WASHINGTON, D.C. - Scoring the final six points of the game, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team held off a late rally by George Washington to earn a 75-69 victory Wednesday afternoon at the Charles E. Smith Center.
Up by as many as 16 points, the Hawks (15-4, 4-2 Atlantic 10) found themselves tied at 69-69 with under two minutes to play. Saint Joseph's kept its calm during the Colonials' push, as redshirt junior Ashley Robinson knocked down a jumper in the paint off a pass from junior guard Natasha Cloud at 1:13.
Back on defense, senior Erin Shields poked the ball away from the Colonials' Danni Jackson and followed with a pull-up jumper from the left wing to put the Hawks ahead, 73-69, with 34 seconds to play.
Saint Joseph's would get another defensive stop and sophomore forward Sarah Fairbanks would close the game out with a pair of free throws with 15 seconds to go.
Behind a strong defensive performance, the Hawks jumped out to a 31-15 advantage as they held the Colonials to just 17.2 percent shooting (5-of-29) over the opening 17 minutes.
George Washington (13-6, 4-2 A-10) would rally in the final moments of the half though, using a 13-3 run to make it a 34-28 at the half. The Colonials converted 4-of-8 from the field and converted 5-of-5 from the foul line during the run to make it a two-possession game entering the second stanza.
The Hawks held a 64-57 lead with under six minutes to play, but the Colonials used a 10-3 run over a three minute span to tie the game at 67-67. The teams would exchange baskets before the thrilling final minutes.
For the game, the Hawks shot 44.4 percent overall (28-of-63), hit 5-of-10 from three-point range and 14-of-16 from the foul line (87.5 percent).
Individually, Shields led four Hawks in double figures with 21 points and added seven assists, while Fairbanks tallied 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Senior Ilze Gotfrida tallied 12 points and had eight rebounds, while senior Kelsey Berger finished with 10 points and three rebounds. Cloud had a game-high nine assists to go with nine points and seven rebounds.
At the other end, George Washington shot 36.2 percent overall (25-of-69), 2-of-15 from three-point range (13.3 percent) and 17-of-26 from the foul line. The Colonials, which got 26 second chance points and finished with a 48-37 advantage in rebounding, were led by Jackson's 18 points.
Saint Joseph's returns to action Sunday when it hosts Dayton at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on NBCSN.