WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | GU Falls to Big East Rival
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 00:01
After a low-scoring first half, the Georgetown women’s basketball team could not overcome a 17-point deficit to beat Villanova (15-5, 5-4 Big East). The Hoyas (7-14, 1-8 Big East) struggled to score against the Wildcats’ league-best defense and ultimately fell by a final of 59-49.
Georgetown’s slow start on offense was the difference maker in the game according to Head Coach Jim Lewis. The Hoyas shot a measly 27 percent on field goals in the first half, scoring only 6-of-22 attempts. Additionally, Georgetown only shot 52 percent from the free throw line on the game.
“During the course of a season, a team typically plays right at their average or better or a little below,” Lewis said. “Today, we were far below our average in terms of the offensive end of the floor. There are no excuses.”
Villanova had their own offensive troubles early on. With 7:21 remaining in the first half, the Wildcats led just 13-12. Georgetown kept Villanova shooting from outside the arc where the Wildcats made only six of their 27 attempts. Villanova soon began to pull away though, going on a 20-3 run to end the half. The Hoyas went into the locker room facing a 32-15 deficit.
Villanova currently possesses the top scoring defense in the Big East, holding opponents to an average of 56.8 points per game - a full five points lower than the next closest team, Creighton.
“In the first half we gave up too many second opportunities, so they were hitting a lot of threes off of offensive rebounds and kick-outs,” senior co-captain and forward Andrea White said. “We’re letting a lot of people getting wide open looks, so we need to improve on that.”
Georgetown’s offense, however, started the second half strong, going on an 11-2 run in the first five minutes. The Hoyas continued to outscore the Wildcats 34-27 in the second half. Unfortunately, it was not enough and the Hoyas trailed for the remainder of the game.
“We knew our offense would come, it just didn’t come and sustain itself as long as it could have,” Lewis said.
Freshman center Natalie Butler played strong in the post, racking up 19 points and 14 rebounds for the game. It was her 17th double-double of the season. White led the team with 15 rebounds, finishing with eight points. Freshman forward Faith Woodard was the second leading scorer with 11 points on the game.
“Natalie played a phenomenal game. She was nine-for-10, so she was big for us,” White said.
The Hoyas had a strong defensive performance against the formidable Wildcat offense. The Blue and Gray were able to, for the most part, control Villanova’s three-point shooting. In the entire second half, the Wildcats scored only two points in the paint.
Despite the loss, the Hoyas did outrebound the Wildcats. Georgetown grabbed an impressive 60 rebounds while Villanova managed just 31. Georgetown did not give up, and Lewis recognized the team’s effort.
“I will always acknowledge effort, and we had tremendous effort tonight,” Lewis said. “We held them to 28 percent field goal shooting. They made some timely shots, they got to the line too much, and they live with a lot of three-pointers, which obviously can add up. I give them credit, but I really don’t want anyone to lose sight of the quality that we are defensively.”
The Hoyas will now go back to practice to prepare for Marquette. Georgetown will have to win eight of its nine remaining regular season games to get over .500 before the Big East Tournament.
“Tomorrow we’ll start improving on the areas that we were deficient in today. And then the next day, we’ll start improving on how our game plan versus Marquette will make us a better team,” Lewis said. “It’s always a combination of things the next day. It’s just like a game; it’s the next play. How do you get better? Well, you get better the next play.”
The Hoyas will travel to Milwaukee to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles (13-6, 4-4 Big East) on Saturday. Marquette is currently on a 2-game losing streak following losses to Creighton and DePaul. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.