After securing a double-digit victory against Delaware in the opening round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, Georgetown women’s basketball found itself in a position it had not been in since 2009: the second round of the WNIT.

The Duquesne Dukes were next on the docket and were set to provide another serious test for the Hoyas, after the Dukes finished the regular season with a 24-7 record. However, as they have done repeatedly throughout the season, the Hoyas did not back down from the challenge. Yet after battling with the Dukes for four quarters, they ultimately fell 69-66.

AMANDA VAN ORDER/THE HOYA
Junior guard Dionna White scored 33 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Georgetown’s 69-66 loss to Duquesne on Monday. White went 11-13 at the free throw line.

Georgetown (16-16, 9-9 Big East) came out of the gate strong and held a five-point lead after the opening 10 minutes. The start was largely because of the play of junior guard Dionna White, who posted 11 of the team’s 20 points in the first quarter.

Yet it was during the second period that Duquesne (25-7, 13-3 Atlantic 10) managed to take control, as it significantly outshot Georgetown from the field, leading by as many as 11 points before heading into the locker room up by five.

At the beginning of the second half, the game was shaping into a more closely contested matchup, as the two teams went back and forth throughout the third, both desperately trying to pull away. Georgetown continued to chip away at the Duquesne lead and found itself up two nearly halfway through the third after senior forward Cynthia Petke buried a three.

The Dukes, however, gathered themselves quickly after this sudden change in momentum and recaptured their lead after a 9-3 run to end the quarter.

The final 10 minutes played out similarly to the third quarter, as the Hoyas kept applying pressure only to have Duquesne answer with timely buckets. The Hoyas kept knocking on the door during this final period, continuing to fight down to the last possession.

Down three, the Hoyas found themselves with the ball inbounding with just four seconds remaining. After White was unable to get a shot off against the Duquesne defense, she found Petke in the corner for a chance to tie. Petke’s three and the Hoyas’ efforts ultimately fell short, after it appeared the shot may have been partially blocked on its way to the rim.

Head Coach James Howard talked about the final play and how it was drawn up in the huddle.

“It was for Dionna, but they switched it, and then [Petke] was the next one, so we were trying to set a double screen for Dionna to come across and try to get that look there, and [Petke] was the next option coming off,” Howard said. “We knew that you would try to just to get Dionna or [Petke] a look at the basket, and if they slipped up then [freshman forward Tatiana Thompson] was on the floor.”

While some might isolate this final possession as the play that may have changed the result, Howard saw the outcome as a culmination of key plays made in crunch time.

“They hit key shots at key times; that putback with about one or two seconds left on the shot clock was huge and was one thing we talked about, that right now, everyone has to crash the boards; you have to play through the clock,” Howard said. “You got to be very disciplined in your defense, so it was crucial moments down the stretch that they hit key shots.”

White’s determination in the fourth quarter stood out, as she relentlessly attacked the basket and notched 12 points. White posted 33 points and 11 rebounds in the contest and kept her team in the game throughout. Petke’s play also helped ignite the Hoyas offensively and defensively, as she capped off her senior season with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Although it was a disappointing loss to end its season, Georgetown was able to advance further in the postseason than it had in almost a decade and secured wins against perennial Big East powers DePaul and Marquette in conference play. This result allows for optimism for Howard’s second season next fall.

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