Backed by a game-high 21 points from senior Alyssa Monaghan, the eighth seeded Saint Joseph's women's basketball team topped ninth seed George Washington, 61-49, in the First Round of the Atlantic 10 Championship on Tuesday afternoon at Hagan Arena. With the victory, the Hawks advance to face top seed VCU at 11 a.m. on Friday in a Quarterfinal matchup at Duquesne's A.J. Palumbo Center.
In a back-and-forth first half that featured nine lead changes and four ties, the Hawks used a 5-1 run to end the period to take a 26-22 edge into the second half.
Ahead 30-26 early in the third, Saint Joseph's pushed its lead to 13, 44-31, on a pair of free throws by Lula Roig with 3:16 remaining in the quarter.
The Colonials (10-20) quickly flipped the momentum to their side as they ended the period on a 7-0 run to cut SJU's lead to 44-38.
The Hawks (12-18) responded right away in the final quarter though as they used a 9-1 run to open a 53-39 on a jumper by Monaghan at the 7:04 mark.
George Washington would get no closer than 12 points from there as the Hawks improved to 49-33 all-time in A-10 Championship games.
For the game, Saint Joseph's shot 38.9 percent from the floor (21-54), 40 percent from three-point range (6-15) and 72.2 percent from the foul line (13-18).
Individually, Roig added 14 points, four rebounds and three assists, while senior Whisper Fisher finished with 10 points, six rebounds and three steals. Monaghan, who went 7-13 from the floor, including 4-6 from three-point range, set a new program record for career minutes played as she passed Kim Foley's mark of 4,052 and heads into Friday with 4,079 minutes played.
At the other end, Neila Luma led three Colonials in double figures with 18 points and 12 rebounds. As a team, George Washington shot 38 percent overall (19-50), 40 percent from three-point range (4-10) and 53.8 percent from the foul line (7-13).
The Quarterfinals through Finals of the A-10 Championship will be held at Duquesne's A.J. Palumbo Center starting Friday and running through Sunday, March 10.
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