The Georgetown Hoyas defeated the Delaware Blue Hens on March 16 in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, 67-57.

The win pushed the Hoyas’ record to 16-15, and they advanced to the second round of the tournament, the furthest they have been since 2009 when they made it to the quarterfinals.  Previously, Delaware lost in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament to Drexel.
The NIT is a second-tier tournament run by the NCAA every March for teams left out of the NCAA Tournament.

ANNA KOVACEVICH/THE HOYA
Senior forward Cynthia Petke, right, tied her career high with 26 points against Delaware in Friday’s first-round matchup of the NIT. Petke also grabbed seven rebounds and tallied five assists.

As a team, the Hoyas (16-15) shot just 36.9 percent from the field, and the Blue Hens (19-13) had more points off turnovers and bench points. The two teams were close in many statistical areas, but the difference for Georgetown was on the offensive glass, where the Hoyas out-rebounded the Blue Hens 44-33. This success led to 10 more total field goal attempts for Georgetown, on which it capitalized.

Led by senior forward Cynthia Petke, the Hoyas managed to get off to a fast start, taking a 10-2 lead in the early minutes that included two three-pointers and another jump shot from Petke. The teams exchanged baskets from there through the end of the first quarter, with Georgetown taking a 19-11 lead.

Delaware started to heat up in the second quarter, going on an 8-2 run that cut the deficit to just two. Delaware kept the game tight until midway through the third, but leading 35-32, Georgetown went on a 5-0 run to push its lead back up to eight. A jumper from junior guard Dionna White at the buzzer pushed the Hoyas’ lead to 12, with the score at 53-41 at the end of the third.

Head Coach James Howard made note of his team’s run in the third.

“In the third quarter, defense and getting stops was a big thing,” Howard said in an interview with GUHoyas. “White got a little offensive rhythm to her game, and [senior guard DiDi] Burton stepped up and hit a couple big shots.”

In the fourth quarter, the Hoyas maintained a similar lead. White and Burton hit critical three pointers to combat the Blue Hens’ small runs. And despite a final push by Delaware, clutch free throws in the closing seconds from Petke and White effectively ended the game.

Even though there were many tight stretches of the game, Georgetown never once trailed in the game. The largest lead was 13 points, and the Blue Hens were just a few possessions away for the majority of the game.

Petke led the way with 26 points, tying her career high. She also had seven rebounds and five assists. White had 16 points and six assists. Senior center Yazmine Belk had eight points and provided a critical inside presence with 16 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end and five blocks.

Up next for Georgetown is Duquesne (24-7) on Monday at 7 p.m. in McDonough Arena. The Dukes finished second in the Atlantic 10 Conference and beat Miami University in Ohio in the first round of the WNIT.

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