Charles Nailen/The Hoya After going 2-0 in preseason, the Hoyas open tonight against Colgate.

The Georgetown women’s basketball team opens its regular season against the Colgate Raiders tonight at 7 p.m. at McDonough Gymnasium after having won two preseason exhibition games.

The Hoyas easily won their first contest of the school year against Zala Volan of Hungary on Nov. 4, defeating the team 80-55. Junior forward Rebekkah Brunson, named to the preseason Big East second team, led the team, scoring 15 points and recording a double-double.

“In the first game we put a lot of pieces together. When you’re up 33 points, you’re doing a good job,” Head Coach Patrick Knapp said.

Three days later the team faced the Melbourne Tigers of Australia, defeating them 77-58 in an inconsistent game plagued by fouls and miscues. While the Tigers had a 46.2 percent field-goal percentage, shot 28.6 percent from the three-point line and turned over the ball 17 times, the Hoyas also displayed some offensive talent as four starters scored in double digits.

“The second game was not an indicator of where we were, and we’ve tried the last two weeks to improve our quality of play,” Knapp said.

Knapp has worked hard to motivate the team members and help them concentrate on fundamentals. He believes that many players need to stay more relaxed and collected on the court.

“Our zone offense, our passing game and our motion offense need to get better. Defensively, we’ve focused on zoning people, denying the basketball and pressuring the defense without picking up fouls,” Knapp said.

While Knapp can count on Brunson and sophomore guard Mary Lisicky, who led the team in scoring against Melbourne with 17 points, to shine this coming season, a number of players have had the chance to stand out in the first two games and show themselves as potential leaders. Of the two freshmen, forward Carmen Bruce has already established herself as a starter.

“Bruce has had some really great moments and has been really aggressive offensively. I still believe that junior Sarah Jenkins will be a major factor on this team, both on offense and on defense and senior Nok Duany has also played well,” Knapp said. “There are many other players, though, who we need to get settled in. They need to play more calmly and more relaxed. If they focus on the job at hand, they can all really, really help us.”

While the Hoyas routed Colgate 83-69 in their second game last year, a game in which both Lisicky and senior forward Duany both had double-digit point totals, Knapp and the team refuse to use that as any indication of success tonight, assessing the current Colgate team as a different challenge.

The Raiders finished last season with a 14-17 record and placed a surprising fourth in the Patriot League. They have high expectations in their league this season and hope to have their first winning season in fifteen years. Junior guard Malissa Burke, named to the all-Patriot League second team, will lead the team and has a strong contingent of young and talented players to support her. The team is composed of six sophomores, two of whom made the league All-Rookie team last year, and three freshmen.

In another development for the women’s basketball team, two pre-frosh signed letters of intent to play on next year’s team. The two players, 5-11 guard Kate Carlin from Ambler, Pa. and 6-2 forward Amber Dorsey from Hampton, Va., represent very different styles of play and will strengthen the team in distinct ways, according to Knapp.

“Kate fits in well with the team; she’s a good shooter and will allow the team to spread out a lot,” Knapp said. “Amber is very different; she plays near the basket and could be a 1,000 point player for this team.”

After tonight’s game, the Hoyas will play George Mason University, a team they also defeated early in last year’s season, on Tuesday. They then travel to Fairfield, Conn. to participate in the Coca-Cola Charity Classic over Thanksgiving break.

Knapp said he anticipates that tonight’s game – and the entire season – will rest on the ability of the team to step up behind team leaders Brunson and Lisicky. While the team has worked on better shooting, stronger rebounding and more-composed on-court play, it comes down to the individuals to add the depth and talent to propel the team forward, he added.

“A number of players show talent and many could be starters. If you want to see where this team will go, you’ll have to look at the third, fourth and fifth players and see what they’re doing.”

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