George Washington Women 70,
George Washington won its sixth straight game and in the process may have conquered a pair of old demons, shutting down Xavier's all-senior back court of Reetta Piipari and Amy Waugh in a 70-57 victory at Smith Center.
"All I told them at halftime was that I didn't care if anyone else scored 20, but we couldn't let those two beat us," George Washington Coach Joe McKeown said. "Let's just say I'll be happy when they graduate."
Piipari ended up with 17 points and Waugh scored 16, but they combined for just 11 points in the second half. Piipari made four three-pointers in a three-minute burst late in the first half to reduce George Washington's halftime lead to 33-32, but she did not even attempt a three-pointer in the second half.
Waugh, the Atlantic 10 Conference's leading scorer at 18.9 points per game, had scored 86 points over the previous three games, and done almost all of it from three-point range, making 18 of 29 shots. She sank just 1 of 7 three-pointers yesterday, and got most of her points at the free throw line, where she made all 10 of her attempts.
Xavier has knocked George Washington out of the Atlantic 10 tournament the past three years, with Piipari and Waugh playing major roles. In the 2001 championship game, Piipari set a conference tournament record with six three-pointers. In last season's Atlantic 10 quarterfinal meeting, Waugh scored 23 points.
Yesterday, though, Xavier (11-5, 3-2) was unable to score consistently anywhere other than the free throw line, where the Musketeers made all 20 of their free throws, two shy of the Atlantic 10 record. With Piipari and Waugh struggling, Xavier shot just 26 percent in the second half and 32 percent for the game.
At halftime, the Colonials (10-5, 5-0) left their matchup zone defense in favor of a triangle-and-two, having the guards pressure Piipari and Waugh and the forwards stay in a zone in order to keep funneling Xavier's penetration toward 6-foot-5 center Ugo Oha, who had five blocks to go along with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
"She always blocks a lot of shots, and she alters even more," Xavier Coach Kevin McGuff said.
Colonials guard Cathy Joens scored 24 points to follow the career-high 35 she scored against Fordham on Wednesday, making her late-December slump an increasingly distant memory. Joens made 10 of 15 shots.
George Washington got some of its best performances from its supporting cast. Reserve forward Valerie Williams scored eight points and point guard Marshiek Witherspoon tied her career high with 10 points. Witherspoon's backup, Greeba Outen Barlow, scored eight.