George Washington Colonials, 11/25/05
George Washington University, based in Washington, D.C., opened the season ranked #23 by Street & Smith’s 2005-2006 Preseason College Yearbook. Coach Joe McKeown’s squad was picked to finish third in the Atlantic 10 conference, with senior Jessica Simmonds and sophomore Kimberly Beck as its leaders. Both players were named to the preseason First Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference team.
Coach McKeown (pronounced Mc-Q-Ann) is currently in his 17th season with George Washington, compiling more than 360 total wins and more than 210 conference wins. He has led the program to more than 66% of its total wins during his tenure. He has won numerous Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honors, and his squads regularly take part in the NCAA basketball tournament.
The 2004-2005 team finished 23-9, including 13-3 in conference play, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to North Carolina 71-47. Simmonds and Beck ranked second and third in scoring on that squad at 14.4 and 8.0 points per game, respectively. Simmonds led the team in rebounding (7.1 per game) and blocks (37), while Beck paced the team in assists (164) and steals (86) in her inaugural collegiate campaign. Both players averaged more than 30 minutes per game.
The Colonials opened the 2005-2006 season with a 66-53 home court loss to Virginia. Beck led the team with 13 points – shooting three of five from 3-point range – and six assists, while fellow guard Sarah-Jo Lawrence joined her as the only other Colonial in double figures with 10 points. Simmonds finished with nine points and seven rebounds. Virginia, which led throughout the contest, won the battle of points in the paint 28-24, points off turnovers 20-15 and second-chance points, 17-11.
As a whole, the Colonials shot less than 39% from the field, 33% from the free throw line and almost 50% from 3-point range. The team nearly shot as many 3-pointers (11) as free throws (12) against the Cavaliers, who out-rebounded them 43-34. Along with her six assists, Beck finished with eight turnovers in her 39 minutes of play. Six other Colonials reached double figures in minutes played.
Of the 14 players on George Washington’s roster, Simmonds is the lone senior. She is joined by three juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen. Seven Colonials top 6’ tall, while three others are 5’11”.