RICHMOND, Va. — In a tournament teeming with upsets, St. Joseph’s was unable to conjure up one last shocker.
The Hawks trailed George Washington almost the whole way Sunday in the Atlantic Ten women’s basketball final, suffering a 65-49 defeat at the Richmond Coliseum.
“This was the best I’ve seen them play,” St. Joe’s coach Cindy Griffin said. “They made shots when they needed to make shots. When we were starting to go on a run, they countered it.”
Despite the loss, St. Joe’s postseason hopes may not be dashed.
The Colonials earn the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, and the regular-season champion, Dayton, earns the A-10’s place in the WNIT. But the Flyers are still believed to be in play for an at-large NCAA bid, potentially opening the door for the Hawks (18-14).
“The mentality is that we’re not done yet,” Griffin said.
Senior Amanda Fioravanti led the Hawks with 12 points, and Adashia Franklyn followed with nine points and nine rebounds. Chelsea Woods, who was named to the all-tournament team, was limited to eight points.
George Washington, seeded fifth in the tournament, upset No. 4 George Mason and top-seeded Dayton en route to the championship. By defeating sixth-seeded St. Joe’s, the Colonials (19-13) claimed their third A-10 title in four seasons.
“I felt we were very steady all year,” said GW senior guard Brianna Cummings, who scored a game-high 17 points and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. “We were clicking at the right time. You don’t want to click too early because you want to be playing your best basketball in March.”
St. Joseph’s held its last lead at 6-4. GW went on a 10-0 run spanning the first and second quarters put the Colonials ahead for good.
The Hawks reached the title game after upsetting No. 3 seed Fordham in the quarterfinals and beating seventh-seeded St. Louis in the semifinals. They within four points in the second quarter, but GW pushed the lead back out again, eventually reaching 20 in the fourth.
Colonials guard Mei-Lyn Bautista tallied 26 assists and no turnovers across four tournament games.
“We had been down this road before. The quarterfinals, we were down by eight at halftime, so we felt we could come back and take the lead and win,” Griffin said. “Just a lot of things didn’t go our way today.”