Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Without Wright, GU Scrambles to Nab Ugly Win

It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.

Despite trailing for the majority of the second half, No. 12 Georgetown (6-1) edged Richmond (4-4) 65-64 Wednesday night by forcing several late turnovers and overcoming a 59-53 deficit with 6:40 remaining.

“It was just hard today,” Georgetown Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We had so many different people playing different positions, trying to put people here, trying to put people there.”

The Hoyas were without starting junior point guard Rubylee Wright, who sat out the contest with an illness. Fellow junior guard Morgan Williams replaced her in the lineup and notched seven points, five assists and two steals, despite scoring only two points all year prior to Wednesday’s game.

“She did the best she could do, stepping in at such a late notice,” Williams-Flournoy said of her emergency starter.

The Blue and Gray did not grab the lead until sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers made a short jumper with 1:05 left in the game. After two key defensive stops, senior guard Monica McNutt added two free throws to give Georgetown a four-point advantage before Richmond added three free throws to make it interesting in the final seconds.

After a missed free throw and a lane violation by Rodgers, the Spiders had 1.2 seconds left to attempt a full court heave but were unable to complete the long inbound pass, allowing Georgetown to escape with an unconvincing one-point win.

The Hoyas forced 25 turnovers in the contest, but the Spiders, led by senior guard Brittani Shells’ 26 points, shot 56.4 percent from the field including 10-of-15 from beyond the arc.

Richmond’s sharp shooting almost allowed the Spiders to prevail, but Georgetown’s full court press enabled it to force several crucial turnovers that led to fast break situations. Off of turnovers, the Blue and Gray outscored Richmond 37-15, including 20-3 in the second half.

Georgetown led early in the first half, taking an 11-2 lead to start the game, but an 11-1 Richmond run enabled the visitors to take the lead. The two teams alternated similar runs for the duration of the half before Shells scored 11 points in the final 2:27 of the period, catapulting the Spiders to a 37-33 advantage.

“She was their go-to player. She did what she was supposed to and is a very talented player,” McNutt said of Shells.

The second stanza, however, featured a much tighter contest as the teams traded turnovers and baskets. Georgetown kept the difference within six points for the majority of the half before overtaking Richmond in the final minute.

In the final 10 minutes of the game, the Hoyas held the Spiders to 11 points while forcing eight turnovers. Richmond’s last field goal was made with 6:40 remaining in the game by junior guard Abby Oliver, who scored 17 of her 22 points in the second half.

While the Hoyas didn’t bring their A-game to McDonough Arena and allowed the Spiders too much time and space to shoot, they were still able to pull out the victory in crunch time. The Blue and Gray successfully pressured Richmond to force turnovers when they needed them, and sharp shooting by the Hoyas kept them within striking distance.

Although Georgetown was out-rebounded 25-23, the Blue and Gray outscored Richmond inside 24-16 and held Richmond’s starting junior forward Samantha Bilney and senior center Crystal Goring to a combined three points. The Hoyas, however, failed to contain the backcourt pair of Shells and Oliver, who combined for 48 points on 16-of-28 shooting including 7-of-11 from behind the three-point line.

The defensively oriented Blue and Gray had to rely on their offensive execution more than they would have liked to Wednesday night to foil Richmond’s upset bid. Against stronger opponents, the Hoyas won’t be able to afford the same kind of lackluster defensive performance.

“That’s not how we typically want to play,” McNutt said. “But we won, so you keep moving forward.”

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