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GW, Duquesne, La Salle & Richmond Pick Up Key Wins to Close Regular Season

Release: 03/01/2014
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Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

George Washington 88, No. 21 Dayton 79
Three Colonials had double-doubles as the George Washington women's basketball team knocked off No. 21 Dayton, 88-79, to pick up its 20th win in the regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon at the Charles E. Smith Center.

GW improves to 20-9 overall and 11-5 in Atlantic 10 play, marking the first time the Colonials have won 20 games since 2007-08, when they advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. GW finishes the regular season tied for second in the A-10 standings, clinching a first-round bye in next week's Atlantic 10 Championship. The Colonials will learn their seed and quarterfinals opponent following the conclusion of Sunday's Saint Joseph's/Fordham game.

Playing at home for the final time, graduate student Danni Jackson posted her third career double-double with 17 points and 12 assists and grad student Megan Nipe poured in 18 points on four three-pointers and added six rebounds. Sophomore Jonquel Jones posted her third straight double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and freshman Caira Washington added 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 12 rebounds to give the Colonials three players with double-doubles for the second time this season.

In a battle of the top two rebounding teams in the Atlantic 10, GW boasted a 49-34 advantage on the boards, including 19-12 on the offensive glass.

La Salle 55, St. Bonaventure 49
– La Salle fought off St. Bonaventure, holding on for a 55-49 win over the second-place Bonnies in a matchup critical for the seeding in next week's Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The Explorers wrap up the regular season  at an even 14-14 and conclude with a 9-7 A-10 record. The nine wins in conference play is the most since the 1996-97 squad went 12-4, and marks the first over-.500 conference record since that season.

Alicia Cropper led the Explorers with 17 points and eight rebounds. Leeza Burdgess added 13 on 6-for-8 shooting, and Jasmine Alston added 11 points, eight rebounds and a game-high four assists.

SBU's Katie Healy led all scorers with 22 points, and Hannah Little added a double-double of 11 points and 16 rebounds.

Burdgess and Koci were honored in a pregame ceremony as part of the program's annual Senior Day. Both started the contest and made big impacts in a special win.

The Explorer defense once again was stellar, holding the Bonnies to just 49 points and only 14.3 percent (2-for 14) from long range. The Bonnies' 49 points was their lowest point total since they lost 88-39 to No. 1 Connecticut on Nov. 24.

"I think our defense has been carrying us. Our offense is day-to-day, but defense has to be every day and that's what we preach," Williams added. "We've been doing a very good job on the defensive end."

The outset of the game was slow, with the score tied just 6-6 at the first media timeout and the Explorers up 10-6 at the second media timeout at 11:48. The Bonnies pulled ahead 13-12 shortly after, but Alston responded with a nifty layup in the paint to put the Explorers ahead for good with around nine minutes left in the first half.

The Explorers pushed their lead to eight twice at 23-15 and 25-17 until a Bonnies' 5-0 spurt brought the visitors within 25-22 with 1:56 until halftime. Cropper drained two free throws to go back up five and then swished a three with 34 seconds remaining to give the Explorers a 30-22 halftime lead.

Cropper opened the second half with a layup to give the Explorers their first double-digit lead at 32-22 and they pushed the advantage to 13 at 37-24 with 17:40 on the clock.

The pesky Bonnies cut the La Salle lead back to single digits when Healy went inside for a layup at 9:03 to get within eight at 42-34. The visitors kept chipping away and got within five on two Healy free throws with 4:46 remaining in the game.

Freshman Lisa Mintzer picked up two offensive boards and converted a terrific putback on the second rebound to go back up seven and Owens hit a short jumper to give the Explorers a 50-41 lead with 3:56 to go.

A La Salle turnover with just over a minute left gave the Bonnies the ball on their end of the court, which Healy hit with 1:03 to get back within five at 50-45.

The Bonnies were forced to foul at that point, but the Explorers struggled at the free throw line to get the Bonnies the ball back. SBU's Chelsea Bowker attempted a three with 45 seconds on the clock, but missed and Burdgess picked up the rebound.

The Bonnies fouled Cropper at midcourt and a scuffle led to a technical being assessed on SBU's Hannah Little. Beslow took the one-and-one, missing the front end. Owens took the two technical shots, making the second to push the Explorer lead to 51-45 with 38 seconds on the clock. The Explorers got the possession after the technical and Burdgess pushed the lead back to eight on a layup in the paint.

SBU's Emily Michael went to the line and hit two free throws after being fouled with 25 seconds left to get back within 53-47. A foul on Cropper yielded another Explorer point.

