WASHINGTON, D.C. – Trailing 25-20 with 7:47 left in the first half Saturday night, the women's basketball team (12-6, 2-1 Atlantic 10) closed the half on a 20-4 run and never looked back en route to its first-ever win at the Charles E. Smith Center, 72-48, over the George Washington Colonials (5-11, 0-2 A-10).
GW opened on a torrid pace, jumping out to an 11-3 lead not even four minutes in. Following the under-16 media timeout, head coach Jim Crowley subbed freshman CeCe Dixon, freshman Doris Ortega and senior Cara Gustafson. That lineup went on an equally hot 13-2 stretch to not only get the Bonnies back in it, but in front, at 16-13 with 12 minutes left.
From there, the teams traded baskets until GW took the 25-20 lead, and that's when St. Bonaventure began its game-deciding run. Junior Megan Van Tatenhove started it with a lay-in, Dixon followed with a 3-pointer, Ortega converted a lay-up, junior Jessica Jenkins connected from 3 and the Bonnies had gone on a 10-0 run in just over three minutes.
After a free throw from GW's Ivy Abiona stopped the run, Jenkins started it right back up again with another 3, and Gustafson followed with a 3 of her own to stretch the Bona lead to double figures at 10. A Colonials' 3 cut their deficit to seven, but Jenkins closed the half with her own personal 4-0 run – a free throw and yet another 3 – and the Bonnies led by 11 at the half, 40-29. Those 40 points represent the most first-half points by St. Bonaventure this year.
GW attempted to make a dent in the second half as it was able to trim the Bona cushion to seven at the 17:07 mark, but that's as close as it would get the rest of the night as the Bonnies rode their second-best shooting performance (51 percent) of the year to victory.
"We were a little stale, and they (Colonials) were playing pretty well to start the game," Crowley said. "Cara came in and hit some big 3's, CeCe hit some 3's, Doris just made plays and Jennie (Ashton) does just what she needs to do and does it really well. I thought they really took the game to another level and our starters came back in and carried that over."
Gustafson was the general in the army of Bona bench soldiers as she netted three of her career-high four 3-pointers in the first half, finishing with a career-best 14 points. Ortega finished with eight, Dixon hit two 3's in the first half to finish with six and Ashton netted two. Freshmen Ashley Capotosto and Ashley Zahn also scored three and two, respectively, rounding out the season-high 35 bench points.
Jenkins led the way offensively for the Bonnies as she connected on 5-of-7 from 3 on her way to a game-high 16 points. Van Tatenhove finished with 13 points and a game-high-tying six rebounds.
GW placed just one scorer in double figures as sophomore Danni Jackson finished with 10. After shooting 42.9 percent in the first half, the Bonnies held the Colonials to just 25-percent shooting in the second frame, the Bonnies' second-straight opponent they've held under 30-percent shooting in the second half.
St. Bonaventure will remain on the road for its next game as it heads to Cincinnati, Ohio to face the No. 8 Xavier Musketeers. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday from the Cintas Center.
Game Notes: St. Bonaventure was previously 0-16 at the Smith Center … the Colonials' 48 points is the fewest they have ever scored against St. Bonaventure, breaking the previous low of 50 which was set in last year's meeting … the Bonnies finished with a season-high 11 made 3's … Jenkins' five 3-pointers tied a season high … the Bonnies out-rebounded GW, 31-25 … St. Bonaventure committed just nine turnovers … this is the second straight opponent the Bonnies have held to 19 second-half points … senior Amanda Johnson saw action in her second consecutive game, the first time that has happened this year … the game was part of a double-header with the GW men's team in which the GW Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) partnered with more than 100 local Special Olympics athletes to watch the game with them.