Charles Nailen/The Hoya Sophomore guard Mary Lisicky charges past her opponents in the Hoyas’ third consecutive victory.

Georgetown needed a strong offensive run in overtime to pull out an 82-75 victory against the Orangewomen of Syracuse University on Wednesday, a crucial win in a tough two-game road trip.

The contest took place in Manley Field House in Syracuse, N.Y., with 463 in attendance to see if a struggling Syracuse could snap a three-game losing streak against its Big East adversary. The first half did not hold much promise for the Orangewomen as their opponents surged ahead early.

While both teams’ offenses dragged early on, the home team mounted a slim lead, staying ahead of the visiting Hoyas by a few points. After eight minutes of play, Georgetown freshman forward Carmen Bruce nailed a three-pointer to put the Hoyas up 14-12, their first lead of the night. Solid shooting, including an eight-point run by sophomore guard Sarah Jenkins, soon distanced the team by 14 points from Syracuse, 28-14.

In the last seven minutes of the half, the Hoyas slowed down on offense while the home team struck back. The Orangewomen dominated possession, firing off three-pointers and jumpers with some success. Bruce helped keep Georgetown on top with some clutch shots and accounted for the last seven team points of the half. While Syracuse ended the half a little hotter on offense, the Hoyas still held the lead, 35-26.

Georgetown certainly looked better on paper than Syracuse did in the first half, sinking 6 of 11 from beyond the three-point line compared with only 1-for-9 on the Syracuse side. The Hoyas only committed five personal fouls and allowed one free throw for the half while they picked up five points from the foul line. Their shooting percentage, 44.4 percent, edged the Orangewomen’s 42.9 percent.

Bruce led the Hoyas’ offense with 10 points while junior forward Rebekkah Brunson neared another double-double, sinking three baskets and pulling down seven boards. Junior guard Shannon Perry buoyed Syracuse’s offense with eight points and five rebounds while junior forward April Jean contributed seven points.

When the teams returned to the court, Georgetown floundered as the home team looked to turn the tide and control the second half. Within two minutes hot-shooting Syracuse had shaved the lead down to only two points, and its opponents scrambled. A timeout could not help the Hoyas regroup; two minutes later Syracuse junior guard Julie McBride found the basket from the three-point line and stole away the lead for the Orangewomen, 38-37. The home team looked to run away with the game, capitalizing on Georgetown’s multiple turnovers and compiling a seven-point lead.

The Hoyas refused to surrender, and two three-pointers from Jenkins and two points from the foul line from senior forward Zsuzsanna Horvath shortened the gap to one point with nine minutes left on the clock. Syracuse tried to get away, but two jumpers from Brunson tied up the game with 7:30 left on the clock.

The lead bounced back and forth until senior guard Nok Duany hit a layup with 1:19 left to tie the game for the sixth time, 68-68. Georgetown tried to decrease the pressure using a timeout with 44 seconds left and looked strong afterwards, culminating with a basket from Duany. Perry threatened to tie it up when she went to the line for the Orangewomen, but could only convert on one free throw. With 20 seconds left, sophomore guard Mary Lisicky had the chance to put away the game with two free throws, but split the two for a tenuous 71-69 Hoya lead.

The home team gained control of the ball and moved it down the court, where McBride missed a three-pointer. Perry scored on the rebound, to even things up with 10 seconds to go. Lisicky tried a last-second miracle shot, but Georgetown would have to face overtime.

In this tale of two halves, Syracuse battled back from the outside, hitting the three-pointers and showing poise from the foul line. While the home team hit a strong 48.1 percent field goal average, their competitors nearly matched them with a 48 percent average. The Orangewomen sunk five from three-point range compared with the Hoyas’ three. One telling factor came from the foul line, where Syracuse garnered 14 of its points and Georgetown acquired only nine. The visitors doubled their personal fouls from five to 10 in the second half, while both teams combined for 15 turnovers.

McBride opened up the scoring one minute into the five-minute overtime with a layup. The Hoyas answered with a three from Bruce that would give the team the lead. The visiting team proceeded to control the period while the opposition unraveled, missing three-pointers and free throws. Fouls hurt Syracuse as well; six of Georgetown’s 11 points came from the stripe, where the team showed great consistency. By the end, the overtime played much like the first half and the Hoyas had little trouble putting away their hosts, 82-75.

Georgetown raises its record to 11-2 for the season and 2-1 in the Big East. This marks their best start since the 1979-80 season, when they won their first 13 games. Syracuse, meanwhile, sinks further with a 5-10 total record and a 0-4 showing in the conference, an inauspicious start.

Brunson came through as usual, notching a team-high 25 points and bringing down 15 rebounds for her eighth double-double. Jenkins stepped up for a career-high 18 points, and Duany contributed 15 points and seven boards. Bruce held her own as well, coming up with 13 points, three three-pointers and six assists. Perry came through for the Orangewomen, recording a double-double with a game-leading 28 points and 15 rebounds. Sophomore guard Rochelle Coleman pitched in 21 points and McBride, the team’s leading scorer finished with 12 points and eight assists.

Georgetown journeys to Storrs, Conn., for a showdown on Saturday with the still-undefeated University of Connecticut (14-0, 3-0), a formidable opponent ranked third in the AP poll and second in the USA Today/ESPN poll. Last year’s national champion, the UConn Huskies are also currently riding a 54-game winning streak, tying a women’s basketball record with Louisiana Tech, and surely hoping to set a new record against the Hoyas.

The Hoyas will have to work hard on defense to contain players like junior guard/forward Diana Taurasi, an All-American and the only returning starter from last year. She averages over 20 point per game this season. The team will also need strong defense in the paint to prevent freshman forward/center Willnett Crockett and forward/guard Barbara Turner from controlling the boards as they did in their last game against Seton Hall.

To Georgetown’s credit it has played a strong season so far, dropping only two close games to Indiana and Miami, both challenging opponents. The Syracuse victory demonstrates that they can win road games under high pressure, and the Big East features such high caliber teams that even UConn must work for a victory. The Huskies will be hungry for the chance to set a new NCAA record tomorrow, but Georgetown at its best will make them earn it.

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