With a stifling defensive display and stellar shooting, the Hoyas are on the verge of the deepest postseason run in program history.

Georgetown (19-13, 7-9 Big East) began the weekend by forcing 18 first-half turnovers and surrendering its second-lowest point total of the season in a 73-45 NIT first-round victory over Winthrop University (16-16, 9-7 Big South) at McDonough Gymnasium Friday night. The Hoyas then shot 51.0 percent from the field in a 72-61 second-round win at Wake Forest (19-12, 5-9 ACC) Sunday evening.

The farthest the Hoyas have ever advanced in postseason play was when they reached the Sweet Sixteen in 1993, the team’s only NCAA tournament appearance. Since then, Georgetown has won only two NIT games, twice reaching the second round.

“Any time you can advance in the postseason, it’s a great accomplishment,” Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said Monday afternoon. “[The players] are really excited right now, and it’s showing on the court.”

Georgetown’s aggressive defense grabbed eight steals and forced 18 turnovers to help build a 35-25 halftime lead against Winthrop. Although the Hoyas only forced nine turnovers after the break, they limited the Eagles to 29.2 percent shooting in the second half. The closest Winthrop got in the second half was within eight with 12:25 to go, at which point Georgetown reeled off a 24-2 run that put the game out of reach and ensured that Williams-Flournoy’s postseason debut was a good one.

“It’s really exciting, especially since it’s the first time that our coach has been to postseason play,” freshman forward Latia Magee said of Williams-Flournoy’s postseason debut.

agee had a terrific postseason debut herself, shooting 7-of-14 from the field and 7-for-11 from the charity stripe to lead all scorers with 21 points. Sophomore guard-forward Monica McNutt scored 10 of her 17 points in the first half, and junior forward Jaleesa Butler added 16. Senior guard Karee Houlette’s 11 points gave the Hoyas four scorers in double-figures.

any of those points were the product of fast breaks, as Georgetown repeatedly beat Winthrop down the floor en route to 24 points off of turnovers. All of the transition layups helped the Hoyas shoot 47.4 percent, including 56.0 percent in the second half.

“I think they definitely played into our hands; we got out into transition, and once we start making layups everything else starts to fall for us,” McNutt said following Friday’s victory. “We just play so well when we get out into transition.”

Winthrop Head Coach Bud Childers agreed.

“The Big East style of play is a lot different than Big South style of the play, and I think our team had a little bit of a tough time in the middle part of each half adjusting to that,” Childers said. “Speed was a decided advantage for Georgetown tonight.”

On Sunday against Wake Forest, the shots kept falling for Georgetown, with McNutt leading the way, shooting 9-for-11 from the floor and 5-of-6 from three-point range for 23 points. Butler and Magee both reached double digits again, contributing 17 and 11 points, respectively.

The three scored all 12 points in a decisive 12-2 run that opened the second half. Tied at 34 at halftime, Georgetown scored on its first five possessions of the second half to take a 46-36 lead.

From then on it was all about the Georgetown defense. The Demon Deacons kept pace offensively in the first half with a 42.4-percent mark from the field despite 14 turnovers, in large part because the Hoyas committed 15 turnovers themselves. But in the second half, the Hoyas continued to hound the Demon Deacons defensively, forcing them into a 25 percent second-half performance.

With six minutes to go, Wake Forest had scored only 15 points in the second half and was shooting 1-for-11 from behind the arc, as the Hoyas defensive pressure prevented them from getting many good looks after halftime.

Up next for Georgetown is Richmond (24-9, 9-5 A-10), who advanced with a 59-57 victory over James Madison. A victory would put the Hoyas into the NIT quarterfinals, and Williams-Flournoy spoke confidently of her team’s chances.

“[The players] are playing with a lot of intensity,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We’re playing some good basketball right now.”

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at McDonough Gymnasium.

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