Throughout the season, Georgetown has struggled to keep pace with its opponents in the first half, putting up lengthy scoring droughts while watching the competition build double-digit leads. Tuesday night at Seton Hall, Georgetown (12-12, 2-9 Big East) seemed to have kicked its bad habit with a stellar first 20 minutes. But the Hoyas couldn’t sustain the momentum long, managing a mere seven points in the final 6:43 while Seton Hall (14-8, 6-5) dropped 19 in the short stretch to escape with a 71-67 win at Walsh Gymnasium.

“We played with great defensive intensity, and we were able to consistently make shots,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said of the team’s near-perfect first half.

The Hoyas came out of the gate slow, letting the Pirates build a four-point lead. They found their rhythm with eight minutes left, going on a 22-10 run to end the half and taking a 39-27 lead into the locker room. It was a good sign for Georgetown, which has been flawless at closing out teams this season, winning all seven of its games when leading at halftime.

Three Hoyas had 10 points in the first half, including freshman guard Shanice Fuller. Fuller has averaged 5.5 points per game this season and as a point guard shoots only .319 from the field and .167 from three-point range. But Fuller had her best game of the year against the Pirates, scoring 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Sophomore center Katrina Wheeler and junior forward Kieraah arlow had 12 points and combined for 10-of-15 shooting.

Despite its offensive efficiency, Georgetown let Seton Hall sneak back into the game during the second half by failing to win the war beneath the bucket. The Pirates had their way under the glass in the second half, outrebounding the Hoyas 21-14, including 10 offensive rebounds.

“We didn’t come out with the same defensive intensity,” Williams-Flournoy said. “[We] gave them too many second-chance opportunities by not hitting the defensive board hard enough.”

The Pirates had a balanced rebounding effort, with sophomore forward Noetisha Womack grabbing eight, and junior guard Eka uskosiej and senior forward Monique Blake snatching six each.

Nine of the Hoyas’ 26 rebounds came from Wheeler, and four were team rebounds, leaving only 13 boards among the remaining eight players who saw game action.

Just as Marlow’s spectacular game against South Florida was neutralized by an equally stunning performance from the Bulls’ Jessica Dickson, Fuller’s effort was offset by uskosiej’s clutch showing down the stretch.

The junior from Poland scored 23 points and matched Fuller in both assists, with three, and turnovers, with five.

While the Hoyas dictated the pace of the first half with pressure defense, the second half was a whole other story.

Seton Hall tied the game in 3:23 on a 12-0 run, and neither team would take more than a two-possession lead from there on out.

Two quick three-pointers by Muskosiej and freshman forward Nicole Emery gave the Pirates a five-point lead with two minutes to play, 64-59.

The Hoyas fouled frantically in a desperate game of catch-up, but the Pirates hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the come-from-behind win.

Georgetown sits at 2-9 in the conference and will have a tough time making the Big East tournament after the loss. St. John’s (7-14, 3-7) is precariously holding on to the 12th and final tournament slot. With games remaining against No.23 Marquette (19-4, 7-3) Notre Dame (14-8, 5-4) and Pittsburgh (18-5, 6-4), three teams likely to make the NCAA tournament, Georgetown will most likely have to beat Syracuse (8-15, 2-8) and win at Providence (12-11, 2-8) to earn a trip to Hartford, Conn., for the championships.

The squad tips off tomorrow at noon against Marquette in cDonough. The Golden Eagles have lost their last two games to Connecticut and Rutgers and have only one big win in conference play, a 76-59 win over Cincinnati. The rest of the arquette’s Big East wins have come by six points or less, including squeaking by Providence 79-77 and Villanova 76-70.

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