One second remained on the clock, and the Hoyas needed three points for the tie. A desperation heave from sophomore guard Rubylee Wright missed, and for the second time in as many games, the Georgetown women’s basketball team came out on the wrong end of a three-point game.
It was a tough way to end the opening contest in the BTI Classic tournament, which was hosted by Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. At that moment, it would have been hard to imagine that the Hoyas would defeat their nationally ranked hosts on their own court just two days later.
The Hoyas opened up the weekend tournament against the Dayton Flyers on Friday, losing 62-59. Senior forward Jaleesa Butler led the team with her first double-double of the season, scoring 16 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking two shots in the loss. The Hoyas stayed with the Flyers throughout the first half, heading to the locker room down just 42-39. Although the Blue and Gray held a two-point lead with under two minutes left in the game after a jumper by sophomore forward Latia Magee, that three-point discrepancy at the half would ultimately prove to be the difference in the game.
agee’s shot would be the last ball Dayton allowed through the net, as the Flyers went on a five-point game-ending run to precede Wright’s last-second miss, as the Hoyas shot 0-of-3 – all of them threes – from the field in the final two minutes.
The three-point loss was appropriate, as Georgetown shot just 16.7 percent from three-point range, while their defense allowed Dayton to shoot 41.8 percent from the floor. Magee finished with 12 points and three assists, while junior guard Monica McNutt totaled 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals. The Hoyas out-rebounded the Flyers 42-40 in the loss.
Without the typical day off, the tournament forced the Blue and Gray into another match against the Seattle University Redhawks (0-4). A swarming Hoya defense made an early statement, allowing the Redhawks just 16 points in the first half – the fewest they’ve allowed in one half all season – as the Hoyas went into the break leading 41-16.
Then Georgetown simply seemed to fall asleep. The Blue and Gray watched their 25-point lead dwindle to seven, as Seattle had control of the ball at the four-minute mark, trailing just 59-52. A steal and subsequent score by sophomore forward Adria Crawford stemmed the bleeding and put Georgetown up 61-52, en route to a not-so-easy 68-54 win. In the second half, the Hoyas were outscored 38-27, due in part to 14 turnovers and allowing Seattle to shoot 61 percent from the floor.
“At that point, we were making a lot of turnovers, and we just didn’t play defense,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We gave up too many points. Seattle did hit some shots, but our turning the ball over really sparked them. It showed we were extending too far; we weren’t disciplined.”
Freshman Ta’Shuana “Sugar” Rodgers led the team with 15 points, all of them scored from three-point range, while tallying six rebounds and four assists. Wright added 10, while dishing five assists and swiping four steals, as the Hoyas dominated the boards, tallying 43 rebounds to the Redhawks’ 22.
“The problem was that the rebounds we gave up came at crucial times,” Williams-Flournoy said with a chuckle. “They were all offensive rebounds. We would play great defense for 28 seconds, and then the other team would miss a shot, and two seconds later they would score off the glass.”
Their tough schedule and number of games on short rest seemed to be getting to the Hoyas, but the victory over the Redhawks propelled them into a match against host Purdue, ranked No. 23 in the nation as of last week by the ESPN/USA Today poll.
“Of course they were tired, especially after the second game [of the tournament], but playing Purdue, a team ranked 23rd in the nation – it was enough to get them ready,” Williams-Flournoy said of her players.
Still, Purdue posed quite a challenge. The Hoyas hadn’t beaten a ranked team in 20 months, and on Sunday they had to do it playing their fourth game in five days on Purdue’s home court.
It meant nothing. Georgetown whipped the Boilermakers 55-39, and once again, the defense shined, causing 27 turnovers, harrying the hosts into 20 percent shooting from three-point range and allowing just 14 points in the second half to the Big Ten power.
“I’m so proud of them. They went back to the basics and got us to make a run, using our defense,”
Williams-Flournoy said of the Hoyas after their first win over a nationally ranked opponent since they toppled the Syracuse Orange 78-71 on Feb. 2, 2008.
“It was definitely the defense. Their tenacity, their aggressiveness – they really bought into the defense, and once they saw that they could cause Purdue to turn the ball over, they did a great job.”
In the second half alone, Georgetown caused 16 turnovers, didn’t allow a single three-pointer and allowed just two offensive rebounds to Purdue. Rodgers led the team once again with 21 points on 7-16 shooting. Butler notched 19 points and seven rebounds, five of them off the offensive glass. Magee recorded seven points, seven rebounds and four steals, and senior guard Shanice Fuller finished with eight assists and three steals. For the third straight game, Georgetown won the rebounding battle, 36-35.
The Hoyas finished second in the tournament, and Butler and Rodgers were both named to the all-tournament team.
“We need to just stay disciplined and follow the rules the way the rules are supposed to be followed,” Williams-Flournoy said on her team’s future play.
Georgetown’s six-game road trip will end on Wednesday, at Central Michigan, with tip-off at noon. “