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

Demons Doom Resurgent Hoyas

Though DePaul is the No. 16 women’s basketball team in the nation and Georgetown is near the bottom of the conference, the two squads looked like equals for most of Wednesday night.

The Hoyas never let the Blue Demons get comfortable as Georgetown put up its most consistent performance this season against a team of a high caliber. But a few misses and mistakes in the final minutes kept the upset victory just out of the Hoyas’ reach, as the Blue Devils came away with a 64-58 win.

DePaul (21-5, 8-5) guaranteed itself a place in the Big East tournament with the win. Georgetown’s nascent win streak was stifled at two as the Hoyas dropped to 10-13 overall and 3-9 in the conference.

“We don’t play against records, we only play against people,” DePaul Head Coach Doug Bruno said. “We thought that [Kieraah] Marlow and [Kristin] Heidloff and [Bethany] LeSueur – these are good players, and we know they’re good players. We expected a battle tonight, and they did give us a battle.”

The Hoyas only let the Blue Demons get a double-digit lead once during the game, 26-15, on a small run with five and a half minutes remaining in the first half. But Georgetown answered to make it 31-25 by halftime.

“I was a little disappointed a couple of times, like with the 11-point lead, our starting point guard [senior Claudette Towers] threw the ball,” Bruno said. “When you’re up, you want to get a good shot and capitalize it, because that’s where the knockout punch is. We were never able to, and again give the credit to Georgetown.”

The Hoyas took back the lead five minutes into the second half but fell behind again a minute later. Still, Georgetown stayed within striking distance up until the end, always within two or three possessions of the lead.

With 2:46 left on the clock, Georgetown had shaved its deficit to two points. Even after a series of missed shots and turnovers, it seemed like the Hoyas had a chance down six with 21 seconds left, if only they could get the ball to sophomore guard Kristin Heidloff or senior swingman Kate Carlin, hotshots from behind the arc, for a pair of threes.

But senior guard Bethany LeSueur, who had turned the ball over with :32 to go, lost the ball again as the last 12 ticks remained on the clock, and junior guard Rachael Carney took the ball in her arms.

DePaul’s final score of 64 points was well below the 77.9 average that puts it ninth in the country, but according to Bruno, Big East games do not lend themselves to 80-point games.

“Could we have made a couple more free throws and got it near 70? Sure. Could we have knocked down a couple threes and got it to 70? Sure. But there’s other kids on the other side of the ball as well,” Bruno said.

DePaul’s perimeter shooters could not shake Georgetown’s zone, as the Blue Demons went 4-for-17 on three-pointers.

Sophomore guard Allie Quigley, who had been averaging 16.4 points per game, was held to two points.

But national standout Khara Smith came through for DePaul, totaling 24 points and 18 rebounds, while etching her name in the Blue Demons record book. The senior forward’s 14th board of the night made her DePaul’s all-time rebounding leader. Smith now has 1,274 career rebounds.

“I just wanted to come out and rebound the ball and that way put my team in position to win,” Smith said.

On the Georgetown side, sophomore forward Kieraah Marlow finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds despite a nagging left leg cramp in the second half.

Carlin had 12 points off the bench on the strength of her 4-for-6 three-point shooting. Heidloff had three treys herself, along with six assists.

The game’s deciding factor came down to points off of turnovers. The absolute number of turnovers was close – Georgetown had 18 turnovers, six each from LeSueur and freshman guard Nikki Bozeman, to DePaul’s 16. But the Blue Devils scored 21 points off of turnovers while the Hoyas could only put up eight.

Overall, both teams played sloppily on offense. DePaul had a habit of throwing passes out of bounds, while Georgetown would make a great steal but then lose the ball on the other side of the court or miss the shot.

“I think sometimes our intensity on defense forces us to rush things on offense,” Heidloff said. “You have so much momentum, and you’re playing with so much intensity, it almost forces you to play outside of your game. I think sometimes we just need to take one step slower. We have to be smarter about that.”

Along with that intensity, intangibles played a role in Georgetown’s energetic effort. Without a game last weekend, the Hoyas had a full week to prepare for the Blue Demons.

Heidloff, a Chicago native, said that she had been looking forward to this game all season. She played with senior guard Claudette Towers on Fenwick High School’s 2000-01 state championship team and faced four other players on DePaul’s mostly Midwestern roster during high school.

“It was definitely fun to play against people you know and people from home, but it would’ve been nice to beat them,” Heidloff said. “I’m glad we kept Quigley to two points. She put up 41 against us in high school.”

Plus, Hoya Blue made its first appearance of the season. About a dozen members clustered next to the pep band, and to Carlin’s ears, they made McDonough Gymnasium sound like Duke’s celebrated Cameron Indoor Stadium, despite the otherwise anemic crowd of 312.

“Personally, I fed off of it,” Carlin said. “It’s really nice to know that the student body is getting involved not just on the guys’ side but on the girls’ side, too.”

“As little as it may seem, it’s really big,” Williams-Flournoy added. “We definitely appreciate those guys coming. It made them miss free throws, made them rush the ball a little bit more. It helped.”

Hoya Blue’s best cheer was a loud, gleefully obnoxious countdown to distract the opponents during their free throws in the second half. Mimicking the shot clock, the yelling seemed to rattle DePaul pretty well – Smith, the first victim, has a .685 free-throw percentage on the season but missed her only two in the second half. Another player tried to time her shot until after the fans finished making the annoying sound of the buzzer, but she was clearly shaken up. The countdown was undoubtedly more effective than the wave that Hoya Blue currently uses at men’s games.

Georgetown has two more home games this season, and it must win them to figure into the lineup for the Big East tournament over spring break. The Hoyas currently sit on the bubble in 13th place with four games to go.

Next on Georgetown’s schedule is fourth-place Marquette (16-6, 7-4). The contest gets underway at 3 p.m. EST in ilwaukee.

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