GW's Kelli Jo Harrison (10) shoots over Capital's Tiffany Reavis (14).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It had only been nine days ago (Feb. 13) that Capital had taken George Washington into overtime before the Patriots gutted out a close 68-63 decision.Patriots coach Jamie LaMaster was at home with the flu that night but on Friday, with a Class AAA Region 3 Section 1 championship up for grabs, the GW team he and the rest of the fans in attendance saw clearly wasn't the same.George Washington stretched its lead out in every quarter, for the most part played lockdown defense and got balanced production from four double-digit scorers as the Patriots dispatched Capital 61-35 in South Hills.With the win, GW (16-8) will host Princeton in next week's regional while the Cougars will travel to Greenbrier East, with each co-final game guaranteeing a state tournament berth to the winner.
"That was a goal too, I don't want to go down the Turnpike," LaMaster said. "The last two years we've hosted regional final games and won. We really like to play here."That was evident enough on Friday in a complete team effort.Guards Alanna Mobayed and Rachel Ward handled the ball and Capital's athleticism all night while Kelli Jo Harrison helped hold down the fort in the middle and Kayla Stewart cashed in on shots from the perimeter.Harrison and Ward each ended up with a game-high 17 points with Harrison adding 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks.Mobayed turned in a bit of a renaissance performance, going for 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two blocks and four steals. Stewart ended with 10 points, including a pair of 3s.But while the foursome was doing work on the offensive end, it was GW's defense that really set the tone and told the story as Capital managed just 22.6 percent shooting for the game and scored 28 points less than it did in the two teams' last matchup."Traditionally we don't tend to play well at Capital," LaMaster said. "We didn't play a great first half tonight but I thought after our halftime adjustments - we started playing a little more physical, getting after loose balls and getting on the ground a little more - I thought they really came out and responded well in the second half." "[LaMaster] wasn't at that game and I think we just had a lack of motivation that game," Harrison said. "We just came in real slow and weren't ready. We came in a little better today and picked it up."Capital hung in for a while early behind Daisha Foster, who ended up with eight points and nine rebounds but picked up her second foul in the first quarter and had her minutes limited throughout.The Cougars (9-13) managed to hold the deficit under double digits throughout the first half and trailed just 29-21 at the break.But GW outscored the Cougars 32-14 in the second quarter and Capital coach B.J. Calabrese admitted the game got away early in the third quarter.
"It was a disappointing second half," Calabrese said. "We still felt at halftime, you're down eight, you didn't play a great first half but you still felt you were in a position to come out and go on a little run and you're in the game at that point. We came out the second half and didn't execute on either end."Khadijah Lee paced Capital with nine points but shot just 4 of 22 from the field.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.