A shakeup in the starting lineup was the boost the Georgetown women’s basketball team needed as the Hoyas stopped a two game skid, winning 76-64 against Florida International last night in McDonough Gymnasium.

Senior guard Katie Smrcka-Duffy broke out of a recent shooting slump to lead the team with 25 points, while freshman forward Rebekkah Brunson added yet another double-double to her season.

After an uninspired 63-47 loss to Villanova at home last Wednesday, Head Coach Pat Knapp debuted a different starting lineup that featured senior guards Dani Ilic and Porshia Jones in place of junior guard Lesley Walker and sophomore forward Shawntese Charles.

“I like to be consistent with who I start, but some people take advantage of that,” Knapp said. “If you get quality minutes on a regular basis, you’re supposed to come through.”

In early first half action, both teams fought evenly as they stayed within three points of each other. Both Smrcka-Duffy and Brunson combined for 16 of Georgetown’s first 18 points of the game, with 12 minutes remaining in the half and the score knotted at 18.

The Golden Panthers scored five unanswered points to gain the edge at the 10:45 mark, but the Hoyas gradually shaved the deficit until sophomore forward Santia Jackson’s layup gave them a 26-25 lead with 6:45 left.

Georgetown finished the half with a 14-4 run keyed by Jones’ play, as she hit a jumper and came up with two steals which led to fast break layups.

“Porshia did exactly what she was supposed to do, and she gave us a spark,” Knapp said.

Smrcka-Duffy and Brunson led the team with 13 first-half points each, while Walker had eight off the bench. More importantly, the Hoyas shot 49 percent from the field for the half, far better than the sub-35 percent field goal shooting they had been averaging in their past two games.

For the first seven minutes of the second half, Georgetown kept the game under control, permitting Florida International to come only as close as eight points. After Smrcka-Duffy hit consecutive layups to extend the lead to 58-46, the Golden Panthers roared back.

Mandy Shafer hit two big buckets, including a three to cut the lead down to five, and then Gergana Slavtcheva hit one from downtown to close the gap to two. After Jones missed a jumper on the ensuing possession, Cormisha Cotton put back a missed Shafer three-pointer to tie the game, and then made another layup to give the Panthers the edge.

Walker answered back with a jumper which ended Georgetown’s four-minute scoring drought, and ultimately stopped Florida International’s momentum. The Panthers managed only four free throws for the rest of the game as they went on a cold streak and missed their last 11 shots. Meanwhile, the Hoyas capitalized on their opponents’ shooting woes and used smart, conservative offense down the stretch to pull away with the victory. Smrcka-Duffy hit five of six free throws in the last 51 seconds to ice the game.

Smrcka-Duffy rebounded from a horrendous 1 of 11 shooting performance against Villanova, and shot 9 of 18 from the field.

“I was just more active than in past games and all of that helps my offense,” Smrcka-Duffy said.

Brunson had an impressive 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Walker had 17 points including a perfect 7 of 7 from the free throw line.

Georgetown (14-9, 5-6 Big East) next plays at Providence on Wednesday, the first of a concluding five-game stretch of Big East opponents, which includes No. 1 Notre Dame.

“As long as our team hustles and plays with intensity, we’ll win the majority of those games,” Knapp said.

“There’s not much preparation to do against these teams,” Smrcka-Duffy added. “We have to be ready for each game and we’ve got to play our game and our style.”

Related Links

 Women’s Basketball Page

 Women’s Basketball Schedule

 Women’s Basketball Roster

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