- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Kimberly Beck’s teammates provided more than enough help on a day the Atlantic 10 player of the year hardly had her best game.

Jessica Adair had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Antelia Parrish added 15 points and seven rebounds, leading sixth-seeded George Washington to a hard-fought 66-56 first-round win over No. 11 Auburn yesterday in the NCAA tournament.

Beck dished out seven assists but matched her season low with three points, shooting only 1-for-7 and missing all but one of her five 3-point tries.

“We were rushing everything in the first half, not doing what we do well,” Parrish said. “We settled down a lot in the second half.”

The Colonials (26-6) will play in the second round of the Greensboro Region tomorrow night at Maples Pavilion against No. 3 seed Cal, which beat 14th-seeded San Diego 77-60 in the second game.

Parrish made four 3-pointers and converted a key three-point play with 5:50 remaining after scoring on a fourth attempt in one sequence for the Colonials, who closed the regular season by winning 10 of 11 games.

“We stopped boxing out. That sequence right there might have been the ballgame,” Auburn coach Nell Fortner said. “That probably got to us mentally. That was a tough series for us.”

The Colonials had to squeak out another close game with Auburn to stay alive in the postseason. GW also beat the Tigers 68-66 on the road Jan. 3 on Lisa Steele’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left.

GW, in its sixth straight NCAA tournament, reached the third round last season and has its mind on another deep run this March.

“We were really jumpy in the first half — maybe a little nervous,” GW coach Joe McKeown said. “But we pulled ourselves together in the second half. The last six or seven minutes we played very well and hurt them on the glass.”

Once DeWanna Bonner found her shooting touch, Auburn (20-12), got back in the game after a slow start. Bonner finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while three others scored 10 points for the Tigers: Trevesha Jackson, Alli Smalley and Sherell Hobbs.

Smalley, who has filled in admirably since Whitney Boddie became academically ineligible in December, shot 4-for-16 and Bonner 6-for-18 as the Tigers hit just 35 percent from the field but stayed in the game until late with aggressive rebounding on the offensive glass.

Bonner was held scoreless over the final 13:24 and said afterward that playing all 40 minutes and the physical style of play was “wearing on me.”

“We locked down our defense well in the second half,” Allen said. “Bonner had five or six inches on me, so I had to sit on her a lot. I figured that if I don’t let her catch the ball, she can’t score.”

The Tigers, in their first NCAA tournament since losing to eventual national champion Connecticut on the Huskies’ home floor in the second round in 2004, grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the second half to 12 by GW.

Sarah-Jo Lawrence and Whitney Allen each scored 11 points for GW.

Auburn, led by the lanky 6-foot-4 Bonner’s 18.5 points and 10.2 rebounds, was slow getting going, and Bonner began the game 1-for-5. But the Tigers rallied when the Colonials switched to a zone defense in the first half, and GW called a timeout and briefly went back to its aggressive man defense after Jackson’s basket tied the game at 22-22 with 6:34 left in the half.

The Tigers played the final 2½ months without Boddie, who became academically ineligible in late December after leading her team to a 10-1 start.

GW went 6:05 without a field goal late in the first half before Beck’s 3 beat the halftime buzzer and pulled her team within 31-29 at the break.

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