FILE PHOTO: CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA Senior forward Tia Magee is Georgetown’s second leading scorer and will be crucial in the Big East tournament.
Senior forward Tia Magee is Georgetown’s second leading scorer and will be crucial in the Big East tournament.

It’s tournament time in the Big East, and the Georgetown women’s basketball team heads up to the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., for the annual Big East tournament this weekend. The Hoyas earned the fourth seed and a coveted double-bye in the tournament thanks a strong regular-season performance.

Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy and her team had a solid end to the season, winning six of their last nine games. However, the team suffered a disappointing season-ending loss to St. John’s Monday in the season’s final game at McDonough Arena.

The Blue and Gray could end up facing Providence, Syracuse or West Virginia in their quarterfinal matchup on Sunday. Georgetown is a combined 4-0 against these teams during the regular season, having beaten archrival Syracuse twice.

Providence and Syracuse will face off in the first round on Friday, with the winner taking on West Virginia on Sunday.

The Orange boast a better overall and league record than the Friars, who come into the tournament having dropped their last four games. Most predict Syracuse to win the game, but the teams sit right next to each other at the 12th and 13th seeds.

Regardless of the winner of Friday’s game, West Virginia figures to be the most likely opponent for the Hoyas. The Mountaineers enter the tournament winners of seven of their last nine, and one of those wins was a big upset of then-No. 2 Notre Dame on the road. But the Big East tournament is one of the least predictable events in all of sports, and the Hoyas cannot afford to set their sights on one team.

Regardless of its opponent, William-Flournoy’s squad has made a living on the defensive side of the ball this year. They are ranked fourth overall in total defense in the Big East, allowing a meager 52.4 points per game.

Much of the Hoyas’ defensive success is attributed to their trademark full-court press. They have frustrated countless teams this year, and thanks to the press, own the best turnover margin in the league.

In their loss to St. John’s, the Hoyas’ defense softened in the second half, partially leading to their defeat. Another major factor, however, was that junior guard Sugar Rodgers was completely shut down in the game.

Rodgers is the top scorer in the conference and the offensive catalyst for the Hoyas. When the start guard is off, the scoring burden falls mostly on the Georgetown seniors. Point guard Rubylee Wright and forwards Tia Magee and Adria Crawford are all crucial to Georgetown’s success on both sides of the ball, but often struggle to put points on the board if Rodgers isn’t hitting.

Georgetown seems to have assured themselves a fairly high seed in the NCAA tournament, regardless of their performance in this weekend’s tournament. However, a strong showing would not only give them a higher seed but would also provide the all-important factor of momentum going into the Big Dance.

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