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1/13/2023 8:09 am  #1

GW versus La Salle Thread

Next up:                 La Salle University Explorers
Time:                     January 14, 2023; 12 PM
Venue:                   Tom Gola Arena, Philadelphia PA
2021-22 Record:   16-12 overall; 9-6 in A10
2023 Projection:   2nd
Current Record:   10-8   
   OOC Record:     
   A10 Record:      
Common OOC:    UMES (W), Howard (L)
Broadcast:           ESPN+ 

GW travels to Philly on Saturday to take on La Salle. The Explorers, who were picked to finish 2nd in the A10 this year, finished their OOC schedule with an 9-6 record that included losses to South Florida and Villanova. The Explorers share two common OOC opponents with GW, UMES (Win) and Howard (Loss). Despite their high preseason ranking, early A10 losses to the top two teams in the conference (St. Joe’s and URI) has them playing catchup in the league race. They managed to defeat George Mason 69-62 on Wednesday to secure their first A10 win.

La Salle averages 67.7 ppg on 39.2% from the field (30.4% from 3-point range) and 71.8% on free throws. Their defense allows 65.8 ppg on 39.2% accuracy from their opponents. The Explorers returned all of their key players from last year’s team, including preseason 1st Team All-A10 selection Kayla Spruill and 2nd Team pick Claire Jacobs. Spruill comes into this contest averaging 12.4 ppg and 4.3 rpg, while Jacobs leads the team in scoring at 12.8 ppg. Other significant contributors on the team include PG Molly Masciantonio (4.6 apg), Gabby Crawford (7.1 ppg), and Mia Jacobs (8.7 ppg and 4.8 rpg), the youngest of three Jacobs sisters on the roster.
GW split two games with La Salle last year, losing in the regular season, but exacting a bit of revenge at the A10 tournament by eliminating the Explorers in Round 2 by a 64-54 score.
About the game:
La Salle poses a different defensive challenge than Fordham. Fordham’s guards are shorter, quicker, better ball handlers, and great scorers. La Salle offers a tall line-up that can include 4 players 6’ or taller on the court at the same time. Spruill and Jacobs (both 6’) are strong guards that can take advantage of defenders inside the box. Forwards Crawford and Mia Jacobs (both 6’2”) are good interior defenders and rebounders. Masciantonio, while not a prolific scorer, is a superior playmaker who has 60 assists to only 16 TOs this season. Although the Explorers are not a great 3-point shooting team, they are not shy about taking them and lead the A10 in attempts at 25.2 per game.
For GW, defense will once again be the key. Taiwo will need help on the boards, so playing La Salle tight and boxing out their taller players is critical. We need to contest shots and try to limit their 3-point attempts. La Salle is turnover prone and we have to capitalize on that. Offensively, we need to control the tempo and not get into our offense too quickly. We don’t want to curb Robertson’s energy and enthusiasm, but 7 TOs is too many, and as a team, we must reduce the number of unforced TOs. We’ve gotten better at minimizing the number of isolation situations that end up with bad shots. Our shot selection is better, but we’re missing too many open 3’s. If the game is close at the end, we have to find a way to get the ball in play against defensive pressure. Finally, GW needs more productive minutes from the bench. The overall play has been good, especially defensively, but we have to hit more open shots.
A road victory against the projected #2 would be great for the resume. Will the coaches to put the pieces together to make it happen?


1/14/2023 2:26 pm  #2

Re: GW versus La Salle Thread

GW tripped up by La Salle 74-65.
La Salle had some early success from distance, but despite some early offensive issues, the Colonials were able to defend the 3-pointer better in the latter part of the period and went on a roll to finish the 1st quarter with an 18-12 lead. Innis was a scratch for GW, giving Robertson her first start of the season. She finished the quarter with 6 points on 2-4 shooting on 3-pointers. The Explorers came out hot to start the 2nd, with two quick 3’s forcing a quick GW timeout. The 3-point blitz continued and GW’s cold shooting let La Salle run up a 38-30 lead at the half. La Salle finished with 8 3-pointers in the half, while our starters were a combined 9-27 from the field. Although our defense stiffened up to start the 2nd half, the offense continued to struggle with sloppy ball handling and missed shots, allowing La Salle to run up the lead to 11 points. In the final period, a late surge, led by three straight Robertson 3-pointers, got GW to within 6 points with under a minute left, but subsequent free throws settled the outcome at 74-65.
Statistically, this game was even in most respects, but not field goal percentage. The outcome is characteristic of how our season has gone so far. GW shot 32.4% from the field. When we shoot 40% or greater, we are 7-0. When we shoot below, we’re just 4-7. Some credit to La Salle’s defense, whose tall line-up and tight man-to-man led to a number of contested shots, but GW helped by missing a number of layups and open 3’s. Robertson had 20 points today, but she was only 6-20 from the field. Lakstigala was 3-11 and finished with 10 points. Lok also had 10 points in a limited number of minutes. As a team, we finished 9-25 from 3-point range, with only Robertson making more than one. Missing Innis had an impact on the game. Without Robertson coming off the bench, only Lok had any impact, as the others were ineffective in their minutes on the court. La Salle did a good job of boxing out Taiwo, who finished with 7 points and 8 boards.
Some pluses came out of the game, namely, the team never quit, even after the 2nd quarter barrage when the Explorers hit 6-10 3’s. Despite allowing 12 3’s and shooting only 32.4%, we still managed to cut the margin to a two-possession game in the waning minutes. Robertson played 33 minutes with only 2 TOs, and as a team, GW only had 10. We need to take the positives into our next contest at George Mason and build on them.

Last edited by xAC (1/15/2023 2:33 pm)

     Thread Starter

1/14/2023 7:17 pm  #3

Re: GW versus La Salle Thread

Tough loss, but I see why La Salle was picked second in the preseason poll. They certainly have good shooting. The team just didn't consistently rotate over and close out on their shooters so the Explorers got a number of open looks. I thought they matched us in the rebounding department as well, which is generally where GW has a major advantage.

Ball movement was definitely better in the Fordham win (despite just 9 assists - had we not turned the ball over so many times that game could have been a blowout). The team did do better in not turning the ball over today, but against the better teams there is usually a noticeable difference between how the other team moves the ball and how we operate in the halfcourt. There is enough talent on the team that we can put multiple offensive threats on the floor at once, but usually in the halfcourt we have players taking turns shooting the ball instead of spreading it out.

Having said that, we did also miss a number of good looks. It happens, but this team also misses way more layups than they should. Honestly, we probably could have come out on top had most of those lay-ins gone down.

Nya Robertson is a really exciting piece for the future. Stunned she hasn't won freshman of the week yet, but would think she gets it for this week. I think Robertson can probably be the player who can operate in late shot clock situations, but there are times where I think she pulls the trigger a bit too early when we can probably get a better quality shot later in the possession.

A player like Mia or Jayla would really benefit from having more of their shots assisted. It would do wonders for their efficiency.

Hope Asjah is able to make it back soon. Good to see Aurea back in action. Not necessarily surprised that Maxine and her were a bit unsteady as they haven't had a ton of game action as of late but they can certainly contribute. Hopefully that broken play where Engel scored can get her going again.

Nya Lok had another good game. Often times it seems like she is one of the few players who can get anything going in the second quarter of games. Also one of the few players who truly has the ability to create her own shot without usually heaving up a prayer.

This team has a chance of winning against most teams in conference, minus maybe a UMass, St. Joe's, or URI. Still hopeful that we are able to progress enough offensively by the A10 tournament. This team can certainly even overperform the middle of the pack finish I thought they would end up earlier in the season if they can move the ball better in the halfcourt.


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