The Georgetown women’s basketball team (14-11, 7-8 Big East) will look to beat conference rival Villanova (16-10, 9-6 Big East) for the second time this season when the two teams face off Sunday.
The Hoyas enter the matchup after a split decision last weekend. Georgetown beat Seton Hall (18-7, 8-6 Big East) 73-65 Friday before falling to St. John’s (18-7, 9-5 Big East) by a 12-point margin Sunday afternoon.
“Seton Hall was a great, gutty, gritty team win. … Our kids were dialed in from start to finish. They were focused. They were hungry for it. They wanted that game,” Head Coach Natasha Adair said. “Against St. John’s we were just a step slow. We tried to rally, but we dug too big of a hole … We didn’t start the same way we did against Seton Hall and I think that gave [St. John’s] too much momentum early.”
The Wildcats, who also faced the Red Storm and the Pirates last weekend, come into Sunday’s contest following a split decision as well. Villanova earned a 12-point victory on the road at St. John’s and then fell to Seton Hall 60-50.
“Everything is being played close in the Big East. You can lose to any team and you can win against any team — it really doesn’t matter in this league,” senior guard/forward Logan Battle said.
Villanova currently sits in third place in the Big East standings. The Hoyas rank seventh in the league.
“We have shown everybody that we can play against anybody in this league. Winning against Villanova twice would be a great thing because they are ranked third [in the league] and that puts us in a better position,” Battle said.
In the previous matchup between Georgetown and Villanova this season, an 8-2 run in the last two minutes of the contest gave the Hoyas a 57-51 victory and ignited a four-game winning streak – the team’s longest of the season.
“[That win] was huge,” Adair said. “We had seniors that hadn’t beaten Villanova, juniors that hadn’t beaten Villanova. Villanova is respected nationally. That was a great win. That was a good program win, a good team win, but it was win that we worked for.”
Georgetown was paced by freshman guard Dionna White when the two teams met in late January. White led the Hoyas with a game-high 20 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Dorothy Adomako scored 13 points for Georgetown and Battle chipped in another 12 points. Sophomore guard Alex Louin and sophomore center Megan Quinn led the Wildcats with 11 points apiece.
“I think it was great because we went up there and beat them on their home court and anytime you get an away win that is also good,” Adomako said. “It was a great way to start off our four-game winning streak.”
Villanova boasts the top defense in the Big East, allowing only 57.8 points per game. They are the only team in the league that gives up fewer than 60 points on average.
“[Villanova’s] offense slows you down. They want to shorten the possessions,” Adair said. “They hold you to a certain number of points offensively because they slow the game down. They walk the ball down the floor. They are really not looking for an up-tempo game. They want to use 28 seconds of that shot clock and that is why you see a lot of low [scoring by opponents].”
The Wildcats also lead the league in made three-pointers, averaging 8.9 per game. Identifying Villanova’s key shooters and playing defense beyond the arc will be critical to Georgetown’s success.
“We have to make sure it’s not easy for them. A three is like a layup for them,” Adair said. “We have to be on our defensive game because I think in order for us to be successful and get the win, we have to get stops. We have to limit those wide open threes and we just have to make it hard for them to run their offense.”
Battle echoed Adair’s sentiment, emphasizing the importance of containing Villanova’s three-point offense.
“Every single time we talk about Villanova we talk about how they shoot at least 40 threes per game. That is what they are good at. They know to shoot threes. They know how to get people open to shoot threes and that is what their plays are set up for. We just have to be able to get on the three-point line to be able to cover them, get a hand in their face and prevent them from getting the ball up,” Battle said.
The Hoyas will look to take advantage of their speed against the Wildcats. Georgetown has developed an effective transition game this season and plans to utilize that strength this weekend.
“I think we’re one of the better transition teams in this league,” Adair said. “[Transition] is where we are really good. A lot of teams in this league — not just Villanova — have trouble with that.”
A second win over Villanova this season would be a significant accomplishment for the program and would also give Georgetown crucial momentum going into its last two games of the regular season – momentum that the Hoyas will try to build on and carry into the postseason.
“We’re playing our best ball right now and we’re heading into March. That is when you want to keep growing and developing as a team,” Adair said. “We want to continue building this resume down the stretch and … we want to make sure we continue taking steps forward.”
Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. at McDonough Arena.
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