RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Brianna Cummings, the Atlantic 10 Tournament’s most outstanding player, scored 17 points to help No. 5 seed George Washington win its seventh A-10 title with a 65-49 victory over sixth-seeded Saint Joseph’s on Sunday for an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
George Washington (19-13) was picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll, even after back-to-back regular season and tournament titles in 2015 and `16. But second-year coach Jennifer Rizzotti guided Cummings, Kelli Prange and Taylor Campbell to the senior’s third conference tournament championship in the past four years. Rizzotti, a national champion at UConn, will return to the NCAA’s for the first time since 2011 when she was at the helm at Hartford.
Prange, the A-10’s sixth woman of the year, added 14 points in 23 minutes for George Washington. Kelsi Mahoney scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from distance, the last on a baseline shot to extend GW’s lead to 55-41. Freshman Neila Luma chipped in 10 points.
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The tournament was wide open after the No. 2 seed Duquesne and third-seeded Fordham lost in the quarterfinals on Friday and top-seeded Dayton fell on Saturday to GW.
Amanda Fioravanti led Saint Joseph’s (18-14) with 12 points. Chelsea Woods, averaging a team-high 15.6 points per game, was limited with four fouls and finished with eight points. The Hawks competed in their 12th A-10 title game – but first since 2013.
George Washington scored on six straight possessions late in the third quarter to begin to pull away for a 49-37 lead. Cummings started it with two free throws, Mahoney sank a 3-pointer from the wing, and Luma spun in the lane for a fast-break layup and then sank a turnaround jumper. Cummings banked in a shot and Chyna Latimer capped it with an up-and-under move.
George Washington made all 12 of its free throws, compared to Saint Joseph’s three attempts, and scored 18 points off 16 Hawk turnovers.