Georgetown Holds Off Seton Hall

By Michael Medici Hoya Staff Writer

Coming off an emotionally draining double-overtime defeat to Rutgers on Wednesday night, the Georgetown women’s basketball team had to regroup against Seton Hall on Saturday. Although the team looked sloppy at times, with careless passing and fouls, the Hoyas won an important Big East game, 78-73.

The Hoyas are 10-8 overall, 4-6 in conference action.

Led once again by sophomore guard Katie Smrcka-Duffy, who picked up 25 points and seven rebounds, the Hoyas were ahead for most of the game, but let the Pirates go on several runs with lackadaisical stretches.

“I was afraid of a let-down after the Rutgers game,” Head Coach Patrick Knapp said three days after the Hoyas overcame a 21-0 deficit against Rutgers only to lose to the Scarlet Knights, 67-64, in double overtime. “I thought we were in a very dangerous situation.”

Knapp complemented the play of his seniors in the win, and rightly so, as Melba Chambers and Sylita Thomas each scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds apiece. Senior Katie Heindel, who scored just four, gave good minutes on defense down the stretch.

“Our seniors stepped up and made senior plays,” Knapp said.

The Hoyas came out looking strong, and got off to a quick six-point lead, but the Pirates made it clear from the beginning that they just would not go away. Using some quick hands, Seton Hall was able to interfere in many Georgetown passing lanes. Their efforts paid off, as they stole the ball 15 times from the Hoyas.

“I was very upset with our one-on-one passing,” Knapp said.

Junior Yolanda Rouse and sophomore Star Fuller carried the Pirates the entire game, and provided a formidable inside-outside threat. Fuller, who scored 17 points, gave the Pirates their first lead of the game with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half.

Georgetown sophomore Dani Ilic, who has seen limited playing time this year, came off the bench to hit a big three following Fuller’s bucket, giving the lead right back to the Hoyas. Sophomore Nathalie Bourdereau came off the bench and played solidly down low, scoring nine points in 15 minutes.

Seton Hall called a timeout with 6:40 left in the first half, and came out of it without a point for more than two minutes as, in that time, the Hoyas increased their lead to 33-24.

That stretch proved to be crucial. For the rest of the half, the Pirates went on a 10-2 run, including a Rouse pull-up eight-footer at the buzzer, to go into the break with the Hoyas leading, 35-34.

The Hoyas ran to open the second half, and once again saw their lead increased to eight when Bourdereau converted a breakaway layup with 12:54 remaining in the game. Seton Hall just wouldn’t go away, though, as junior guard Erica Ashmon came off the bench to hit a layup and a three-pointer within a minute, cutting the lead to 57-55 with 7:25 remaining. Toronda Hayes then nailed her first three-point attempt of the game to give Seton Hall a 60-59 lead with 6:30 remaining in the game.

Although Smrcka-Duffy hit a big three, two straight Lesley Walker turnovers led to two straight Pirate field goals, and the Hoyas were still down one, 67-66 with 3:57 remaining. Smrcka-Duffy subsequently nailed two free throws and Chambers buried a streaking eight-foot jumper in the lane to give the Hoyas the lead for good at 72-68.

The Hoyas hit their free throws from that point on, and went on for the victory.

Rouse, who has averaged 8.9 points per game for Seton Hall, scored 20 points and had five assists and four steals.

“We let Rouse drive down the lane too much,” Knapp said, “Overall, they scored 21 more points than they average.”

The Hoyas now face a tough Miami team, who is 10-7 on the year, including a 13-point win over Boston College, who beat No. 2 Connecticut Saturday. The Hurricanes will most definitely be looking to take out some aggression on the Hoyas, seeing as they are coming off a loss at Villanova this past Saturday.

“They are going to get in our face. It’s just a matter of keeping our poise, but we have won down there three times, and we can do it again,” Knapp said.

Georgetown will be in Miami on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. before travelling to Syracuse on Jan. 30.


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