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12/25/2022 5:00 pm  #1

GW versus University of Richmond (A10 Opener)

The A10 is upon us as GW WBB travels to Richmond on Saturday to take on the Spiders at Robins Center. The Spiders who were picked to finish 9th in the A10 this season have come out of the gates impressively, finishing their OOC schedule at 10-3. Their victories are mostly against lower-level mid-major teams and their losses include two lopsided losses to Power 5 opponents Clemson and Duke.

Richmond brings a proficient offense into the contest. The Spiders average 69.8 points per game on 43.5% shooting (34.6% from 3-point range) and shoot 79% from the free throw line. Defensively, they hold opponents to 59.6 ppg. Four starters average double figures in scoring, led by preseason 1st Team All-A10 selection Allie Budnik (14.2 ppg and 6.9 rpg). Her support cast includes Siobhan Ryan (11.2 ppg), Katie Hill (10.7 ppg) and Grace Townsend (10.6 ppg and 4.6 apg).

In our last and only meeting of 2021, Richmond defeated GW 69-66 at the Smith Center on a 3-point buzzer beater.

Reset: A Definite Improvement from Last Season

Last year our OOC record was 7-6. We ended the season 13-18 and finished 12th in the A10. We scored 51.6 points per game, shot 34.3% from the field, made 4.7 3-pointers per game (27.1%), and 58.6% on free throws. We averaged 37.8 rebounds and turned the ball over 14.6 times per game. Defensively, we held our opponents to 55.2 ppg on 39% shooting (31.2% on 3 pointers) and forced 14.8 turnovers per contest. 

This Year GW is picked to finish 11th in the A10. We finished our OOC schedule at 8-5. From a statistical standpoint we’ve improved (+) in most areas compared to how we finished last year. We’re scoring 67.7 ppg (+16.1) on 41.1% shooting (+6.8%), made 8.9 3-pointers (+4.2) on 36.5% shooting (+9.4%), and shot 69.5% on FTs (+ 10.9%). We’ve grabbed 38.3 rpg (+.5) and turned the ball over 14.8 (-.2) times per game. Defensively, we’re holding opponents to 61.9 ppg (-6.7) on 38.7% shooting (+.3), 31.8% (-.6) from 3-point distance, and forced 15.8 TOs (+1) per game. The offensive improvements are significant, and the defensive numbers are comparable except for points surrendered, but some of that can be attributed to a faster offensive pace being played this year. Coach McCombs, in her second season, is definitely moving the program in the right direction.

The Roster: It won’t matter who starts as much has who will play big minutes. Plan to see Brown, Innis, Lakstigala, Taiwo, Robertson and Thornton on the court a lot. Brown is our most reliable on-ball defender, takes good shots and leads the team in field goal percentage at 50%. Innis has been a steady playmaker with more assists than turnovers and is an opportunistic scorer. Lakstigala is a consistent offensive threat (14.6 ppg) and high percentage 3-point shooter (46.4%). In addition to controlling the boards for GW (9.5 rpg), Taiwo defends all over the court to lead GW in steals (2 spg) and is an offensive threat in the low post. Robertson and Thornton are capable of scoring bursts. Thornton has excelled on 3-pointers (41.3%), while Robertson brings youthful energy and swagger into the game. She may have some freshman moments, but she energizes the team and can score points in a hurry when she’s on a roll. The remaining minutes will be divided between Blethen, Gingras, Lok, Loving and Webster depending on the game situation and how well they are playing. Lok, who has been playing great defense, could end up with increased minutes with steady offensive performances. No real minutes for the walk-ons, and Engel has not established a role within the current rotation. If Engel can get some minutes to demonstrate her offensive skills, she could prove to be a real asset as the conference schedule progresses. Laureano’s status remains an unknown.

