The Georgetown women’s basketball team (9-9, 2-6 Big East) looks to snap a four-game losing streak when it takes on conference rival Villanova (12-6, 6-2 Big East) Sunday afternoon on the road. The Hoyas’ current skid is their longest of the season and has come in the midst of the team’s Big East schedule.
“I feel like we have been in every game and it has come down to a possession, it’s come down to a rebound, a stop, a free throw, a layup — not really what the other team has done,” Head Coach Natasha Adair said. “We have seen a lot of teams’ best. They haven’t seen our best yet.”
The Wildcats will come into Sunday’s matchup under quite different circumstances. Villanova has won eight of its last 10 games and currently rides the momentum of a four-game winning streak that includes a 64-60 road victory over No. 24 DePaul (14-6, 6-1 Big East).
“We are already excited to play [Villanova],” senior forward Dominique Vitalis said. “I like that they have that momentum because it just makes it more of a challenge.”
To beat Villanova, Georgetown will have to focus on its three-point defense. The Wildcats have taken 482 threes this season — the second most in the Big East. Senior guard Caroline Coyer leads the team with 35 three-pointers made. Coyer, who averages 14.6 points and 5.3 boards per game, is Villanova’s leading scorer and is second on the team in rebounding.
The Wildcats have also received consistent offensive contributions off the bench from freshman guard Adrianna Hahn. Hahn, who trails just behind Coyer with 33 made three-pointers, averages 10.1 points per game in addition to shooting a team-high 87.5 percent from the free throw line.
The Hoyas will have to be cognizant of the threat posed by both Coyer and Hahn from beyond the arc during Sunday’s contest.
“They are going to make some [threes], but we have to make it hard for them and not allow them to get 30 threes off in a game. We have to limit that number and run them off the three-point line and make them put the ball on the floor,” Adair said. “We have to make it hard for them. No easy baskets, no easy layups, no open threes. Everything they get they definitely have to earn.”
Offensively, Georgetown will try to take advantage of its strength in transition to counteract Villanova’s half-court scoring. The Hoyas are focused on playing a disciplined defense that will produce stops and allow them to push the ball and up the speed of the game.
“We are one of the best teams in the league in transition. That is something [Villanova] doesn’t want to guard. They don’t want us to create tempo. They want to slow the game down,” Adair said. “We have to make sure we manage the game according to our terms, not theirs.”
Vitalis agreed that the team will have to focus on executing on defense and utilizing the team’s ability to attack the basket in transition in order to be successful against Villanova.
“We like to get the basket. We are a very aggressive team, especially in transition and I don’t think a lot of teams can run with us,” Vitalis said. “I definitely think that’s something we need to exploit – getting stops and running in transition.”
In addition to Georgetown’s transition offense, Villanova will also have to be wary of freshman guard Dionna White. It did not take long for the freshman to earn herself a place in the Hoyas’ starting lineup and now, only 18 games into her collegiate career, White leads the team in five significant statistical categories.
“It is always good to have help from a freshman. [Dionna] has been playing a good role on the team and we need to keep her going,” sophomore guard Dorothy Adomako said.
White, who averages 14.4 points per game, is not only Georgetown’s leading scorer, but is also the team’s leading rebounder. The freshman averages 5.7 boards per game – an impressive feat for the 5-foot-5 guard. Additionally, White leads the Hoyas with 41 steals and 71 assists. She is also the team’s most frequent and most consistent free throw shooter. White has taken 70 free throws so far this season and has missed only 12, giving her a team-leading 82.9 percent average from the line.
“It is definitely great to watch [Dionna] keep growing and keep developing and keep maturing, and we definitely encourage her to do so,” Vitalis said.
Villanova is the only Big East team that the team has not yet faced this season. A win Sunday would give the Hoyas’ crucial momentum as they prepare to play each of their conference opponents for a second time.
“I want us to send a message. Georgetown is here. Georgetown is coming. You need to be afraid because when we are disciplined, we are hard to beat. It’s as simple as that,” Vitalis said.
Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at The Pavilion in Villanova, Penn.
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