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12/19/2022 11:51 am  #1

GW versus Coppin State Thread

GW closes out the 2022 out-of-conference (OOC) schedule on Thursday with a noon tipoff against the Coppin State (CSU) Eagles at the Smith Center. Coppin State represents the third MEAC opponent this season. The Eagles finished 4th in the MEAC last season with a 15-13 overall record and 9-5 in conference play. This year, they were projected to finish 3rd in their conference.

CSU is off to a slow start this year coming into this game at 3-9, but their losses include some competitive games against the likes of URI, Old Dominion and Pitt, and some not so competitive games against Syracuse and Georgetown. One reason is that grad student guard Jaia Alexander, a pre-season pick to be MEAC POY, has yet to play in a game. I don’t know the reason for that—it’s most likely injury-related, but I’m sure they miss her talent and leadership. This past Saturday, they fell on the road to George Mason 59-51. The Eagles are led by guards Mossi Staples (13.7 ppg and 4.2 rpg) and Jewel Watkins (14.3 ppg and 5.6 rpg). 6’4” Jalynda Salley provides an inside presence (shooting 49% from the field), and forward Coleen Bucknor is their primary rebounder, capturing 7.7 boards per contest. As a team, they’ve put up 57 points per game while giving up 61.8. They shoot 34.1% from the field (25% from 3) and 68% from the free throw line. Their weakness at this point appears to be their bench. On Saturday versus GMU, only seven players got court time for the Eagles.

So far, GW is 2-0 versus the MEAC, having defeated Howard and UMES earlier this season. If everyone is healthy and available, look for Blethen to start again with Brown, Innis, Lakstigala, and Taiwo. Robertson and Thornton will be the primary substitutes, with Gingras, Lok, Loving and Webster getting some minutes as well. The rotation is getting more consistent, but the absence of different players for multiple games has slowed the building of team chemistry and cohesion. Winning this game is not a given, but if we play solid defense and take care of the ball on offense, we should get a win. Beating CSU to finish 8-5 in the OOC schedule would continue our positive momentum and be a confidence booster for the squad as they prepare for the upcoming A10 schedule.


12/22/2022 2:28 pm  #2

Re: GW versus Coppin State Thread

GW wins 61-51.

GW got off to a decent start, but late in the 1st quarter, our drives to the basket were thwarted by CSU blocks, and we finished the period with a 17-12 lead. Brown led the way with 6 points. Lackluster play by the Colonials in the 2nd quarter allowed the Eagles to get back in the game. Missing three uncontested layups didn’t help. Thanks to a couple of 3’s and 11 points in the half by Lakstigala, GW was able to go into the half tied at 28. A 24-8 3rd quarter staked GW to a 52-36 lead going into the final period. The charge was led by Lok’s great all-around play. She finished with 8 points in the quarter. A miserable start for GW in the 4th quarter, scoring only 2 points in the first six minutes of play. CSU cut the lead to 5 with a little over 3 minutes to play. Innis broke our scoring drought with a FT and inside bucket, and from there GW was able to extend the lead to ten points, mostly thanks to tight defense. Lakstigala finished with 21 points, including 5-7 from beyond the arc, and a trio of players (Brown, Taiwo, and Lok) finished with 8 points.

Great to get a win to close out the OOC schedule, but there are some causes for worry. CSU was a tall and long team and they hurt GW on the offensive glass (15 ORs). On defense, they made it difficult for Taiwo to maneuver and she finished 4-10 from the field. Our lack of scoring for extended minutes were due to difficulties scoring on our drives to the basket and having to rely on our accuracy from outside. Our 4th quarter start was characteristic of a lot of our games, especially our losses. Our defense saved us today, but we can’t keep letting teams back into a game after playing 3 good quarters. We also need more consistency from our subs. Today both Robertson (1-7) and Thornton (1-7) took questionable shots, but Lok and Webster had good games, playing under control and not forcing things. The good thing is that our bench gives the coaches options, and in any given game, someone can rise to the occasion.

The A10 schedule starts in nine days and from then on, the competition kicks up a notch. The team has been preparing for these moments and I’m sure they’re anxious to get it going.

