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

Syracuse No Match for Brunson, Georgetown

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Senior forward Rebekkah Brunson dominated in her final game at home. She led the team in its best offensive performance this year, winning 82-59.

By the time the game was over Wednesday night, Syracuse would have needed a lot more than a buzzer-beating three-pointer to salvage a win. The Georgetown women’s basketball team looked fully in control, bolstered by the scoring prowess of senior forward Rebekkah Brunson and junior guard Mary Lisicky in the team’s 82-59 romp over Syracuse in the final home game of the season.

In her last game at McDonough Gymnasium, Brunson put on a show to remember with 35 points and 22 rebounds, setting a new career high in both categories and tying the single-game rebounding record for Georgetown. She also moved into second place for all-time scoring for the Hoyas with 1,696 points.

“I came out and I wanted to do the best I could knowing that this was the last time I would play at McDonough,” Brunson said. “It has been a great experience. I don’t regret any of the decisions I have made over the past four years.”

Head Coach Pat Knapp also had praise for Brunson and her performance as a Hoya. “It is obvious that it has been very exciting coaching Becky for four years. There is so much there that is going to get better and better. She has matured a lot and improved her game.”

Before Brunson began to soar, the Hoyas (12-13, 6-8 Big East) struggled to get past Syracuse (6-18, 3-11 Big East). Seven minutes into the game, the score was still tied 6-6 as neither team was able to shoot the ball well. Something began to click with the Hoyas, especially for Lisicky and Brunson, who started a 12-0 run that set the tone for the rest of the game. Georgetown continued to pound Syracuse, picking off passes and beating its opponent to the boards almost every time.

With 2:34 left in the first half, the Hoyas led by over 20 points, 39-18. With an overwhelming margin between the teams, Georgetown began to slacken its pace and Syracuse finished with an eight-point rally that helped close the gap. When the buzzer rang, though, the home team was still on top, 41-28.

Two three-pointers from Lisicky opened the second half, allowing the Hoyas to distance themselves again. Despite some strong efforts from the Orangewomen, especially freshman guard Lauren Kohn, the visitors were outmatched and continued to fall by the wayside. With 6:18 on the clock, Georgetown led by 30, 74-44, and began to pull its starters in order to give other players some court time.

With only nine players on the roster, Syracuse does not have much depth, and continued rotations and substitutions failed to yield a cohesive group from any five players. Mounting foul trouble cost the Orangewomen their two centers, leaving the inside even more vulnerable to attacks from the Hoyas’ post players. In the end, Georgetown scored 32 of its points in the paint; Syracuse could only muster eight points, forcing it to shoot from the perimeter. It did not help that the Orangewomen were outrebounded 59-34, with the Hoyas pulling down 24 offensive boards to their opponents’ eight.

Syracuse pulled off another rally late in the second half, but it had long fallen out of contention. In the end, the team had to settle for a 23-point loss, 82-59.

“We’re still not making good decisions now, regardless of the 20-some-point win. I think we need to make better decisions. Because against Syracuse it doesn’t come back to haunt you, but against Rutgers you’ll lose by five,” Knapp said. “I’m still happy that we won, though.”

The Hoyas’ 82 points marks a new season-high on offense, besting the 76 points that the team mustered in their win against Notre Dame in January. This came about particularly because of Brunson’s efforts, with 35, and Lisicky with 23, including 5-of-7 three-point shooting. The two also combined to score 13 points on 14 free throws. Lisicky, with five assists, broke the 300 mark and is in the seventh place for all-time assists for the program. The next highest scorer for the Hoyas was freshman guard Kate Carlin with seven points.

“I think we still have some people who could play better. What the team did today that helped us win was play good team defense,” Knapp said.

Syracuse was helped by freshman guard Lauren Kohn’s four three-pointers, and she finished with a team-high 14 points. Junior guard Rochelle Coleman also contributed 10 points. Senior guard Julie McBride, who usually averages 17.1 points per game, shot 1-of-13, picking up only six points.

“All week we worked on their offensive plays for her,” Lisicky said. “Basically she throws a pass and she’ll go back and get the ball. We all knew we would have a chance to guard her, we just had to contain her.”

At this point, Syracuse’s only consolation comes from knowing that at least two teams are performing even worse in the Big East. Both Pittsburgh and Syracuse are on 10-game losing streaks, but Syracuse holds the edge with a win over its rival. And no one seems to be able to match the performance of the benighted Friars of Providence, who have failed to win a single conference contest and have not won in 2004, dropping 14 consecutive games.

With these three teams cushioning the bottom of the Big East, it is assured that the Hoyas will have a spot in the postseason tournament. The poor effort this season is particularly disappointing to the Orangewomen, who hoped that the presence of a new coach, Keith Cieplicki, would have an immediate impact this season.

With the game, Brunson and senior guard Narumol Berggren wrapped up play on McDonough’s court. While Brunson has obviously been the focal point for much of the team’s attention throughout her four years, fans rallied around Berggren as well tonight.

“Every day in practice for two years, Nari [Berggren] has gone 100 percent, challenging, playing hard. She loves the game, plays extra. She has been a big factor on this team, regardless of minutes,” Knapp said.

“I am not done,” Berggren said, reflecting a sentiment that Brunson also conveyed and reflect most Hoyas’ attitude to this season and beyond. “I will do something whether I will play or I will coach.”

Saturday’s game against Providence at 2 p.m. may likely follow a similar course to this game, allowing Georgetown to reach the .500 mark before finishing the season with an important showdown with Boston College next Tuesday.

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