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

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL | Georgetown Honors Tasha Butts in Tight Win

In their annual Play4Kay game to raise funds for cancer research, the Hoyas narrowly edge out the DePaul Blue Demons 44-42 thanks to a resilient defense.
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Kicking off the new month with a win, the Georgetown University women’s basketball team broke a three-game losing streak with a narrow victory over the DePaul Blue Demons.

The Hoyas (15-8, 5-7 Big East) beat the Blue Demons (12-13, 4-8 Big East), 44-42, in a low-scoring defensive battle. Donning pink jerseys in honor of World Cancer Day, Georgetown clinched the game behind junior forward Brianna Scott’s pair of clutch free throws and graduate forward Graceann Bennett’s key last-second rebound.

The matchup took on a particularly special meaning for the Hoyas as it sought to raise funds for cancer research at Kay Yow Cancer Foundation, named after the legendary Hall of Fame coach.

For Georgetown, the game also marked an opportunity to honor Tasha Butts, the beloved late Hoyas coach who died after her battle with breast cancer on Oct. 23, 2023. Butts served as head coach for six months, joining the Hilltop community after a run at Georgia Tech and UCLA.

“It’s an honor to live through her legacy and knowing that this is what she wanted to do for her life,” senior guard Kelsey Ransom told The Hoya earlier this season. “We feel her all the time, we get touches every practice, she’s there with us. There’s no doubt that she’s in the space with us all the time.”

With DePaul coming into the game averaging nearly 40 rebounds per game on the season and 36.7 points in the paint across their last three, Head Coach Darnell Haney elected to roll out an unconventional lineup to bring extra physicality onto the court. 

Junior center Ariel Jenkins got the start, while sophomore guard Victoria Rivera moved to the bench for the first time this season.

Both teams employed effective man defenses to start the game. Although Georgetown struggled to finish on contested shots and inside cuts, the team managed to limit DePaul’s offensive output by forcing bad shot attempts with a relentless defense. All in all, the Blue Demons held a slim 11-7 lead to end the first quarter.

The Hoyas started the second quarter cold, but a jumper by senior forward Jada Claude and a 3-pointer by Scott gave Georgetown a 14-13 lead. But DePaul’s offense had other plans, streaking to a 23-16 lead behind forward Jorie Allen.

With just over two minutes remaining in the first half, Georgetown faced the prospect of heading into halftime down 7 points — but a trio of stellar layups from Bennett, graduate forward Mia Bembry and Claude shifted the momentum, leaving the Hoyas down just 23-22.

GUHoyas | The Georgetown women’s basketball team donned pink jerseys in honor of Hall of Fame head coach Kay Yow and late Georgetown head coach Tasha Butts.

Georgetown began the second half more aggressively, pushing hard in transition. However, turnovers negated much of the Hoyas’ momentum, allowing the Blue Demons to take a 36-31 lead into the fourth.

Bembry opened the last period with two quick layups, helping to spark an unanswered 7-point Georgetown run, which DePaul star guard Anaya Peoples attempted to stop single-handedly

However, with just 36 seconds left, Peoples fouled out, giving Bennett the chance to tie the game via free throws. Following a timeout, the Blue Demons attempted to kick the ball outside for a 3-point attempt multiple times, yet failed to register a shot before the shot clock went off. 

On the next possession, a Bembry inbound pass found Scott, who was then fouled and converted both free throw attempts for the lead with just 4.8 seconds left. Allen tried a last-ditch layup, but it was off the mark, earning the Hoyas a tough-earned win.

Both teams struggled to score all game, as Georgetown finished with 34% shooting and DePaul sat even lower at 29.8%. The Hoyas’ guards, who shot a combined 2-for-21 from the field, failed to stretch the floor against the Blue Demons’ tight defense.

Bembry had the best game of her Georgetown career, tallying her first double-double of the season. She tied her season high of 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while also grabbing 10 boards and 4 blocks along the way. Bennett, too, was once again reliable, accruing 12 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double of her own. Jenkins held strong on the defensive end with 3 blocks and 8 rebounds.

Haney said he was proud of the team’s effort throughout some of the tougher stretches in the game.

“Players play, tough players win. Teams play, tough teams win,” Haney told Georgetown Athletics. “They figure it out. We found a way to win when things weren’t going our way, and I’m proud of each and every one of our players for that.”

Georgetown’s season continued with a crushing 52-38 loss to a strong Marquette (18-5, 7-5 Big East) squad on Feb. 7. The Hoyas hope to regain their scoring form at home against Providence (11-13, 5-6 Big East) at 7 p.m. on Feb. 10.

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