The Georgetown women’s basketball team ended its regular season with a 91-74 loss to No. 25 DePaul, the Big East regular season champion, Tuesday night. After winning three of their previous six games, the Hoyas’ (10-20, 4-14 Big East) loss to the Blue Demons (24-6, 15-3 Big East), showcased many of the difficulties that have been plaguing them throughout the year.
The game featured similarities with Georgetown’s earlier matchup with DePaul this year — a 92-69 loss at home Jan. 22. The Hoyas were once again frustrated by the Blue Demons’ aggressive full-court pressure, which forced 24 Georgetown turnovers. Although this was six fewer turnovers than the Hoyas committed in the previous meeting, DePaul still managed 30 points off turnovers.
Georgetown was able to keep up with DePaul for a majority of the first half, and with five minutes remaining in it trailed by just two points. The Blue Demons, aided by hot three-point shooting, were able to expand their lead to 11 points.
“We learned more this time than we did the first time we played DePaul, but the similarities are too striking in that they turned us over,” Head Coach Jim Lewis said. “And when they didn’t turn us over we shot the ball with a high percentage.”
The Blue Demons were able to jump out to an early lead behind strong shooting and early turnovers by the Hoyas, but they were not firmly in control of the game until their three-point barrage at the end of the half. Georgetown demonstrated some resiliency as the first half progressed, slowly eating away at DePaul’s lead with 10 rebounds and eight points from freshman center Natalie Butler and 11 points from sophomore forward Logan Battle. However, the Blue and Gray could not maintain that pace for the entire half.
“Therein lies the conundrum, we … have to handle this pressure better and make them pay,” Lewis said. “The pace got out of control for us. It got to a place where we didn’t want it to be.”
Besides the decrease in turnovers, the Hoyas out-rebounded the Blue Demons 37-35 — something they were unable to do in the teams’ first matchup. The Blue and Gray also had four players finish in double-digits after only two did so in the January matchup. On Tuesday night, senior co-captain and forward Andrea White put up 14 points. Battle and Butler finished with 17 and 15 points respectively, while freshman forward Faith Woodard had 11.
With the loss, Georgetown fell to 4-14 in the Big East. Despite the record, three Hoyas received Big East honors which were announced Wednesday. Butler was the unanimous choice for the 2014 Big East Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Year, was a unanimous selection to the Big East all-Freshman team and finally was named to the all-Big East second team.
Woodard joined Butler as a unanimous choice to the all-Freshman team while White was also named to the all-Big East second team.
For Butler, these recognitions top off a record-breaking year at Georgetown and in the conference as a whole. Her 248 rebounds during the season earned her both the overall and rookie rebounding records in the Big East. She also locked down the rebound-per-game records in the same categories with a 13-rebound night. Further, she finished the season with 23 double-doubles and tied the Big East single-game rebound record with 20.
After dropping both regular season chances to DePaul, Georgetown may face it again in the postseason. With the current arrangement of the bracket, the eighth-seeded Hoyas are slated to play ninth-seeded Xavier in the first round. The winner of that game will advance to play DePaul in the quarterfinals. Although Georgetown split the season series with Xavier, difficulties with DePaul will loom over the Hoyas’ heads from the start of the tournament.
“Here we are with an opportunity to put all the hard work and growth into one more effort,” Lewis said. “It’s one game on the 8th against Xavier … and then hopefully we’ll see this team again.”
The Big East tournament will be held at DePaul, in the same arena where Georgetown witnessed its opponents cut down its nets less than a week earlier.
“We congratulate Doug Bruno and his great DePaul team for winning their first Big East regular season championship, and they played well again tonight,” Lewis said. “We know that they’re going to be a formidable opponent for anyone.”
Tipoff for Georgetown is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 8.