Eagles Trample Hoyas 74-52 in Quarterfinals

By Stephen Owens Hoya Staff Writer

The Georgetown women’s basketball team added a win and a loss to its résumé over spring break at the Big East championships held in Storrs, Conn., holding off the No. 12 seed Syracuse 67-65 before decisively falling 74-52 to the No. 4 seed Boston College.

The pair of decisions runs the Hoyas overall record to 17-12, earning them a bid into the WNIT’s 32-team field for the second straight year.

In the first round, the Hoyas staved off a furious comeback effort by the Orangewomen, who despite finishing the regular season with a 3-13 conference record, have caused the Hoyas fits in both meetings this season. The Orangewomen stunned the Hoyas 75-62 late in the regular season, which at the time was a devastating blow to the Hoyas’ NCAA hopes.

Looking to avenge the loss, the Hoyas maintained control throughout most of the first half and stubbornly built a six-point halftime lead behind quality efforts by junior tri-captains Katie Smrcka-Duffy and Nathalie Bourdereau, who combined for 23 of Georgetown’s 35 first half points.

In the opening minutes of the second half, the Hoyas used field goals by four different players to start the half on a 10-1 run, holding the Orangewomen to without a field goal for the first four minutes and nearly blowing the game wide open.

But the Orangewomen would not go away. Within eight minutes, the Orangewomen cut the gap to four after a 19-8 run inspired by Beth Record, the Big East’s second leading scorer during the regular season. Record hit four field goals and a pair of free throws during the run, accounting for half of her team-leading 20 points.

After four points by both Bourdereau and sophomore guard Lesley Walker pushed the lead back up to nine with less than four minutes remaining, the Hoyas could all but taste victory. With just over a minute left, the Hoyas still led by eight and victory appeared inevitable.

But the Orangewomen still would not go away. After a missed layup by freshman forward Nok Duany, Syracuse’s Jaime James, who lit the Hoyas up for 20 points in their first meeting, collected her only three points of the game on a three pointer which cut the lead to five.

Instead of slowing down the pace and waiting for a foul, the Hoyas opted for the fast break, which resulted in a missed layup by junior forward Dani Ilic. The Orangewomen took advantage of the miss and cut the lead to three on the ensuing possession.

Still, the Hoyas looked to have the situation under control after Smrcka-Duffy hit a pair of free throws increasing the lead to five with 21 seconds.

But still, the Orangewomen would not go away. Syracuse cut the lead to two with five seconds remaining and caused a Georgetown turnover on the inbound pass that gave them one last chance to tie or even win the game.

After a timeout by Syracuse, Record got a good look at the basket but missed a jumper that would have sent the game to overtime.

“Making it, you’re a hero, and if not you go on to next year,” Record said of her final shot. “Unfortunately, I missed it.”

As usual, a Georgetown victory would not have been possible without the heroics of Smrcka-Duffy, whose 22-point effort was all the more remarkable considering the physical pain plaguing her during the tournament weekend. Despite playing with a badly injured back that would have sidelined most players, Smrcka-Duffy not only led all scorers but also led her team with six rebounds and three steals.

However, unlike too many games for this season for the Hoyas, Smrcka-Duffy was not the lone hero. Bourdereau stepped up with a career-high 21 points and also matched Smrcka-Duffy’s six boards.

“I think this is the time of year someone has to step up and help Katie,” said Bourdereau.

The first round win set the stage for a re-match of last year’s quarterfinal meeting with No. 4 seed Boston College. Last year, the Hoyas surprised the Eagles with five-point win and Head Coach Pat Knapp was determined his team could pull off the upset again.

But the Hoyas’ hopes for another upset were squashed early as Boston College went on a 24-3 run after Ilic opened the scoring with a three-pointer that gave their only lead of the game.

The Hoyas never fully recovered from the hit they took in the opening 12 minutes of the game and never managed to get any closer than 11 points from the Eagles.

For the second game in a row, Smrcka-Duffy led all scorers with 20 points, despite nearly missing the game due to her nagging back problems. She was cleared to play by the team trainer just moments before tip-off.

However, the support Smrcka-Duffy received from her teammates against Syracuse was missing in the BC game. Bourdereau, who scored a career high 21 points against the Orangewomen, mustered only seven points against the stingy Eagle defense. Bourdereau did however, lead all players with eight rebounds.

Besides Smrcka-Duffy, Duany was the only other Hoya to reach double digits in scoring, garnering 13 points.

The Hoyas finished the season 0-7 against nationally ranked teams and 0-8 against teams invited to the NCAA tournament.

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