In its last home game of the season, the Georgetown women’s basketball team (7-18, 2-15 Big East) fell to the Villanova Wildcats (19-7, 13-4 Big East) 61-73 on Feb. 22 at McDonough Arena.
The makeup game, originally scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 9, kept all heads on a swivel and the energy incredibly high as the Hoyas’ first-year center Ariel Jenkins and graduate guard Milan Bolden-Morris opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers. The teams went back and forth during the first half, with the first quarter ending in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Villanova to set the Wildcats ahead 16-13.
A dominant block by senior forward Jillian Archer set Georgetown up to build momentum and take a 4-point lead over Villanova in the second quarter. The Hoyas continued to be a force in the first half after a putback from first-year forward Brianna Scott and another bucket from sophomore guard Kelsey Ransom gave the Hoyas 5 unanswered points and a 27-20 lead.
A 7-0 run from Villanova set the score even once again, but free throws from junior forward Graceann Bennett and another putback from Archer gave the Hoyas a narrow 31-27 lead heading into the break.
The struggle for the lead continued into the second half. The Wildcats started things off with 8 unanswered points to set them ahead. Later in the third quarter, a block from Bennett would turn into three points from Archer, keeping the Hoyas in the fight as they increased their lead to 44-37.
Although Mary Clougherty hit an exciting step-back 3-pointer to close the quarter, it could not negate Villanova’s dominant scoring runs throughout the period. The Wildcats led by 9 points as the teams ushered in the fourth quarter.
From there, the score difference hardly changed. Every shot was answered by one from the other team, and the Hoyas eventually lost with a final score of 61-73.
The two athletes credited with keeping Georgetown in the game were Archer, who put up 18 points, and graduate guard Mary Clougherty, who added 9 more throughout the contest. Along with Archer and Clougherty’s contributions, highlights from the game include Bolden-Morris’s 2 team bests of 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
Despite previously starting this season, Archer has been coming off the bench recently for the Hoyas, playing heavy minutes on the wing. Her presence as a veteran leading the bench unit may make it more balanced and poised.
Georgetown’s defense deserves credit for keeping the score close and forcing 19 Villanova turnovers throughout the game. However, the Hoyas were out-rebounded 41-33 and out-scored from the field, giving the Wildcats the offensive advantage. Through four quarters, Georgetown shot 37.7% from the field, compared to Villanova’s marginally better 37.9%. This seemingly meager difference in shooting percentage proved to be the factor that put the Wildcats on top.
Georgetown also struggled from the free throw line, while Villanova was exceptional. The Wildcats got to the line 20 times and sank 18 of them, while the Hoyas were 17-25. Against a team like Villanova, giving up so many free points is too big a misstep.
As the Hoyas stumble to the finish line this season, they next face the Xavier Musketeers (9-17, 4-13 Big East) on Friday, Feb. 25 and the Butler Bulldogs (1-24, 0-16 Big East) on Sunday, Feb. 27 to round out their Big East schedule.
The energy and support from fans at McDonough Arena were undeniable throughout the contest, and Georgetown needs to keep some of that support as it travels to Cincinnati and Indianapolis as the clock runs out on the regular season.