About the game:

On paper, this seems to be a reasonably even match up. It’s preseason 9 versus 11, with both teams having similar OCC results. Richmond has a number of players who can turn in big games, so it will be difficult to focus our defense on any one or two players. The Spiders are offensive-minded and like to play at a fast pace, but they have been prone to turnovers (17.7 per game), so we need to have a solid defensive performance to keep the game competitive. We have to limit their open looks and contest their inside attacks, otherwise it could be a long afternoon for GW WWB. On offense, we have to focus on good shot selection and taking care of the ball. Easier said than done, especially on the road, but WBB has been preparing for this moment.

Acknowledgements to dmvpirahna for taking breaks from his detailed analyses of GW MBB to provide his expert observations on the WBB program. Also, to WMC who keeps us current on the scores and performances of all the other A10 WBB programs.

Last edited by xAC (12/31/2022 7:39 pm)


12/31/2022 2:01 pm  #2

Re: GW versus University of Richmond (A10 Opener)

GW takes down the Spiders in Richmond 65-63.

The 1st quarter was competitive, but the Spiders were better from the perimeter and closed out the quarter with 24-19 lead. GW was plagued by excessive dribbling at the start of the 2nd quarter, which stymied any comeback attempts. Despite our turnovers, our defense was able to hold Richmond to 8 2nd quarter points. A couple of clutch 3’s by Blethen and Lakstilgala brought the Colonials back to within one at the half (Richmond 32-31).

The second half started fast but turned into a defensive slog. Despite a long scoring drought, the Colonials managed to stay within shouting distance of the Spiders, trailing by 3 points to start the 4th period. The teams went back and forth throughout the last period, but in the end, GW prevailed.

Lakstigala had a huge game (17 points and 9 boards) and Taiwo was her usual self (12 points and 7 rebounds). Robertson is fearless and made two huge shots at the end of the game, to finish with 10 points. Lok had a really good all-around game (6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals). We saw a shorter rotation today, with Lok, Webster, and Robertson getting substantial minutes and Thornton only in for a minimal stint.

This is a great road win for GW and a huge confidence builder. Despite a bad shooting day from 3-point range, we withstood several Richmond runs and defended hard all the way. St. Joe’s is up next.

Last edited by xAC (12/31/2022 2:11 pm)

     Thread Starter

12/31/2022 4:13 pm  #3

Re: GW versus University of Richmond (A10 Opener)

We need some work on inbound plays.   Seems like Lok keyed to scoring in the 4th qtr.   Is it her foul troubles that limit her playing time?  


1/01/2023 11:41 am  #4

Re: GW versus University of Richmond (A10 Opener)

Thanks xAC! I second the WMC acknowledgement - it's really helpful to see what's happening around the A10 and country.

I thought the team did a good job chipping away when they got behind in the first half. GW was down 8 on multiple occasions but Richmond was unable to extend the lead to double digits. The team's defense did a good job holding things down while the offense caught up. Second quarter lulls continue to plague the team. The goal was keeping the deficit within 4 points or so after 20 minutes and we did just that by only trailing by 1 at halftime.

Mayowa was a lot more rhythm with her layup attempts which led to more success. Faith and Essence had bright moments and scored when needed. Really hope Brown is okay after appearing to get hurt at the end of the game. She's probably the most important defensive piece on the team. Interesting to see Asjah not play much in the second half. I think Nya Robertson has already proven as a freshman to be a dynamic offense option who needs to be on the court when we are playing catch up/playing in close games. She hit a huge three to put the team up 6 late. Mia was stellar as usual on offense but was noticeably more active on the rebounding front, leading the team with 9.

When Nya Lok is playing well, the team usually has success. She has really good chemistry with Mayowa on offense, as she has now had several really good assists finding Taiwo down low. Without a doubt she is much more in rhythm compared to last year. Great minutes from Taylor again - she had some really key offensive boards as well. Surprised Jayla only played four minutes, but perhaps turning the ball over three times in that short stint played a role.

Would still like the team to be more aggressive getting to the line and settle less for threes when they aren't falling. Can't blame the refs for Richmond having the foul advantage nearly the whole game because they attacked the basket more than us. As BC mentioned, we need to work on inbounding in late game situations. The timeout management late was interesting. When Robertson was trapped in the corner, I'm a bit surprised we didn't call one but I can understand why McCombs opted to save it.


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