Senior Kelly Ballentine scored 17 points, her highest output since Nov. 30, and Gloria Murphy had 10 of her 13 points in the second half to lead George Washington to a 65-54 Atlantic 10 victory over West Virginia in women's college basketball yesterday at Smith Center.
The Colonials are 9-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference. After winning its first three games of the season, West Virginia (4-11, 2-3) has lost 11 of 12.
Senior Georgeann Wells, a 6-foot-7 center who is the only woman collegiate player to dunk a basketball in a game, led the Mountaineers with 16 points.
West Virginia outrebounded GW, 34-25, but the Colonials committed only 12 turnovers and had 11 steals. Sophomore forward Kas Allen had three steals and had a team-high seven rebounds for GW.
West Virginia held an early lead and stayed close midway through the second half. Ballentine got the Colonials back into the game with long-range shooting in the first half, and then, when the Mountaineers went to a box-and-one defense on her in the second, Murphy started scoring.
"It was a nice win," said GW Coach Denise Fiore, whose team lost to 14th-ranked Rutgers Wednesday, after leading by six at halftime. "I think what helped us is that we didn't have a slow performance at the beginning of the second half. That has hurt us before. Even with the pressure at the end, we maintained our composure."
Before yesterday's game, Ballentine, the school's all-time leading women's scorer, had played an average of 21 minutes. Yesterday, she played 33. "It's a coaches' decision," she said. "They were playing a zone, and I could make them come out of it."
Said Fiore, who had not been happy with Ballentine's play this season: "I'm especially pleased with Ballentine. It was probably the best game she played all year. The last couple of weeks, she's played like she did in preseason."
West Virginia led, 16-10, when Wells made a base-line hook shot. But the Mountaineers, who started three freshmen and two sophomores, began to make mistakes, and the Colonials scored 10 straight points. Ballentine gave GW its first lead, 18-16, on a three-point play.
GW moved to a 32-24 lead on Stacy Springfield's free throw with 2:55 left. But the Mountaineers trailed only 34-30 at halftime.
In the second half, Jenny Hillen tied the score at 38, and the Mountaineers tried box-and-one and man-to-man defenses on Ballentine. Then Murphy scored 10 of the Colonials' next 12 points, most on layups, to give GW a 50-40 lead. Stony Brook 83, Catholic 81
Michelle White scored 29 points and Linda Sullivan scored 15 and had nine rebounds to lead the visitors in overtime at Dufour Center. Maureen Favo led the Cardinals (5-4) with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Lisa Kellaher had 22 points.