WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | Vitalis Double-Double Not Enough in Loss
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02
There is little consolation after a tough loss like the one the Georgetown women’s basketball team suffered at the hands of St. John’s Saturday. The Hoyas (13-10, 4-6 Big East) fell 76-72 in overtime to the Red Storm (11-10, 5-4 Big East) on the road, but the future still looks bright for Georgetown given its phenomenal freshman performances on the day.
The Blue and Gray — who were without junior forward Andrea White and junior point guard Samisha Powell — had taken a two-point lead with 38 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Johnnies managed to tie it to send it into overtime, where they would eventually triumph by four.
“We did a pretty good job — the girls really fought back,” Head Coach Keith Brown said. “Due to injuries, a couple of girls played who aren’t used to playing. I think that it was a game we could have stolen on the road, but I think the team played extremely hard. It came down to a mental mistake — we had the last shot and missed it.”
The Hoyas jumped out to quick start, opening with a 7-1 run before the Red Storm stormed back to tie things up. After Georgetown surged ahead to take a 23-16 lead with 7:41 left in the first half, St. John’s re-established control and proceeded to hold the Blue and Gray scoreless for the next six minutes of play. Although sophomore forward Brittany Horne broke the scoring drought for the Hoyas with 1:46 remaining, the Johnnies ended the half on an 18-2 run and took a 34-25 lead into halftime.
“We stopped playing defense. Our transitional defense was awful for a good portion of the game,” Brown said. “They got run-outs and easy lay-ups off of us. I think that once we got back and defended better, we closed the gap pretty quickly.”
The Red Storm’s first half momentum continued into the second half, as a trey just under a minute in pushed their lead to 14, their largest of the contest. But, led by senior guard Sugar Rodgers and freshman forward Dominique Vitalis, Georgetown responded, crawling to within three with 14:25 left.
Still — hampered by turnovers, missed shots and fouls — the Hoyas faded once more. Rodgers, though, truly put the team on her back and took over in the closing minutes of regulation, scoring on four consecutive possessions to cut the hosts’ lead to 63-60.
Then, with 38 seconds remaining, the Blue and Gray took their first lead of the second half when freshman guard Katie McCormick connected from deep to give her team the two-point lead. Undeterred, St. John’s tied the game at 65 on a layup with 18 seconds left to send things into overtime.
In that overtime period, the Blue and Gray were unable to keep their momentum going and could not keep up in the eventual 76-72 defeat.
Rodgers led all scorers with 29 points, and Vitalis posted her first career double-double with 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
“Dominique did a great job. She did a good job of getting on the boards and getting put-backs,” Brown said. “I think Sugar did a wonderful job getting her the ball under the basket — in her comfort zone. [Vitalis] was also excited at the opportunity of starting — that is a big thing as a freshman.”
Despite the heart-wrenching loss and that they’ve now lost six of their last nine games, the Hoyas have hardly played poorly and have been receiving great performances from unexpected players. In their last two contests, two freshmen scored 21 points — McCormick in the first and Vitalis in their most recent outing.
“First of all, [McCormick and Vitalis] aren’t freshmen anymore — we have played too many games,” Brown said. “Playing for me and because we have had injuries, they have gotten the opportunity to play. I think when you see those two kids, you see that the future isn’t as bleak as everyone thinks it is.”
The Hoyas next face Syracuse today at McDonough Arena. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.