Less than one year ago, the Georgetown women’s basketball team celebrated its first-ever Big East tournament victory, riding a second-round slaying of Syracuse into the program’s debut appearance in the event’s quarterfinals. This time around, the No. 12 Hoyas(22-7, 11-5 Big East) are back in the conference tournament’s quarterfinals before even tipping off their postseason campaign, thanks to a double-bye that rewards the Blue and Gray’s fourth-place finish in the regular-season Big East standings.

Despite a disappointing home loss to St. John’s in Monday night’s season finale, Georgetown concluded an impressive 2011-2012 campaign for a veteran squad featuring seven seniors, the Big East’s fourth-ranked defense and the conference’s leading scorer in junior guard Sugar Rodgers.

The Hoyas faced five top-10 opponents throughout their notoriously rigorous schedule, defeating two, and all seven of their losses came at the hands of then-ranked opponents. Beginning the season with much fanfare and a No. 11 ranking, the Blue and Gray proved deserving of the pollsters’ respect, remaining in the top 25 for the entirety of the regular season.

The season was not without its ups and downs, however, as Georgetown found itself on both sides of lopsided outcomes on several occasions. The Hoyas fell by 19 points to local rival Maryland in mid-November as part of a 1-2 start to the year but rebounded with 11 consecutive victories to close out 2011, including a 71-46 drubbing of No. 7 Miami on Dec. 21. Conference play was highlighted by a 54-36 lockdown of then-No. 12 Rutgers at McDonough Arena, but less than two weeks later, the Blue and Gray produced their worst performance to date — an 80-38 defeat at the hands of No. 4 Connecticut.

“We performed well against some teams and not so well against others,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “I think we could have done better at home, but to end 11-5 isn’t bad.”

Due in part to a schedule that placed most of Georgetown’s most difficult games on its home court, the Hoyas’ record was relatively poor at McDonough Arena and above average on the road. The Blue and Gray finished 10-4 on the Hilltop, 10-3 at opposing arenas and 2-0 on neutral courts.

Rodgers provided one of few bright spots for a Georgetown offense which sputtered throughout the season. The Virginia native remained perched at the top of the Big East scoring charts for much of the season, finishing with an average of 19.1 points, 5.3 rebounds per game and a team-high 65 total steals.

On Thursday, the sharpshooter received her third consecutive appointment to the all-Big East first team, making her the first ever Hoya to receive the honor thrice. Rodgers broke the program record for career three-pointers during the course of the season and moved into second place on the Blue and Gray’s all-time scoring chart.

Senior forward Tia Magee was awarded an honorable mention to the all-Big East team, the first time she has received an all-league accolade. A co-captain alongside senior guard Alexa Roche, Magee produced her best season on the Hilltop, averaging a team second-best 11.1 and a team-leading 6.1 rebounds. Following Georgetown’s uninspired 64-61 home loss to then-No. 15 Louisville on Jan. 22, Magee emerged to lead the Hoyas in a crucial four-game win streak that thrust them back into the running for a top-four finish.

Unfortunately, Georgetown was plagued throughout the season by the league’s second-worst field goal percentage, a mediocre 35.6 percent. The Hoyas managed just over 60 points per game but broke the sixty-point barrier in just one of their seven losses. Free-throw percentage ranked 13th in the Big East at 66.5 percent, while the success rate from three-point range hovered just under 30 percent.

But while Georgetown’s shooting form seemed to desert the team, Williams-Flournoy’s trademark pressure defense wreaked havoc on opponents throughout the season. The Blue and Gray’s turnover margin of +6.69 per game was tops in the conference, largely due to a league second-best 22.4 turnovers forced per contest.

In the event that the opposition found a way into its half-court offense, good looks were few and far between. Georgetown held its unfortunate foes to 33.9 percent shooting from the field and just 52.4 points per game — the third- and fourth-best defensive marks in the Big East.

The Hoyas are now preparing for a third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, which tips off on March 17. After last season’s gut-wrenching defeat in the Sweet 16, the Blue and Gray will be hungry for another late-season run.

But first is a trip to Connecticut for the conference tournament, where Williams–Flournoy’s team is entirely focused on the task at hand.

“Just like we’ve said all season, we take one game at a time,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We are focusing on our next opponent and the next step. We can’t look beyond the next game, because that is the most important one.”

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