Washington, D.C. — Big runs to open each half helped propel 15th-ranked George Washington to an 80-63 win over the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team Saturday night in the final game of the 2007 GW Thanksgiving Classic.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Lady Toppers as they fell to 4-2 on the season, while the Colonials improved to 5-1.
George Washington opened the second half on a 14-2 run to stretch a two-point halftime lead out to 51-37 just three and a half minutes into the period. The Colonials shot 51.6 percent in the final period, and attempted 10 more shots that WKU as they allowed the Lady Toppers to get no closer than eight points after the run to open the half.
WKU did cut its deficit down to 63-55 on a layup from Crystal Kelly with 7:39 to go, but GW quickly stretched the lead back to 15 points with a 7-0 run to in essence end the game. The Colonial lead reached 21 points late in the game when Jessica Adair put in the last of her team-high 23 points to stretch the lead to 80-59 with just over a minute remaining. Kelly and Hope Brown were able to account for the final four points of the contest to cut the final margin to 17.
Kelly was named to the all-tournament team after finishing the night with a game-high 30 points — the second time in three games this week that she reached 30. She also tied a school record going perfect at the free throw stripe (12-for-12). Dominique Duck also represented WKU on the all-tournament squad. Kenzie Rich was the only Lady Topper other than Kelly to reach double figures as she tossed in 11.
The Lady Toppers spotted George Washington an early lead as Kimberly Beck — who was named the tournament’s MVP — scored the game’s first seven points. However, Charlotte Marshall came back with five unanswered points of her own to pull WKU back within a pair. Again GW answered with six straight to pull out to its biggest lead of the half at 13-5 just over five minutes into the contest.
WKU — which shot 42.3 percent from the floor in the opening period — hung close and finally took its first lead of the game when four straight points from Kelly made it 19-18 midway through the period. Rich followed with a steal and layup to stretch the Lady Topper lead to 18-15.
The Colonials got a layup from Jazmine Adair to start an 8-0 run as they pulled back out to a 26-21 advantage with 6:47 on the first half clock. Kelly, who finished with 16 points in the opening period, came back with six straight to again put the Lady Toppers in front 27-26 with five minutes remaining before the break. The teams swapped buckets and the lead down the stretch before a three-point play by Jessica Adair gave George Washington a 37-33 lead with 1:26 to go. However, Kelly knocked down a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to cut the deficit to 37-35 at intermission.
Jessica Adair joined Beck — who finished with 18 points — on the all-tournament squad. Sarah-Jo Lawrence also finished in double figures for GW with 16 points.
The Lady Topper return home on Tuesday (Nov. 27) to host Morehead State at 7 p.m. (CDT) at E.A. Diddle Arena.