WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | New Starting Five Challenges St. John’s
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 02:01
Although the Georgetown women’s basketball team dropped the game and extended its losing streak against St. John’s (14-5, 7-1 Big East), the Hoyas (7-13, 1-7 Big East) were able to walk away with a competitive, resilient performance against the Big East’s top team. The Red Storm, who currently sit atop the Big East standings, narrowly defeated the Hoyas 66-63.
After losing its last four games, as well as 10 of its last 11 games, Georgetown belied expectations during this matchup between the Big East’s first and last place teams. The Hoyas were able to overcome several deficits, including a 10-point hole early in the second half, and led the Red Storm with as few as three minutes remaining in the contest as part of a resurgent second period, something the team has struggled to produce in other games.
“We needed to regain our power, our individual power and our power as group, as a team,” Head Coach Jim Lewis said. “And we did that.”
The Hoyas dominated the interior, scoring 34 of their 63 points in the paint and outrebounding St. John’s 36-35.
Defensively, Georgetown has struggled as of late, allowing an average of 71.5 points per game — the third most in the Big East this season. But, encouragingly, the Hoyas were able to hold the Red Storm below their season average of 66.9 points.
“The final score was in the range of what we hoped it had been,” Lewis said. “They had just scored 96 against DePaul, they won by 10 over the highest scoring team in our league, who put 90-plus points against us on the board. So having a game in the 60s was one of our goals, we just needed to have a higher 60 number than we did.”
The game remained undecided until the final possessions. Senior guard Samisha Powell’s free throws brought the Hoyas within two of the Red Storm with three seconds to play, but time ultimately cut Georgetown’s comeback short. Nevertheless, Lewis felt that the performance reflected important changes for the team after recent losses.
“The real operative word was change, and there was change,” Lewis said. “We had to make changes in mindset and attitude.”
These changes were perhaps most evident in the way that the Hoyas cut their turnovers in half – from 30 to 15 – from their previous loss to DePaul.
“The changes came incrementally throughout the game, in terms of how we sustained certain runs on our part, how we were able to negate certain runs on St. John’s part,” Lewis said. “They are a diametrically opposite team to us, extremely fast and quick and very athletic. We’re athletic but we’re bigger, and we use our size as an advantage.”
While Lewis was reluctant to call the game a success, he emphasized that it was a step in the right direction.
“We’re not into moral victories, but we accept some stepping stone goals, and we did reach one of the most significant ones that speaks to the main negative that has plagued our teams throughout the season — turnovers,” Lewis said. “It was a step — and I would say a real large step — in the right direction.”
Georgetown’s starting lineup had some noticeable differences from earlier in the season, including the absence of sophomore guard Katie McCormick due to medical reasons, according to Lewis. Freshman guard Tyshell King started in place of Powell. Although Powell did not start, she was an important part of the Georgetown effort, scoring 10 points and playing 33 minutes.
“We’re a team and it really doesn’t come down to who starts, but it’s more of a function of who can finish,” Lewis said. “We’re trying to focus on finishing halves first, because we had a chance to have a different deficit than the seven-point deficit we had last night.”
Georgetown will next face rival Villanova at McDonough Arena on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.