The Georgetown women’s basketball team (10-9, 3-6 Big East) kicks off the second half of its Big East schedule this weekend with contests on the road against Providence (4-15, 0-9 Big East) and Creighton (10-11, 4-5 Big East).
The Hoyas will enter Friday’s matchup coming off a 57-51 win over conference rival Villanova University (13-7, 6-3 Big East). That win snapped a four-game losing streak for Georgetown — the team’s longest of the season.
“We had a great win against Villanova at Villanova and that has really increased the team’s confidence,” Assistant Coach Sarah Jenkins said.
While Georgetown will enter the contest riding the momentum of the Villanova victory, Providence looks to get back on track after losing nine straight games to start conference play. The Friars have not yet beaten a Big East opponent this season.
Although Providence has struggled recently, Georgetown has not taken anything for granted in preparing for Friday’s matchup.
“If you look at a lot of the games in the league, they have been close — just a five- to seven-point deficit. So we are trying to get our kids to understand that no game is a ‘gimme.’ We are not just going to walk into any gym and walk out with a victory. We have to earn it,” Jenkins said.
When the Hoyas and the Friars met earlier this season, the contest was closely matched through three quarters, with neither team establishing a significant lead. Entering the fourth quarter, the Hoyas had only a seven-point advantage.
“We missed a lot of shots [in our first game against Providence]. We got a lot of opportunities around the basket that we didn’t finish at the rim. We didn’t execute completely offensively,” Jenkins said.
Georgetown started the fourth quarter strong and the team quickly managed to extend its lead to double figures. The Hoyas maintained their advantage throughout the final period — never allowing the Friars to pull within seven points. In the final minute of play, Georgetown went 6-of-8 from the free-throw line to widen its lead to 13.
A Providence three pointer with 10 seconds remaining in the contest was too little too late for the Friars, and when the final buzzer sounded, the Hoyas led 63-53.
“We did a better job of containing [Providence’s] dribble penetration, eliminating them getting to the basket and taking away key shots from their key players. And we made the big shots at the end that we needed to make to close out the game,” Jenkins said.
In the season’s previous matchup, the Friars were paced by junior guard Sarah Beal, who scored a team-high 16 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Beal leads Providence in scoring, steals and assists. The junior averages 12.2 points per game and has recorded 58 assists and 37 steals this season.
“[Beal] likes to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. Our main focus is to keep her out of the paint and every time she rises up to shoot the ball we have to make sure we contest it. It makes a little harder for her to get those looks if we are more aggressive,” Jenkins said.
In addition to containing Beal on the defensive end, the Hoyas will be focused on finding opportunities for their two top scorers to shine offensively. Sophomore guard Dorothy Adomako and freshman guard Dionna White, who average 13.8 and 14.7 points respectively, make for a challenging combination for opponents to defend.
“Dionna White and Dorothy Adomako are two of the top players in the league and have those two kids on our team,” Jenkins said. “They both can score the basketball at will… and they bring a factor that a lot of teams don’t have.”
Following its matchup with Providence, Georgetown will travel to Nebraska to take on Creighton. In the previous meeting between the two teams this season, the Hoyas came away with a 69-57 victory.
Georgetown trailed for much of the first half, falling behind by as many as 10 points in the second quarter. However, determined not to let the Bluejays pull away, the Hoyas picked up their defensive intensity, forcing four turnovers in four minutes. Georgetown went on a 16-5 run to close out the first half and entered the break leading 36-35.
“One of the things that gets us going as a team is our ability to defend. When we do a good job on the defensive end, it creates offensive shots for us,” Jenkins said. “In the Creighton game, we got a lot of stops and a couple steals that allowed us to get easy transition buckets. We were able to push the ball up the floor and get easy layups and that gave us confidence and momentum going into the second half.”
The Hoyas dominated the second half, extending their lead to 10 points by the end of the third quarter and leading by as many as 12 points in the final period.
“Going into the second half, we built on what we had done in the first half. We defended. We guarded their set and pushed the ball up the floor in transition. That helped us out and gave us a little bit of an edge,” Jenkins said.
A 7-0 run by Creighton late in the fourth quarter cut Georgetown’s lead to 4 points with 3:08 left to play. But the Hoyas were able to keep their composure, answering with a 9-1 run of their own. When time expired, the Hoyas led by 12.
“The kids did a really good job of being disciplined and staying poised. They made good decisions with the basketball. At the end of the game, we made the right choices and took good shots,” Jenkins said.
In Sunday’s game, the Hoyas will focus on playing disciplined defense so that they can speed up the pace of the game and take advantage of their strength in transition.
“When we defend, we are able to push the ball in transition,” Jenkins said. “I think Creighton will have a very difficult time with that. We saw the first time [that] we played them that they had a hard time guarding us in transition. We don’t want to slow the game down. We don’t want to play a half court game with them. We want to run. We want to push the ball and get easy layups. They will have a difficult time guarding us if we are to that.”
Friday’s game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. in Providence, R.I. Sunday’s game is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. in Omaha, Neb.
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