WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | Hoyas Snap 7-Game Slide
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 00:02
After a hard-fought battle at McDonough Arena, the Georgetown women’s basketball team (8-16, 2-10 Big East) ended its seven-game losing streak with a win over Xavier (8-16, 3-9 Big East). Georgetown rallied from a one-point halftime deficit to come back to win the game 66-58. It was the Hoyas’ second Big East win of the year.
The last time the teams met, the Musketeers won 85-68. The Hoyas recently implemented a 2-3 zone defense to utilize their inside players better, and this new defense enabled the Hoyas to grab the victory, according to Head Coach Jim Lewis.
“The difference tonight was our defense, without a doubt,” Lewis said. “Just to say our 2-3 matchup was some kind of elixir for us winning tonight, no. The overall defense was the key. Our press, we turned them over, we made them take time off the clock, then we rebounded the ball [well].”
Georgetown also had an increased energy in Saturday’s game, according to senior forward and co-captain Andrea White.
“Our defense was a lot better. We had a lot more energy coming out,” White said. “We’re just starting to get into the two-three defense. I think we did a great job with it tonight, and hopefully when we learn the rotation better and work on it more, we’ll be great at it.”
After the Musketeers grabbed the first basket of the game, the Hoyas went on a 15-2 run, which forced Xavier Head Coach Brian Neal to call a timeout. The Musketeers responded after the timeout and cut into the Hoyas’ lead, and with 5:52 to go in the half, the Hoyas were clinging to a five-point lead. With 3:17 left in the half, Xavier freshman forward Madison Blackwell hit a three to tie the game at 24, and another three with 1:24 left gave Xavier its first lead since the opening minutes. Finally, aided by another three at the buzzer, the Musketeers took a 30-29 lead into the locker room.
In the first half, Georgetown’s strong defense held the Musketeers’ shooting to 38.7 percent from the field. Despite its struggles from the field, though, Xavier hit six first-half threes which enabled it to capture the halftime lead. Despite out-rebounding Xavier 27-15, Georgetown continued to struggle from behind the arc, missing all six attempts.
The Hoyas opened the second half on a 9-3 run to regain the lead, a lead they would hold for the remainder of the game. The Musketeers kept the score close, however, staying within four points of the Hoyas until a layup by freshman center Natalie Butler with 10:25 left put the game out of reach. The Hoyas secured the victory by making its free throws down the stretch.
In addition to a strong defensive performance, the Hoyas also dominated the Musketeers inside. Georgetown scored 44 of its 66 points in the paint and had 19 second-chance points.
Meanwhile, Xavier only managed 26 points in the paint and just three second-chance points.
“We rebounded the ball extremely well,” Lewis said. “We had a plus-24 rebounding advantage. We had 23 offensive rebounds; that’s two games’ worth.”
White and Butler recorded their 10th and 18th double-doubles of the season, respectively. White led the team with 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while Butler had 16 points and 17 rebounds. For their efforts, White was named Big East Player of the Week and Butler was named Big East Freshman of the Week. Senior guard and co-captain Samisha Powell led the team with eight assists.
The strong performances will be key to the team’s confidence, according to White.
“I think it definitely gives us confidence moving forward,” White said. “I hope we can get more wins just based off this game.”
Georgetown’s three seniors were instrumental in the team’s win, according to Lewis.
“Andrea White and Samisha Powell and [senior guard] Jasmine Motton, our three seniors, have been really tremendous leaders,” Lewis said. “I’m not saying it’s over, because we have to do what we did tonight again, and then again, and again and again … but I like our chances based on how we performed tonight.”
The team will have a quick turnaround, taking on Seton Hall on Wednesday at McDonough Arena. Seton Hall has the third highest-scoring offense in the Big East, and in order to win, Georgetown must continue to execute both offensively and defensively, according to Lewis.
“We have to be ourselves, and we have to adjust to the competition,” Lewis said. “There can be a blueprint and a game plan, but the application of that is really where the rubber hits the road.”
The Hoyas will continue to focus on defense, according to White.
“We’re just going to continue to work hard in practice, continue to work on that defense,” White said. “It can always be better.”
Georgetown will look to win its second straight in the Big East for the first time this season against Seton Hall. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. Wednesday.