George Washington 88, No. 22 Western Kentucky 63
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Colleen McCrea is so comfortable zipping the ball to her teammates, she doesn’t even realize she’s blowing bubbles as she dribbles. She’d feel much more at ease, however, if George Washington’s 14-game winning streak gets the Colonials into the top 25.
The senior point guard spurred a 14-2 game-opening run, and Noelia Gomez’s 24 points led five GW players in double figures as the Colonials beat No. 22 Western Kentucky 88-63 Saturday.
McCrea had two steals and two assists during the opening spurt, which she capped by twice keeping a possession alive _ once by tipping a rebound, the second time by leaping over the baseline to save the ball _ before making a 3-pointer 3:52 into the game.
``She’s probably one of the most underrated players in the country,″ George Washington coach Joe McKeown said. ``I don’t think there are too many point guards nationwide that can do the things that she does. It doesn’t show up on the stats, but she plays great defense, she makes great decisions, and she just has a presense that allows (her teammates) to put numbers on the board.″
McCrea finished with four steals, six assists and three points. There were no stats issued for her gum-chewing.
``It’s so unconscious,″ McCrea said. ``I don’t even realize that I’m doing it. It’s something that I don’t practice, that’s for sure. At least not while the coach’s around.″
George Washington (17-4) won its 30th consecutive home game, third-longest active streak in the nation. The Smith Center crowd of 2,783 was the largest for a women’s regular-season home game in GW history.
After a 1-3 start, the Colonials have won 16 of 17, going 11-0 in the Atlantic 10. They would like to be one of the 16 teams that gets to host first- and second-round games in the NCAA tournament, but the lack of recognition in the national rankings makes the task seem daunting.
``Hopefully this week, that’ll change,″ McCrea said. ``Our goal is to get a home (game). I think it’s still feasible.″
Last season, the Colonials won the Atlantic 10 tournament, but were sent to perennial national contender Virginia for the NCAAs. The Cavaliers beat GW in the second round.
Sun Belt powerhouse Western Kentucky (16-6), which had won five straight, sustained its worst defeat this season. The Lady Toppers’ point-guard-by-committee couldn’t penetrate the quick hands of McCrea and rest of the Colonials, who made 14 steals and forced 27 turnovers.
``They did a good job of disrupting our flow in the first half,″ Western Kentucky coach Paul Sanderford said. ``We turned it over 19 times in the first half. I think that’s the story of the basketball game.
``I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that we didn’t play any better than we did, because we’re a good basketball team. We have a good program, and we’re going to make some noise sometime soon. Sometimes you need a wakeup call, and we certainly got one today.″
Gomez, a junior transfer from Spain, was 10-for-15 from the field, 4-for-5 from the line and had eight rebounds. Marlo Egleston scored 18 points, and Lisa Cermignano added 16, Chasity Myers 14 and Tajama Abraham 11 for the Colonials, who had 21 assists to the Lady Toppers’ 10. GW shot 56 percent from the field.
Leslie Johnson led Western Kentucky with 17 points. Laurie Townsend had 13.
George Washington led 45-22 at halftime, having held the Lady Toppers scoreless in a 7-0 run over the last 5:37 of the first half. Western Kentucky never cut the deficit below 18 in the second half.