WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | Hoyas Storm Back to Down Butler
Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 01:01
After a slow start threatened to extend a six-game losing streak, the Georgetown University women’s basketball team (7-9, 1-3 Big East) rallied to defeat Butler University (7-9, 2-3 Big East) 85-79 Jan. 11. Despite trailing by as many as 19 points in the first half, the Hoyas responded with a second half surge that boosted the Hoyas to a win.
“This is a big win,” senior forward and captain Andrea White said. “It definitely gave our team confidence. We were coming off five straight losses, so we just had to get that first win so things would get easier for us and we could start our run.”
With the win — the team’s first since Dec. 10 and first in Big East play — the Hoyas snapped a six-game losing skid. The losing streak included four straight losses by two points, three of which were overtime games.
After Georgetown jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the game, Butler responded with a 19-3 run, with 15 of the points coming on five consecutive three-pointers. The Bulldogs hit nine of their first 12 attempts from long range, and by halftime, 27 of their 40 points had come on three-pointers.
At the onset of the game, Butler University controlled the potent Georgetown offense. The Bulldogs double-teamed freshman center Natalie Butler and forced her to be a facilitator in the offense. A centerpiece of the Georgetown offensive game, Butler was held scoreless in the first half.
But toward the end of the first half, the Blue and Gray were able to break down the Bulldogs’ defense by establishing the post game, and at intermission their lead was just 10. At the half, White led all scorers with 15 points.
Georgetown continued to rely on post play in the second half. Natalie Butler responded with a 15-point second half, and ultimately led the team with 15 rebounds and 5 assists. Her 12th double-double of the season earned her Big East Rookie of the Week, her sixth of the year.
“[Natalie] definitely picked it up on defense. I think that sparked her offense, and then she just started concentrating making her shots. It was game time,” sophomore guard Katie McCormick said.
In the second half, McCormick shot a perfect 4-of-4 from three, including the shot that gave Georgetown its first lead with two minutes to play. The sophomore guard finished with 18 points.
“Katie really stepped up today with leadership, but that started in practice, where we’ve had challenging situations,” Interim Head Coach Jim Lewis said. “You could just feel the emotion from the players, that they want to do so well, and they are doing well, but they haven’t been necessarily rewarded in victory. So Katie really stood out not only in the game tonight but in practice.”
White, however, was the driving force of the Georgetown offense. The co-captain led the team with 25 points and added 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season. Fifteen of White’s 25 points came in the first 15 minutes of the first half when the Hoyas struggled to stay competitive.
“[White] is one of the most unassuming, outstanding players I’ve ever been around,” Lewis said. “Those steals down the stretch, significant. She’s smart, that’s the main thing. When I think Andrea, I think smart.”
Georgetown’s second half success stemmed from its ability to slow down the potent Butler University offense. The Hoyas forced 7 second-half turnovers that enabled the team to get out on transition.
“Our intensity wasn’t there [in the first half],” White said. “I think we had to pick it up on defense definitely, so once our defense picked up our offense came easy for us.”
Georgetown pulled away from Butler University and establish a six-point lead in the final minutes of the second half. The Hoyas finished the game having only led for the first three and last two minutes of the game.
After a series of close losses put a dark stamp on the opening of conference play, the win gives the Hoyas much-needed confidence.
“They have worked through this storm,” Lewis said of the team’s recent losing streak. “We have a challenging conference that really plays similarly in most cases and different than we do. We’re not a three-point shooting team, per se, that’s not our strength. But what we’re good at, when we’re good, we’re pretty good.”
The Hoyas will look to build upon the established momentum when they travel to Providence (5-10, 0-4 Big East) for their next game on Jan. 15. The Friars are owners of a five-game losing streak and most recently suffered a 97-65 embarrassment at the hands of Creighton. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.