- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 17, 2006

On Friday morning, George Washington women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown, 50, attempted a finger roll during practice and promptly tore the patellar tendon in his right knee.

McKeown will undergo knee surgery tomorrow at George Washington University Hospital. Meanwhile, the 20th-ranked Colonials gave their coach a pre-surgery boost yesterday with a 62-51 victory over Southeastern Conference opponent Auburn at Smith Center.

McKeown refused to sit down during the game and coached his team while leaning on one crutch.

“I figured I couldn’t keep up with the game, officials, timeouts, and stuff [if I sat down], and I didn’t want to mess up,” he explained. “[The knee is] swollen like a grapefruit anyway — it can’t get any worse.”

Auburn (9-3) came in averaging a little more than 75 points a game, but the Colonials (9-2) held them to 24 points below that. GW forward Whitney Allen, from Woodbridge, Va., shut down Auburn’s 6-foot-4 scoring machine, DeWanna Bonner.

Bonner, who entered as the SEC’s fourth-leading scorer at 17.3 points a game, was held to just 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Allen gave away about five inches to Bonner but disrupted her rhythm, taking Auburn’s leading scorer out of the game.

“I just face-guarded her and tried not to let her touch the ball as much as possible,” said Allen, who yanked down a game-high 12 rebounds.

Auburn coach Nell Fortner believes Bonner still is maturing as a player.

“That’s something where Bonner has got to learn — you know, she’s a work in progress, even with the skill that she’s been blessed with,” Fortner said of her prize sophomore. “She has to learn how to embrace games that are of stature and George Washington is ranked and this is a game of stature. So I’m not so sure what George Washington did to her, although they are a very good defensive team, but DeWanna has a lot of abilities that she has to believe in and impart on the opponent.”

It was evident early that Auburn’s six-game winning streak was in jeopardy. The Colonials jumped out to a 22-5 lead, and at the 11:26 mark, the Tigers were shooting just 1-for-13 (7.7 percent). Meanwhile, GW hit seven of its first 11 shots.

Auburn mounted a furious rally to climb within one point twice in the second half, but the Colonials answered with huge shots down the stretch. The Tigers cut the deficit to 45-44 with 9:05 left, but Colonials shooting guard Sarah-Jo Lawrence (14 points) answered with a driving layup.

Auburn got within 50-49 with 5:59 left, but GW senior Kenan Cole hit a big 3-pointer from the right corner to put GW up by four. Cole, who led all scorers with 15 points, also made all four of her free throws in the final minute.

“With such a mature team, we just didn’t panic — it’s not like we haven’t seen a run before,” said GW point guard Kim Beck, who made four of seven 3-pointers and finished with 12 points.

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