Healy got one more bucket with 13 seconds left to draw within 54-49, but Owens made the first of two free throws after being fouled to get to 55-49 with 11 seconds left. Kelcie Rombach attempted a trey that was off the mark and the score stood up.

Neither team shot well today, with the Explorers going 35.6 percent and the Bonnies hitting 35.3 percent from the field. The Explorers struggled again at the free throw line, hitting just 10 of 19, while the Bonnies went 11-for-14.

The teams were even in rebounding, with both squads pulling down 37 boards. SBU committed 15 turnovers while the Explorers committed 11.

Richmond 74, George Mason 63
– All five Spider starters tallied double figures to lead the Richmond women’s basketball team over the George Mason Patriots, 74-63, Saturday afternoon at the Patriot Center in its season finale.

For the second-straight contest, Richmond (14-15, 8-8 A-10) tallied all five starters with double figures and was led by redshirt-junior Genevieve Okoro with her seventh double-double of the season.

After going into halftime with just a one-point lead, Richmond used a 18-3 run with five minutes left in the contest that eventually secure the victory. Tied at 47 with 13:14 left, Soppe capped off the 18-3 run with a fast-break layup to give the Spiders a 15-point lead, its largest of the game, with five to play.

Okoro tallied a game-high 14 boards to go along with her 15 points for her 22nd double-double of her career to lead the Spiders. Freshman Janelle Hubbard recorded her 12th-straight game with double digit points, scoring a team-high 16, while coming up with two steals and four rebounds.

Senior Kristina King scored 15 points, while junior Keri Soppe and sophomore Lauren Tolson followed with 12 and 10, respectively.

Richmond shot an overall 45 percent from the floor, while holding George Mason (7-22, 1-15 A-10) to just 39 percent and only sending the Patriots to the line five times. The Spiders crashed the boards and took the 49-28 rebounding advantage, which led to 30 points in the paint and 23 second-chance points.

Duquesne 54, Rhode Island 51
The Duquesne women's basketball team concluded the 2014 regular season with a 54-51 victory over Rhode Island on Saturday evening at the Ryan Center.

The Dukes (18-11, 10-6 A-10) were led by Wumi Agunbiade with 15 points and nine rebounds. Belma Nurkic came off the bench to score 11 points.

The Rams (7-22, 2-14 A-10) were led by Samantha Tabakman who scored a game-high 16 points. Tayra Melendez added 15 for URI.

The first half started out slow as the game's first 11 possessions were empty with the teams combining for 0-for-6 shooting and five turnovers. The Dukes did not record a point until Raegan Moore's layup at the 15:32 mark. The Rams took a 6-4 lead heading into the under-16 media timeout.

Neither team would score until Nurkic converted on a fast break at 10:57 to even the score at 6-6. Johnson followed with a layup to give the Dukes their first lead of the game at the 10:16 mark. The Dukes defense held Rhode Island to single-digit scoring until Melendez's foul shot at 5:51 made the score 13-10 in favor of the Dukes.

Moore's fast break basket with 42 seconds remaining was the final basket of the half and gave Duquesne its first double-digit lead of the game, 26-15 heading into halftime.

April Robinson's layup at 18:23 of the 2nd half gave the Dukes a 14-point lead at 31-17 and by the midway point of the half, the Dukes would have their largest lead of the game, 17 points at 43-26. The Rams would respond with a 15-4 run to cut the Duquesne lead into single-digits at 47-41 with 5:32 remaining.

With the Dukes leading 52-49 with 35 seconds to play and URI with the ball, Melendez was fouled, missing the first shot, making the second. On the ensuing possession, Olivia Bresnahan was fouled and made 1-of-2 from the line, making the score 53-50 with 31 seconds left.

Tabakman missed a jumper with 20 seconds left and the ball went out of bounds in favor of Duquesne. Nurkic was immediately fouled and made her first foul shot, putting the Dukes up 54-50. Nurkic missed the second foul shot and the ball was rebounded by Melendez who was fouled with 18 seconds remaining. She made the first foul shot and missed the second. Moore pulled down the rebound and was fouled with 15 seconds to play. However, she missed both foul shots and Rhode Island had the ball and a chance to tie. With less than 10 seconds left, Teneka Whittaker was all alone on the left side, but opted not to take the wide open shot. The Rams could not get a shot off and called timeout with 6 seconds to play. Melendez's had an attempt at the buzzer, but the shot was off and Duquesne escaped with the 54-51 victory.

Duquesne was 18-of 51 from the floor (35.3 percent) and 25-of-72 (34.7 percent) in Wednesday's loss versus La Salle.

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