After back-to-back losing seasons under former Head Coaches Keith Brown and Jim Lewis, the Georgetown women’s basketball team looked to find a long-term solution to fill its coaching void. Enter former Hoyas Assistant Coach Natasha Adair.
Georgetown hired Adair from the College of Charleston as the ninth head coach of the Georgetown women’s basketball program. As a team with no seniors, the Hoyas struggled after Adair’s return to the Hilltop. After winning two of its first three games, the team only managed two more wins over the rest of the season, ending with a 4-27 overall record and a 2-16 conference record, last in the Big East.
“Just adjusting to a new system. That’s the hardest thing you can ask any team to do, especially when it is a lot of upperclassmen,” senior forward Logan Battle said. “You’re adjusting to the way a coach plays people, the way a coach does different setups, stuff like that. Definitely the coaching system itself is the hardest to get used to.”
Adair said she has pinpointed the issues that contributed to a poor first year and is looking to make the necessary adjustments this upcoming season. She describes discipline as the main issue that plagued the team last season and something the Hoyas are most focused on improving.
“The thing we talk about is just discipline,” Adair said. “That’s kind of our word. … It’s just more about discipline in every area. You know, the offensive efficiency, the defensive accountability. We just want to be the team that’s disciplined.”
On defense, the Hoyas allowed 73.4 points per game, which ranked them 22nd worst in the nation among 343 Division I teams.
“I felt like our Achilles heel was … just getting that defensive stop when we needed it.” Adair said. “If you come in practice right now, probably over half of practice is defense. We want to be that team in the league that keeps the opponent under their average. We want to be that team that really takes pride in defense.”
On the offensive end, the Hoyas fared better. The offense averaged 63.2 points per game, which was around the national average. Although Georgetown put points on the board last season, Adair still feels that adjustments must be made.
According to Adair, last year’s offense was more set-driven. This year, the team will use a motion system designed to keep the offense moving.
“It’s more of a motion [offense],” Adair said. “This will just keep the movement of the offense going, and it will actually keep the defense kind of on-guard.”
Adair is also focused on pushing her players both on and off the court.
“She’s not taking a break, we just grind every day,” senior forward Ki-Ke Rafiu said. “She’s a grinder, and she wants people that grind on her team. But she’s great — she doesn’t want us to take a break in class, just keep pushing hard on the court and just keep grinding and pushing hard.”
The team’s biggest advantage this season is experience. Last year’s team did not have any seniors on the roster. This year’s roster, however, includes five seniors, four juniors and three sophomores. The Hoyas will return all of their primary starters from last season.
With no players graduating and a returning coach, the team may gain something it lost a few seasons ago: stability. When Terri Williams-Flournoy left as head coach of the women’s team in 2012, the Hoyas lost that stability, and in the past three seasons, it has shown.
According to Adair, the key to future success is not to dwell on the past, but rather to look at the positives in the future.
“I think there are so many positives in front of us, and with even this senior class and how we are going to transition outward for them,” Adair said. “I want to send my seniors out on a winning note, whatever that is. I don’t want to put a number on it. But I want them to leave here as winners … and even more excited to come back.”
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