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A sense of belonging

GW proves it deserves place among the nation's elite

Posted: Friday January 19, 2007 4:44PM; Updated: Friday January 19, 2007 5:07PM
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People are talking about the George Washington women's basketball team, but coach Joe McKeown hopes his players aren't listening.

He doesn't plan on telling the Colonials that they're on the verge of entering the Top 10. George Washington has moved all the way up to No. 11 in our Power Rankings and in the AP Poll.

"We don't even talk about those things," McKeown said. "This team's too young. When you start watching those things, it becomes a distraction, and we want them to focus."

Some may argue this team is too young to even be in its current position. After all, George Washington has just two seniors on its roster. And yet, here the Colonials are, off to their best start in school history at 15-2.

GW's leading scorer is a sophomore, Jessica Adair, who averages 12.7 points. She's also the team's top rebounder with 6.7 a game. With what McKeown calls the "poor man's Courtney and Ashley Paris," the Colonials have size few teams in the Atlantic 10 can match. Adair checks in at 6-4. Her twin sister Jazmine is 6-3.

But this year's team doesn't just rely on that height inside. In Kimberly Beck, George Washington has a point guard McKeown wouldn't trade for anyone.

"She just won't let you lose some nights," said McKeown, who picked up his 400th career victory last weekend. "Whatever you need her to do, if you just need her to run your team and score two points, that's what she'll do. If you need her to score 16, that's what she'll do."

In fact, no one player is putting up monster numbers, but the Colonials are getting contributions from everyone on the floor. Sarah-Jo Lawrence, Kenan Cole and Beck are all clustered together on the stat sheet, averaging at least 11.7 points.

That balance and a stingy defense has made a difference. The Colonials are holding opponents to less than 60 points a game. Only Tennessee, Maryland and TCU have put up more than 70 against them. But only the Lady Vols and Terrapins have come up on the winning side.

George Washington held another SEC power, Georgia, to just 54 points. Though GW has knocked off ranked teams in each of the past five seasons, the December win against then No. 11 Georgia was the biggest in some time.

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