Charles Nailen/The Hoya Junior guard Bethany LeSueur will play her first game as a Hoya after sitting out last year for transferring from Virginia.

Some teams start off the basketball season slowly, but not the Georgetown women’s team. The Hoyas enter the fray with a cross-town confrontation deep in the heart of Foggy Bottom as the team faces down the George Washington Colonials to open its season tonight at 7 p.m.

More lies at stake than just primacy in the Washington area; George Washington is a national contender, finishing last season ranked No. 25 and earning a spot in the NCAA tournament along with winning the Atlantic 10 title. They have won at least 20 games in 12 of the last 15 seasons and posted a 25-7 record last year, reaching the second round of the Big Dance before falling to Villanova. The Colonials will return four of the five starting players from the team, ensuring that team chemistry and the quality of play will both be strong from the start.

Last year Georgetown edged its rival at McDonough Gymnasium 70-65 in early January. The Hoyas at the time were riding high with a 7-1 record while the Colonials were struggling at 4-4, having dropped four consecutive contests. The two teams would eventually reverse trajectories as George Washington went on to win 21 of their last 23 games while Georgetown lost 13 of its last 20 matchups.

Despite struggling at the time, the Colonials made the game at cDonough an exciting affair. The Hoyas led for most of the first 39 minutes, but by the time one minute remained on the clock the score was tied up at 63-63. A three-pointer and a pair of free throws from then-sophomore guard Mary Lisicky helped Georgetown get the victory.

This year’s contest will likely be a close affair. Head coach Pat Knapp points to three key matchups within the two starting lineups. The first clash will take place down in the paint as Georgetown senior forward Rebekkah Brunson will match up with George Washington senior center Ugo Oha. The two are similar in height with Brunson standing at 6-3 and Oha at 6-4. Brunson lead the Big East in rebounds last year, averaging 10.7 per game and was named to the All-Big East First Team. Oha averaged 2.9 blocks per game, seventh in the nation last year and came up with 6.6 rebounds per game on average.

In the backcourt, Lisicky will have her hands full with graduate student guard/forward Cathy Joens. Joens, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year has great aim beyond the arc with a 43.3 three-point shooting average. Lisicky will bring her own accuracy from outside to match; the junior hit her mark 39.1 percent of the time last year and ranks fourth on the school list of most three-pointers with 144 in just two years. Both players are not only strong offensive players but will use their speed for wide coverage on defense.

Lisicky may not play for much of the game as she eases back into play after suffering an injury during the preseason. She is likely to start, as she did in the exhibition game, but may only stay on the court for part of the game depending on her condition.

The final big matchup will be between George Washington junior forward Anna Montanana, a former member of the Spanish National Team, and Georgetown sophomore guard/forward Carmen Bruce. While ontanana has a size advantage, standing at 6-1 to Bruce’s 5-11 frame, Bruce will look to make up for it with greater athleticism and her solid outside shooting skills. Both players can play down at the post or outside, giving both teams greater versatility.

With an even matchup both inside and outside between those three pairs of starters, the other team members will be the wildcards who will help lift one side over the other. On the Hoyas’ side, junior forward Varda Tamoulianis will have to maintain the high level of play she demonstrated against the Turkish National Team in the exhibition and will be key if Georgetown wants to control the post. The guards will also play an important role, with senior Sarah Jenkins, junior Bethany LeSueur and sophomore Leslie Tyburski all likely to see a number of minutes. Knapp has stressed that the lineup has the possibility to change often throughout the season with so many capable guards, but also notes the importance of the reserves to bring new energy onto the court midway through the game.

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