The chant from the student section began with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining in ninth-ranked George Washington's 87-60 victory over Saint Joseph's before 1,172 at Smith Center last night.
"We want Temple!"
It had been tempting for the Colonials (24-2, 13-0 Atlantic 10) and their small group of supporters to look past the Hawks and peer ahead to tomorrow afternoon's home showdown against the Owls (23-5, 13-0) -- a regular season finale that will decide the top seed in the league tournament. But when Saint Joseph's ran out of comebacks and GW secured its 17th consecutive victory -- fifth longest in the nation -- the Colonials finally allowed themselves to focus on Temple.
"This team has done a great job, even when they got into the national rankings, of focusing on the next game and not getting caught up in looking down the road a little bit," Coach Joe McKeown said.
The Colonials scored the first 10 points, led by 24 before halftime and, after allowing the Hawks (15-12, 7-6) to get within 10 early in the second half, pulled away to set a season high for points. Sarah-Jo Lawrence and Jessica Adair scored 16 points apiece and Kenan Cole added 13 and eight rebounds. Erica Pollock (Riverdale Baptist) had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who shot 36.5 percent and had 20 turnovers.
"We just came out with fire," Lawrence said. "We were tearing apart the zone and we did it effectively going inside out."
The Colonials surged to their big early lead with sublime shooting and ferocious defensive pressure, prompting two quick timeouts by Hawks Coach Cindy Griffin. GW made eight of its first 10 shots, with the 6-foot-4 Adair inflicting the most damage by hitting two turnaround jumpers and collecting Kimberly Beck's gentle lob for a layup while drawing a foul. Adair's free throw made it 17-2 just 4 1/2 minutes into the game.
"We never recovered, and that's really pretty much the story," Griffin said. "It just kind of snowballed."
Lawrence made a pair of three-pointers before Whitney Allen provided the highlight of the half -- and perhaps the season -- with a spectacular coast-to-coast effort to stretch the lead to 20. Allen (12 rebounds, 7 points, 4 blocks, 5 steals) lunged to intercept a pass, used a behind-the-back dribble to stay inbounds, then surged to the basket to draw a foul and finish the layup.
Said Cole, "We're definitely going to have to prepare for them and come out with the same kind of energy that we came out with tonight, where we had everybody on the same page and attacking."
· VIRGINIA TECH 67, BOSTON COLLEGE 52: Sophomore Amber Hall had 12 points and 11 rebounds and classmate Laura Haskins added seven assists for the Hokies (17-13, 6-8 ACC) on the road.
Senior Ayla Brown had 15 points for the Eagles (13-14, 3-10).
American Men WinAndre Ingram scored 25 points and Brayden Billbe added 20 points and 10 rebounds as American defeated Lafayette, 78-67, at Bender Arena in the regular season finale for both teams. The Eagles (15-13, 7-7 Patriot League) host a first-round tournament game on Wednesday. Lafayette fell to 9-20, 3-11.