The Georgetown women’s basketball team split results in the opening weekend of its 2016-17 season, earning a 72-57 victory over George Washington University on Friday night and dropping a 73-63 loss to Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon.
Georgetown (1-1) kicked off the weekend with a home game at McDonough Gymnasium against George Washington (1-1), where the team’s composure under pressure and steady late-game performance drove its fourth-quarter comeback win.
“We talked about this being a statement game, and I think we made one: that Georgetown women’s basketball is going to grind it out and be tough, and we’re going to fight to the finish,” Head Coach Natasha Adair said of the win.
The game started out slow for Georgetown; a low-scoring first half, marked by turnovers and missed shots, left Georgetown trailing 32-24 heading into the locker room. The Hoyas struggled to pull ahead of the Colonials for most of the game, consistently trailing by less than 10 points until they started chipping away at the lead in the final period.
With both teams racking up fouls — Georgetown finished with 26 and GW with 23 — one of the deciding factors of the game was each team’s performance at the free-throw line. And down the stretch, Georgetown made its free throws when it counted.
Senior forward Faith Woodard and junior guard Dorothy Adomako propelled Georgetown ahead of GW, combining for 10 made free throws and 19 points in the final period. Georgetown tallied a perfect 14-for-14 at the free-throw line during the fourth quarter, compared to GW’s 0-for-6.
Aside from capitalizing on easy shots, the Hoyas also focused on creating their own scoring opportunities. Georgetown grabbed nine defensive and four offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and generated five second-chance points.
Adair stressed the team’s defense-oriented mindset and said many of Georgetown’s late-game opportunities came from an increased intensity on defense.
“I think once we got stop after stop, we just eased back into the way we wanted to play,” Adair said of the team’s performance down the stretch.
Woodard and Adomako both finished with double-doubles, and junior guard DiDi Burton finished in third on the team in scoring with 11 points.
Woodard said finishing the first game of the season with a win reaffirmed the team’s efforts to build on its steady progress over the past year.
“It was just a testament to everything that we’ve been doing over the summer,” Woodard said of the win. “We’ve been working really hard, and just to get this win was something that our whole team is really proud of. It’s momentum moving forward.”
That momentum was slowed, however, by a loss two days later on the road to Virginia Tech (2-0). Georgetown gained an early lead and managed to hold onto it for most of the game. But the Hoyas found themselves on the opposite end of a fourth-quarter comeback this time — the Hokies made 14 free throws in the fourth quarter and ended the game on a 12-2 run to pull ahead and seal a lead in the final minutes.
Virginia Tech redshirt sophomore forward Regan Magarity was a consistent threat to Georgetown, tallying a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds.
Like Georgetown on Friday, Virginia Tech’s accuracy at the free-throw line generated crucial points as Georgetown was charged with more and more fouls.
“Any time you give any opponent 40 free-throw attempts, you’ll make it tough on yourself. … We just have to get better. We’re going to work on defense and get ready for the next game,” Adair said to GUHoyas after the loss.
Sophomore guard Dionna White was a bright spot for Georgetown, contributing a team-high 19 points and six assists in the loss. Woodard and Adomako each scored in double-digits again Sunday, scoring 11 and 14 points, respectively.
Sunday’s competition marked the first of a seven-game road stretch for the Hoyas. Next up on Georgetown’s schedule is a Friday- night game against Minnesota (1-0) in Minneapolis.
Minnesota’s first game of the season ended in a 103-87 win over Harvard on Saturday, when Minnesota junior guard Carlie Wagner rallied for 27 points and led five other teammates scoring in double digits. The team has a game this evening at VCU before returning home to take on Georgetown this weekend.
When asked if Georgetown is prepared to be on the road for such a long stretch, Woodard said the team is ready for the challenge.
“Our coaches always talk about being tough, not only on the court but being mentally tough, and that’s something we prepare for every single day in practice,” Woodard said.
Friday’s game is set for 5 p.m. EST in Minneapolis.
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