hitting just 31.2% of her shots. Julia Martinez is a versatile guard who chips in at 10.1 ppg, 8 rpg and 3.9 apg, but is also a tough defender who leads the A10 in steals at 3.5 per game.
Last year the Colonials easily defeated the Billikens at the Smith Center, and since their entry into the A10, GW has dominated the series. With the addition of transfer McMakin, who won consecutive scoring titles in the Big South at Longwood, St. Louis has upgraded their talent level to become more competitive.
About the game:
St. Louis comes into this game with a lot of confidence after winning their 4th straight conference game at Dayton on Wednesday. With Flowers patrolling the interior, scoring inside the paint will be difficult, but opposing teams have had success from the perimeter, where the Billiken defense against the 3-pointer ranks last in the A10. Offensively, Flowers and Martinez are reliable scorers, but McMakin is the main offensive threat and has taken more shots than Flowers and Martinez combined. St. Louis prefers a fast-paced game and can be turnover prone but can also covert mistakes into easy baskets.
Recently, GW has been consistently good on defense, particularly in the half court. Against the Billikens, the D must limit McMakin’s open looks and keep Flowers off the offensive glass. The Colonials’ shooting woes continue, but our defense is enough to keep the game competitive as long as we limit easy transition baskets for the opposition. Offensively, GW must keep the ball moving, maintain proper spacing, hit open shots, and stay away from isolation plays in the paint when Flowers is in the game.
GW needs a win to remain in 3rd place in the A10 standings and keep pace with Fordham. St. Louis is looking to move up further in the standings. Should be a good game.


2/11/2023 10:33 pm  #2

Re: GW versus St. Louis Thread

GW suffers a road loss in St. louis 76-64.
1st Quarter: The game started with Lok and Webster in place of Brown and Blethen. Once again early shots were not dropping for Colonials, enabling St. Louis transition game and some easy baskets. The offense and defense look disjointed, but thanks to some timely buckets by Lok, GW came back to close the gap to 20-17. Engel got an early call and had a nice basket inside the paint to help the Colonial cause.
2nd Quarter: GW was better on both sides of the ball to start the 2nd quarter, and GW overtook the Billikens in the early going. Lok and Robertson hit 3’s, and the defense made numerous stops allowing GW to go up by 6 points. At the 3:00 mark, the wheels came off and GW’s sloppy play led to a 9-0 St. Louis run that gave them back the lead. At this point, St. Louis led 37-34 and was shooting 52% from the field to GW’s 31%. Lok finished the half with 13 points and Robertson had 9 points.
3rd Quarter: Things didn’t get better to start the 3rd period. Shots still weren't dropping, and some careless turnovers let the Billikens build on their lead. After settling down we cut the lead to 3 points, but once again our sloppy offensive play in the final 2 minutes led to another St. Louis run and a 54-46 lead.
4th Quarter: More inconsistent play by GW in the 4th quarter and our few opportunities to get back in the game were hindered by poor shooting. GW had 19 more shot attempts than St. Louis but hitting on just 30% sealed the deal. Billikens win 76-64. Robertson led the Colonials with 18 points and Lok added 17 points and 9 rebounds.
The absence of Brown and Blethen hurt our defense more than our offense, especially in the interior where St. Louis dominated 38-26. St. Louis was able to find Flowers for easy inside shots time and again, or she simply jumped over defenders for an offensive rebound and put back. When we packed the middle, St. Louis hit their open 3’s. They finished the game at 52% with Flowers leading the way (21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks).

Although the defense wasn’t up to usual standards, it was bad shooting that decided the outcome for GW. The numbers are telling— 22-73 for 30% field goal accuracy. Lakstigala (1-9), Engel (0-7), and Robertson (3-13) contributed to another brutal 3-point shooting day (20%), but more indicative of our woes was that GW made only 8-20 on layups (St. Louis was 18-24). And despite these numbers, GW still had several opportunities in the 4th quarter to make a one-possession game. Lok had an outstanding offensive day for GW but was out for most of the 4th quarter (?). We saw Loving and Taiwo play at the same time—I think that was a first. Engel got a lot of minutes, but you could tell she was anxious. Once she settles down, I think things will go better for her. And what’s up with Thornton—why no minutes?

Unless the shooting improves, every remaining game will be a challenge. With a week before our next contest with Loyola Chicago, let's hope the team can regroup for the final few games.  

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