George Washington Coach Joe McKeown did not realize his No. 21 Colonials' 96-45 victory over Howard in the season opener for both teams established him as the winningest women's coach in Atlantic 10 Conference history. He did, however, recognize that players such as center Ugo Oha -- who notched career highs with 25 points and 17 rebounds -- helped him get there.
"I'm not sure exactly what [record] it is," said McKeown, who notched his 294th win at George Washington, breaking the record held by former Rutgers coach Theresa Grentz, whom McKeown said was instrumental in convincing him to leave New Mexico State for the Colonials' job 14 years ago.
"It's a question of how long you [have] been here. You can tell by the color of my hair how long I've been here. . . . [But] how do you win that many games? You have great players. I've had a lot here."
Oha, his latest star player, was dominant in a game that opened promising seasons for both teams. George Washington returned all five starters from last season's 21-9 team. Howard returned four from its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season championship squad -- but the one missing was current Utah Starzz center Andrea Gardner.
Oha played just 26 minutes but established her range early by making several long jumpers as the Colonials used an 11-0 run in the opening minutes. At 6 feet 4, Oha was the tallest player on the court by four inches. She had a double-double by halftime, and imposed her will on both ends of the floor with two blocked shots that deterred Howard's penetration.
"Sometimes preparation is remembering that you are 6-4, knowing what you can do and doing it," Howard Coach Cathy Parson said. "She didn't second guess yourself. She's a very mature player."
Oha passed out of double-teams whenever she got the ball in the low post, allowing the George Washington guards to move the ball around the perimeter with ease. The Colonials made slightly more than 50 percent of their shots, including 14 points from forward Erica Lawrence.
For Howard, which trailed 50-30 at halftime and was outscored 31-2 over the final two minutes, the lack of a veteran post player to replace Gardner and a dependable point guard gave the Bison little chance. Asia Petty, a converted shooting guard, tied with Laura Askew for a game-high 11 points, despite making just 4 of 17 shots. Courtney Kirk, the team's main post threat, was able to make just 2 of 15 shots for eight points, and center Shauna Ruglass hit just 1 of 12 for three.
"We're not particularly ready yet," Parson said. "We're going to look better."
* VIRGINIA 63, OLD DOMINION 55: Cherisse Graham scored seven of her 11 points during a late 19-1 run as the Cavaliers rallied to spoil the opening of Old Dominion's $46 million Convocation Center in Norfolk.
Virginia (1-0) trailed 52-44 before Anna Prillaman's basket with 6 minutes 12 seconds to play sparked the big run. Brandi Teamer added a layup, Prillaman hit a three-pointer and Graham followed with another basket, giving the Cavaliers a 53-52 lead they never lost.
* PROVIDENCE 70, NAVY 62: In Burlington, Vt., Michal Epstein scored all 14 of her points in the second half to help the Friars overcome a 13-point Midshipmen lead in the season opener for both teams. Navy will play Yale in today's consolation game of the Bank North Classic at 3 p.m., and Providence advances to the title game against host Vermont.
* GEORGETOWN 72, COLGATE 55: Rebekkah Brunson scored a game-high 20 points and had 18 rebounds and the Hoyas won at home. Carmen Bruce and Sarah Jenkins scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Georgetown, and Colgate guard Allison Hanson had a team-high 19 for the Red Raiders.
* VA. TECH 54, UNC GREENSBORO 46: Fran Recchia shot 5 of 10 and scored 18 points as the Hokies won on the road. Virginia Tech's Ieva Kublina scored 15 points.
* GEORGE MASON 67, HARTFORD 56: Dorcas Miller scored 18 points, Jess Clark had 16 and Anne Whalen added 11 in the Patriots' road win.
* MARSHALL 76, AMERICAN 56: The Tundering Herd forced 26 turnovers for a victory over the visiting Eagles.