In an overtime thriller on Wednesday, the Georgetown women’s basketball team lost a 24-point, second-half lead but managed to regroup and pull off a 77-74 win in overtime against Big East rival Syracuse. Junior guard Lesley Walker connected on two clutch three-pointers with less than a minute in the extra session to finish off the Orangemen.

After going 3-3 during winter break, they came into McDonough looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Georgetown looked sharp defensively in the first half, limiting Syracuse’s leading scorer Beth Record to just two points, on one of nine shooting. The Hoyas forced the Orangemen to commit 10 turnovers, while limiting their field goal percentage to a paltry 24 percent at the half. eanwhile, the Hoyas complemented senior guard Katie Smrcka-Duffy’s nine first-half points, with impressive play from their frontcourt. Freshman center Rebekkah Brunson continued her imposing rookie campaign with seven first-half points, rebounds and four steals, while senior forward Nathalie Bourdereau chipped in another seven points and six boards.

“Nathalie came off the bench and gave us the boost we needed,” Head Coach Pat Knapp said.

With a 37-22 lead at the half, Georgetown continued to break down Syracuse’s defense as it went on a 15-4 run in the first eight minutes of the second half. Smrcka-Duffy hit three shots from downtown during the stretch, helping the Hoyas take their biggest lead, 52-28 at the 12:10 mark. At that point, everything began to fall apart.

The Orangemen scored 18 unanswered points in less than five minutes and turned any dreams of a blowout win into a nightmare for the Hoyas. Georgetown could not buy a bucket as it went zero for seven from the field. When it finally scored on a Brunson free throw, the 24-point lead had dwindled down to seven, at 53-46 with 7:03 left in the half. A minute later, the Hoyas got their first field goal in more than eight minutes on a layup from sophomore Shawntese Charles. But the Orangemen refused to stop and capitalized on the Hoyas’ 10 missed free throws in the second half.

“During the stretch of the game, if we made our free throws, they don’t come back,” Knapp said. “Our terrible free-throw shooting was a major factor in the game.”

After the layup from Charles, Georgetown experienced another scoring drought, lasting four minutes. A three-pointer from Record, who came on strong in the second half to finish the game with 14 points and 15 boards, cut the Hoyas’ lead to one at 55-54 with 2:30 left. Beth Moore then put in two free throws to give Syracuse its first lead, at 56-55 since the beginning of the first, when it led 4-2.

A big three-point play from Charles, however gave the Hoyas back a very shaky two-point lead. Walker added a layup and a free throw to make the game 61-56 with 47 seconds left. Just when Georgetown seemed to have the game wrapped up, poor foul shooting came back to haunt the team.

Walker could not ice the game, missing four of five foul shots in the last 24 seconds of the half, and Syracuse took advantage. oore hit a layup and two free throws to make the game 62-60. Then with three seconds left, center Leigh Aziz took a pass from Julie cBride and hit the game-tying layup.

“Sustaining intensity throughout the game is essential,” Knapp said. “At the least in the foul-shooting area and in our ball-handling, you had people playing scared. I was disappointed with our rebounding, and we didn’t stop [Syracuse’s] penetration.”

In the five-minute extra session, the Orangemen jumped out of the gates first, extending their lead to 72-67 with just 2:34 left. The 5’4″ McBride drained two three-pointers to help give her team the five-point lead. The Hoyas answered back with two free throws from Bourdereau and another by Brunson to cut the lead to two. McBride extended the lead to four with two free throws, setting up Walker’s heroics.

Down 74-70 with 41 seconds left, Walker came up with the first of her two bombs, cutting the lead to one with 31 seconds left. After a Brunson steal on Syracuse’s ensuing possession, Georgetown took a timeout with 18 seconds on the clock. After the inbound to Walker, the Hoyas had trouble getting open. Failing to find an open teammate, Walker took matters into her own hands and launched the game-winner from downtown with 10 seconds left.

Georgetown (10-6 overall, 2-3 Big East) was led by Smrcka-Duffy’s 19 points. Walker finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, while Bourdereau had a career-high 11 rebounds. Brunson also contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds, her fifth double-double of the season.

During winter break, the Hoyas won three games, highlighted by Knapp’s 200th career win, which came against Boston College. However, Georgetown came up short against Connecticut, Villanova and Seton Hall, all Big East teams.

Related Links

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