The women’s basketball team may be at its best point so far this season, but matchups against No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 10 Connecticut will require even better efforts if the Hoyas have any hopes of competing.

“People say we almost have to do something magical,” Head Coach Terri Willaims-Flournoy said. “The team’s attitude is that they’re playing well right now. They’ve got to play within themselves; there’s nothing new and no magic trick.”

Georgetown (9-12, 4-6) has gathered momentum in a three-game streak after crushing Providence by 57 points two weeks ago. A strong offense helped overcome Syracuse and West Virginia, aided by the senior guard Mary Lisicky’s return to form. The team has built up its confidence and made itself more competitive within the conference, but the two upcoming powerhouses have the ability to test anyone’s self-assurance.

“Having three wins doesn’t make everything perfect. We will still need to take care of things out there, like putting two strong halves together,” Williams-Flournoy said.

Notre Dame (20-3, 9-2) has emerged as the frontrunner in the Big East with consistently sharp play that has kept the team inside the top 10 for most of the season. Last week the team was the first in the conference to hit the 20-win mark.

Despite a wobbly performance against the Providence Friars (1-20, 0-10) on Wednesday that saw them trailing for much of the game against the conference bottom dwellers, the Fighting Irish adjusted in the second half to run away with the game. Notre Dame kept its opponent to 57 points and has only let another team score 70 points twice this season.

A look at Notre Dame’s schedule shows an inspiring list of victories over the likes of Purdue, No. 10 Connecticut, No. 11 Rutgers, No. 19 Boston College and an early-season win over No. 2 Ohio State. Momentum will also be on the side of the Fighting Irish, a team in the midst of an eight-game winning streak.

The biggest factor for Notre Dame is senior forward Jacqueline Batteast, who has paced her team with an average of 17.9 points per game. Batteast will be difficult for Georgetown to contain, considering its difficulties controlling strong-bodied players in the paint. She will also have the help of senior center Theresa Borton inside while junior guard Megan Duffy (11.2 points per game) will anchor their perimeter game.

Connecticut (16-5, 9-1) has posted five losses this season, but four of those defeats were at the hands of other teams in the Top 10. While the Huskies may not be the force they once were, the team still boasts one of the most talented ensembles in the country. The team lacks some leadership, having lost the It Girl of women’s basketball, Diana Taurasi, to graduation.

The team has the talented junior guard Ann Strother in control on the court, but she lacks the presence of Taurasi and has less help backing her up in the wings. She has support at the post in junior forward Barbara Turner and freshman forward Charde Houston, the team’s biggest revelation. Last year the Huskies fell behind to the Hoyas in a sluggish first half before picking up the pace in the second half for an easy win.

Both teams have taken down Boston College recently, including the Huskies’ 35-point reaming of the Eagles this past week. As Boston College filleted Georgetown 78-29 earlier this year, the Hoyas should be glad that they have picked up their offense since that low point.

“The three wins have given a lot more confidence so far,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We didn’t have that going in against Boston College or Rutgers, and since we weren’t winning, we didn’t think we could win.”

Georgetown can also take heart knowing that last year it topped Notre Dame 76-73 for the first Hoya win in 16 years in the rivalry.

“The conference is very competitive if you look at the standings right now. We’ve moved toward the middle of the pack, and now there’s only a win or two from eighth to fourth or eleventh to sixth,” Williams-Flournoy said

Georgetown faces off against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., tomorrow at 2 p.m. The Hoyas play the Huskies in McDonough Gymnasium on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in what will probably be the most highly-attended home game this season.

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