Charles Nailen/The Hoya Junior guard Bethany LeSeuer scored 14 points in her first game as a Hoya in the team’s 67-62 win over GW.

The George Washington University women’s basketball Head Coach Joe McKeown sat slumped in a chair last Friday night, shaken and disappointed at his team’s loss to Georgetown, 67-62, in both teams’ season opener.

“I guess they bring out the worst in us,” he said.

Georgetown has now advanced its winning streak against its cross-town nemesis to three games in as many years. As George Washington, ranked No. 25 in the nation last week, has been the dominant program in the District in recent years, it is all the more impressive that the underdogs can consistently knock off the favorites. Last Friday the Hoyas were helped out by senior forward Rebekkah Brunson, who dominated the glass, pulling down a career-high 19 rebounds. She also clinched the victory with a crafty play in the game’s final seconds.

“I feel disappointed for our fans,” McKeown said about the opening night crowd at the Charles E. Smith Center. “They did see an exciting game, though.”

Despite the win, Georgetown appeared for long stretches of the first half as if it would go quietly into the night as George Washington opened up its lead behind the sharp shooting of lead scorer graduate student guard Cathy Joens.

The contest opened up slowly as scoring did not start until a minute and a half had passed. The teams stayed close through the first eight minutes with the score tied at 13-13 with 11:40 left on the clock. The Colonials began to pick up the pace, however, and dominated the court for the next eight minutes. The Hoyas reached their low point with four minutes left in the half when they fell behind by 12, 32-20.

Georgetown soon snapped out of its bout of malaise and fought its way back into the game. The team began to communicate more effectively on the court, and this led to scoring chances as four different players sank layups and jump shots to close the gap. With 15 seconds left, junior guard Mary Lisicky drained a three-pointer in order to bring the Hoyas to within three, 36-33, when the half ended. George Washington expected to run its guest off the court, but when the teams headed to the locker rooms the momentum had shifted and the game was near even.

“We weren’t running our offense before. The last three or four possessions of the half, we ran our offense and were under control. People got open,” Head Coach Pat Knapp said. “When we were organized and running our stuff, we had the better offense.”

Despite lagging behind the Colonials for most of the half, the Hoyas still managed to shoot a respectable 45.2 percent, going 14-for-31 on the floor, compared with their hosts 48.4 percent. Brunson led the team with a near double-double performance with eight rebounds and 11 points.

Back on the court for the second half, George Washington tried to rebuild its lead, outpacing the Hoyas by eight points, 44-36, after five minutes. A few minutes later a pair of three-pointers from Lisicky brought Georgetown back into the game. Dominance on the boards helped the Hoyas get some crucial second chance shots, and with 10:46 left in the game, Georgetown freshman guard Kate Carlin aced a clutch jump shot to tie the game at 50-50.

From there on out, the Hoyas held the lead despite numerous attempts by the Colonials to steal it.

“We played better defense,” Knapp said about the second half turnaround. “We made stops, we got in the mix, meaning guards rotating into the paint and getting a body on people and we rebounded.”

The game came to an exciting conclusion when, with 14 seconds left and up by two, Georgetown came back from a timeout to throw in the ball. Lisicky tossed the ball over the head of a defender right into the arms of Brunson, who sprinted down the open court and sank a layup. Outdone by its neighbors, George Washington capitulated, giving Georgetown a 67-62 win.

“Rebecca Lobo beat us on the same play in 1993, and I never forgot it. We practiced it the other day,” Knapp said.

While Brunson was held to only three points in the second half by a tough defense, she still ended up with 15 points and 19 rebounds. Her rebounding accounted for almost half of the Hoyas’ 43 rebounds; despite lacking size, the visiting team nabbed 10 more rebounds than its host. Besides Brunson, Lisicky also stepped up in a big way. Her five baskets from beyond the three-point arc helped her reach a team-high 17 points for the game.

“The two things that we said we didn’t want to have happen was Brunson getting to the offensive glass and Lisicky shooting threes,” McKeown said. “Lisicky made five threes and Brunson had nine offensive rebounds.”

Junior guard Bethany LeSueur also contributed 14 points while Carlin, in her debut with the team, came up with seven, including several shots that helped bring the team back in the game.

While the team opened last year with a victory, this year’s matchup was much more challenging and may show that the Hoyas are ready to face a challenge in what will be the team’s most demanding season yet.

“I look forward to this game every year,” Brunson said. “It gets you started at the beginning of the season.”

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