     Thread Starter

12/23/2022 7:56 am  #3

Re: GW versus Coppin State Thread

xAC, good points. All in all a hard game to watch because of the points that you touched on, above. Our young point guards have so much to offer, but still lack a sense for the college game to know when to step on the  gas or slow it down and get the offense set. Mia L. has such a silky smooth game, I still have this end of game fear that I wish I could give here a "beat" pill to control the ball on plays where the teammates throw her a pass. She is a great end of game free throw shooter, Just make sure that you have possession first!!!

It is like each player can slide into a moment of "Doctor, it hurts when I do this when I do this!!" Well, stop doing that. our team keeps dribbling to the high paint area against a tight zone only to get stripped of the ball. That's a great spot to pass into, but not great on a live dribble. Our problem is being able to find an open 2 or a layup or a good 3 pointer before we lose the ball. I have no problem taking more 3s with this group if they are good open shots. I have to like GW finding the hot shooter scoring 30 for a win. We just aren't working hard enough on offense. These days, it is best to run the  Princeton or run another offense faster and add options. When the ball goes into the paint, the entire team stops moving. You need 2 options on the arc or in and a back side cut to the glass or back out to the line for an easy 2 pointer. With Thornton, Faith and Essence, we have scores all over the place. We just don't need to force the play. Work for good open looks.

McCombs has the team really close. Yesterday's two games (men and women) showed us how close or student athletes are to be able to be able to go on runs and walk away from our average opponents. It is like this in all sports, game awareness. You can two magical guards like Savage and McDonald, but by the Senior year, only one became McDonald (who just get a team through the end game).

Last edited by russianthistle (12/23/2022 9:14 am)


12/23/2022 11:16 am  #4

Re: GW versus Coppin State Thread

Great preview and recap as always, xAC.

Willing to give the WBB team a pass for somewhat sluggish play coming off exams and the game tipping at noon (though unfortunately that will be the case again against Richmond). Having said that, there were still too many careless passes and missed layups in the first half (Caia had one wide open one that was missed). I think the team was still feeling the effects of that stupid TCU suspension, because Jayla and Nya (Robertson) did not play against Wilmington so it was nearly two weeks since they had last played and it showed. Thankfully, Mia was able to be the difference maker again to get the team on top. Nya (Lok) is the x-factor on the team and has been playing at a high level. As long as she remains in control, she gives the team really good minutes. Lok had a really good pass to Webster in the game, a tough one to execute. Good minutes from Asjah as well. Essence provided offense when needed and is very disruptive defensively.

Agreed that Coppin's height down low gave us some issues. Mayowa plays much bigger than her height but it's still tough to overcome differences in height at times. This was a bad matchup for Faith so it was good to see better minutes from Taylor - this was a matchup where we needed her more.

I would argue the team has played well for two quarters a game, generally the first and third. Not sure what happens in the second and fourth, but that's definitely where there's room for improvement. In the second quarter, we generally either give up whatever lead that's been built in the first or put ourselves into a hole going into halftime. Offense remains inconsistent due to uneven passing. Ball movement is worse when Asjah is out. Thought there was too much isolation/one on one play especially in the final period. This team looked unbeatable when they were moving the ball around in the third quarter but they went away from what worked after a 16 point lead was built. Coppin hasn't been blown out too many times this year (URI only beat them by 7, Mason by 8) so I thought the team did well all things considered.

Wanted to mention one sequence involving Robertson. She missed on a three but we got the offensive rebound and she got the ball back. Nya had a good take to the hoop and a wide open lane to operate, but instead of taking it in for a layup she took a short fadeaway jumper that missed. A teachable moment to be more aggressive when the opportunity presents itself.

This team figures to finish somewhere in the middle of the conference which will still outperform wherever WBB was picked - 11th or 12th or something ridiculous like that. It still goes without saying that to reach the team's true ceiling, offensive execution and consistency will be needed all four quarters. Thinking a 6th place finish might be best case scenario as of now. Definitely think McCombs has the team moving in the right direction overall.


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