Graphic by Charles Nailen/The Hoya /The Hoya Mary Lisicky scored a career high 27 points in Georgetown’s loss to Pittsburgh.

The Georgetown women’s basketball team showed up on the court at McDonough Gymnasium last night. That is about all that can be said for them as they failed to make much of an impression in a one-sided 91-72 loss at the hands of the University of Pittsburgh. The loss jeopardizes the Hoyas’ postseason chances as they fall to 2-4 in the very competitive Big East conference; more alarmingly, the loss demonstrates fatigue or languor among the team’s ranks as the team slides further in a four-game slump.

“We didn’t shoot free throws well, we didn’t fight for the ball on the boards . we stunk. That’s being honest,” Head Coach Patrick Knapp said. “We need a two-by-four over the head and to understand that every little thing counts.”

Pittsburgh opened the game with an aggressive offense and within the first six minutes had mounted an 18-5 lead. Aided with their quickness, the visiting team ran circles around the flat-footed Hoyas. They shot well from the perimeter and managed to work the ball inside for some easy layups. Panther senior forward Mandy Wittenmeyer dominated the paint, boxing out Georgetown while it unsuccessfully tried to develop a way to contain her.

“The biggest thing that happened early in the game was [Wittenmeyer] totally schooled us. She took it to our face and nobody played her tough,” Knapp said.

For a four-minute period the Hoyas launched an attack, looking to shake off the slow start and take this game seriously. Senior forward Nok Duany’s appearance on the court helped energize Georgetown after she hit some clutch shots. With a little less than 10 minutes on the clock in the first half, the Hoyas had cut their opponents’ lead to seven points, 20-13.

Georgetown proceeded to unravel again, making costly fouls. The Panthers showed focus at the stripe, nailing seven shots in a 14-3 run that helped smother the home team. Down 34-16, the Hoyas looked more lost and befuddled against this team than against higher-caliber teams such as Connecticut or Boston College. Hot shooting from the Pittsburgh guards helped sink Georgetown deeper into the mire in the final minutes while sophomore guard Mary Lisicky and junior forward Rebekkah Brunson showed some spark while nailing some shots to close out the half.

The home team followed an irate Coach Knapp into the locker room while the scoreboard hinted at another stale performance from the Hoyas. Pittsburgh had outscored them 2-to-1 as the visiting team led 44-22.

The Panthers unsurprisingly posted better numbers in the first half, shooting 41.9 percent while the Hoyas only managed to hit one-third of their shots. The biggest differences lay behind the arc, where Pittsburgh sank five baskets to its opponent’s one, and from the foul line, where the visiting team raked in 13 of its points. Georgetown, meanwhile, succeeded on 3-of-9 attempts from the line. Poor rebounding has plagued Georgetown for the past few games, and the trend continued last night as Pittsburgh pulled down 23 rebounds in the first half as compared with their hosts’ 18.

Beyond that, the Panther guards had little trouble overcoming the Hoya defense. Senior guard Laine Selwyn hit three treys and went 6-for-6 on free throws to accumulate 17 points for the half, while the two other starting guards combined for 14. Wittenmeyer played all-around solid, pulling down seven boards on top of her six points.

Georgetown’s players could hardly boast such statistics. Only three players found the basket in the first half. Lisicky led the team with eight points, followed by Brunson with seven points and four rebounds. Duany chipped in with seven points off the bench, the only other player to make much of an offensive contribution.

“We have a couple of key people who aren’t shooting the ball well for us. It then puts an extra premium on the other three spots to score, and I don’t think anybody showed up at those spots tonight,” Knapp said.

The early second half passed without Georgetown making a move to close the gap or Pittsburgh pulling farther away from the competition. Soon, though, the work of Selwyn or fellow senior guard Brooke Stewart allowed the Panthers to climb to a 32-point lead with 10:11 left in the game. As the Hoyas trailed 62-35, they were heading for their worst defeat of the season from an unranked team barely over .500, even more humbling than No. 2 Connecticut’s 72-49 thrashing.

The game progressed at the same pace until the last four minutes, which exploded in a burst of offensive activity as each team engaged in a shooting-free-for-all. The teams combined for a total of 37 points, or almost one-quarter of all the points scored in the game. Lisicky proved she knew where the basket was, but it was a little too late. While her string of five three-pointers displayed her renowned shooting skills from downtown, the scoring run only saved the team from a more humiliating defeat. When the clock ran out, Pittsburgh had a 19-point victory, 91-72, to celebrate, and Georgetown had a number of questions to answer.

“Transition defense was a factor, not getting a hand up on shooters was a factor, not posting up inside was a factor, and not shooting well was a factor,” Knapp said.

The Hoyas lackluster defending carried over to the second half, during which the Panthers shot 13-for-20, or 65.0 percent. While the hosts hit 15 field goals that half, they also took more shots and ended up with a 41.7 percent field goal average for the half. Overall Pittsburgh shot a strong 51.0 to its opponent’s 38.1 percent, which is comparable with Georgetown’s game average, around 42 percent. In an extremely physical game in which three players fouled out and the teams combined for a total of 48 fouls, the Panthers’ 31 points from free throws slew the Hoyas. As with the December loss to Indiana and the recent loss to Connecticut, the team certainly felt the devastation wreaked by its opponents from the foul line. Georgetown grabbed 17 points from the stripe, but the 14-point difference is telling.

“We also had a team tonight that flat out played more physically than we did, and we did not respond. The players have to get in there and smack somebody around – legally or illegally,” Knapp said. “If someone puts his forearm in my gut, I’m going to push him back and I’m going to get open.”

The team also provided little resistance to Pittsburgh’s guards; the three starting guards hit eight treys for the game. Selwyn led the team with 22 points, going 3-for-3 from the arc, while Stewart followed with 19 points and sophomore guard Amy Kunich grabbed 14 points and eight rebounds.

Lisicky stood out for the Hoyas with her career best, and the game high, 27 points. Her six three-pointers tied her own record. Still, 17 of the points come from her game-ending streak and outside of that the numbers do not impress.

“I think Mary would tell you it was too little, too late. She would be upset not banging those home earlier, though it’s a credit to her that she didn’t give up,” Knapp said.

Brunson barely missed her 11th double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds, but she barely hit more than 25 percent of her shots and missed some easy layups. Apart from those two, senior forwards Zsuzsanna Horvath and Duany, who are battling for the fifth starting position, both put up nine points in a little over 20 minutes each. Sophomore guard Sarah Jenkins, a regular starter, is suffering from a back injury and did not play.

“I think not having Sarah is a negative no matter what, but we have enough confident people that a game like this should not happen,” Knapp said.

Knapp said he would like to see his players rekindle their spark and step up their game if they hope to snap their losing streak on Saturday and make a stand in the Big East this season, and each player must dedicate herself to the game.

“Did I look like I had no fire tonight? It’s their question. Ask the Georgetown women’s basketball players where they get their fire.”

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