With its young roster, a new coach and a projected eighth-place finish in the 10-team Big East, the Georgetown’s women’s basketball team went into its first weekend of the season looking first and foremost to gain experience for its players and to test its defensive strategy.
The results were encouraging — Georgetown (1-1) split its first two games of the year, dominating the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks at home in an 88-75 game Friday before losing a tight contest against the University of Richmond by a score of 65-57 Sunday.
Strong performances from freshman guard Dorothy Adomako and junior forward Dominique Vitalis and key rebounding lifted Georgetown over UMES (0-2) and allowed the team to put up a valiant effort against Richmond (2-0) despite shooting only 27.5 percent from the field in the second game.
Adomako, one of two freshmen to start both games, made an immediate impact on both ends of the court in her debut. She took and made the first two shots in the game against UMES and had a steal early to set up her second shot.
“It was a great feeling — ‘Wow, my first college point,’” Adomako said. “I just played defense and let the game come to me.”
Adomako ultimately posted a double-double against UMES, capping the game with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
“I think [Adomako] did a great job of being shot-ready, but I also think she played a complete game,” Head Coach Natasha Adair said. “She defended, she rebounded, she took disciplined shots in our offense. She made extra effort plays — going to the offensive glass, diving on loose balls.”
Adomako also finished with a double-double against Richmond, posting 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for the Hoyas. Her performances earned her the first Big East Freshman of the Week award of the season.
If Adomako’s efforts showcased the quality and potential for success of the freshman class, then Vitalis exemplified the leadership and experience of the older members on the team. Vitalis earned a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds against the Hawks and posted a game-high 19 points against the Spiders.
Although the Hoyas shot just 27.5 percent from the field Sunday, Vitalis was 6-of-13 shooting, earned seven of her 19 points from the free-throw line and embodied a physical play that was noticeably lacking among the other players.
“At halftime [Coach Adair] said, ‘We have to be physical. The refs are saying we’re not being physical enough so they’re not going to call it,’ so I made a point to definitely do my work early, box out and definitely get a lot more rebounds,” Vitalis said. “I don’t think collectively we were physical though. I think we should have done better at that.”
Despite the Hoyas’ dismal shooting performance against Richmond, the Spiders never gained more than an eight-point advantage over the Hoyas. Driven by the team’s 28 rebounds in the second half alone, the Hoyas stayed within striking distance of the Spiders and even led the game 50-48 with 7:53 to go in the second half.
However, Georgetown’s 21 offensive rebounds were not enough to secure the win. Georgetown did not take advantage of its rebounds and finished with just 12 second-chance points in the game.
“I felt like we crashed the boards extremely well — 21 offensive rebounds is hard to do,” Adair said. “But now we have to translate those rebounds into points, and if we get at least half of those back [into the basket], it’s a different ballgame.”
The team’s inexperience became apparent in the final stretch of the game and was a key factor in the loss to Richmond.
“We have a young group and we have an inexperienced group. We’re still learning the chemistry, we’re still learning lineups and what works best,” Adair said. “My message to them was we learn from it, we have a short memory, we move on.”
In spite of the team’s tough loss to Richmond, Adair and her players are optimistic about what they can achieve as the season progresses and its players have more games under their belts.
“I think these two games have showed us a lot that we have to work on,” Vitalis said. “Once we iron out a lot of the [kinks] that we have to work on, I think that we’ll be okay.”
Sophomore guard and co-captain Tyshell King did not play against Richmond. King sat out after falling and hitting her head on the court midway through the second half of the game against UMES. She is listed as day-to-day.
Georgetown is scheduled to play its next four games in a span of five days, beginning with its second home game of the season against the Loyola University Maryland Greyhounds (0-2). The game will tip off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday in McDonough Arena.