D.C bragging rights on the line in Howard v George Washington showdown

Courtesy of Ed Hill, Jr., retired Howard University Sports Information Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. – There will be a lot at stake when the Howard University women’s basketball team hosts George Washington University in a non-conference tilt at Burr Gymnasium on Monday night. The game will tip off at 7 pm and will be live streamed on http://www.hubison.com.

GW (1-1) comes into the game with a 65-50 home win over Maryland Eastern Shore on Thursday following an opening 85-59 road loss to the University of Virginia to start the season.

Howard (1-1) opened the season with a win over LaSalle University and then traveled to Memphis, TN where they were overwhelmed by the Memphis Tigers.

“Although we are an experienced team, sometimes it takes experiences like we had in Memphis to get a point across,” said Howard Head Coach Ty Grace. “You get a win over a LaSalle and then you play a team with perhaps a little more athleticism and you don’t pay attention to the scouting report. We did not shoot the ball well and did not defend or rebound well. On the other hand, Memphis had lost at home to Columbia in their opener and they came out hungry and focused.  They played very well and we did not match them.”

There will be many similarities to that scenario in this game.  It is early in the season so both teams will be looking to find their identity. It is important to note that this will be the 23rd meeting between the two and the series is tied at 11-11.

Local bragging rights will be on the line. Notes Grace, “When you have a game like this, you are looking to win because you want to be known as the top team in the city. It is for bragging rights so there is a lot at stake.”

As if there were some added incentive beyond that, this game certainly has it.

Between the two teams, there are several local players on their rosters.  Howard’s Iyanna Warren (Accokeek, MD), Kaiya Creek (Seat Pleasant, MD), Aniyah Wilson (Accokeek, MD), Marissa Steel (Laurel, MD) hail all from the DMV. For the Colonials, Taylor Webster (Washington, DC), Aurea Gingis (Alexandria, VA) Caia Lewis (Upper Marlboro, MD) and Mayowa Taiwo (Hanover, MD) have roots in the area.

But what could be biggest storyline in all this is GW graduate guard Jayla Thornton. Thornton will be returning to the Burr for the first time since she left Howard as the all-time leading three-point shooter in MEAC and school history. The Newark, NJ native left Howard after being named the MEAC Player of the Year and enrolled at Syracuse. Things did not work out well for the HU graduate, so she took her shooting skills to the Colonials, where she will be playing for the first year.

Back to the game, the Bison will have to get back to the formula of floor leadership from Warren, a preseason all-MEAC selection along with her backcourt shooter, Destiny Howell, also a first team preseason selection. In the victory over LaSalle, the duo led the way, combining for 35 points. They will also have to do a better job of defending the 3-point line, something Coach Grace says that they failed to do in the loss at Memphis, and they will have to rebound the basketball.

“We have to make shots,” said Grace. “We did not do that against Memphis.”

As for the key to the GW matchup, she says, “We lost to them in a close game (62-53) last year at their place so we have to play better.”

In the loss at Memphis, Brooklynn Fort-Davis was the only Bison to score in double figures. She finished with 12. She and Krislyn Marsh are strong rebounders for the Bison, but they will also have to provide scoring support.

The Colonials are led by Mia Lakstigala (13.5 ppg), Essence Brown (9.0, 5.0 rpg), Webster (5.5 rpg) and Thornton (7.0 ppg).

Following this game, Howard gets on the road where they will play five straight before returning to the Burr to take on Elon on December 2 at 2 pm1

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