The Hoyas lost 49-51 in disappointing fashion off a missed buzzerbeater in a faceoff against the University of Richmond on Tuesday at home.
Georgetown’s entire roster, especially the starting lineup, demonstrated resilience in never letting the Richmond lead balloon to more than eight, despite a second quarter performance that saw the Hoyas only score seven points.
The Hoyas looked dominant in the first quarter, commanding the speed of play by outrunning the Spiders and controlling the paint. Senior forward Anita Kelava started the game with an impressive basket for the Hoyas from an offensive rebound off of her own shot and then in the subsequent play, emphatically blocked a Richmond shot attempt in the paint.
The Hoyas’ star of the first quarter, and the whole game for that matter, was without question sophomore guard Nikola Kovacikova, who scored 10 of the Hoya’s 18 first quarter points. This total included two stunning back-to-back three-pointers from the top of the key. No other Hoya scored more than points points in the first quarter. The first quarter ended with the Hoyas up, 18-15.
The second quarter opened with an early three-pointer from Richmond sophomore guard Kate Klimkiewicz, tying the game. A few plays later, Richmond senior forward Jaide Hinds-Clarke recorded a steal and then finished a layup downcourt, putting Richmond up two for their first lead since the opening minutes and ensuingly forcing the Hoyas to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Georgetown freshman forward Graceann Bennett had an exceptionally tough 30-second stretch. Bennett followed her own miss to grab a difficult offensive rebound which she put back and scored. On the following defensive play, she grabbed another rebound, then on the next defensive possession, she resoundingly blocked Klimkiewicz’s layup and gathered that rebound.
On the next scoring play, however, Richmond junior guard Alex Parson used a dazzling behind-the-back dribble move to split the Georgetown double-team and then dished to a wide open Hinds-Clarke at the top of the key who sunk the three. The quarter ended with Georgetown down, 25-27.
The third quarter was Georgetown’s relative worst, as they shot a sad 2-11 from the field, and scored only two free throws, bringing their quarter total to 6 points. Richmond, in comparison, shot 4-11 in the quarter and scored 12 points, bringing the game to 31-39. The one Hoya highlight from the quarter was Kelava’s block on Parson to end the quarter and cut their losses with the game still well within reach at that point.
The fourth began in a much more positive fashion with a top of the key three from Hoya sophomore guard, Tayana Jones. The following offensive possession, Kovacikova sent an ambitious crosscourt pass to Keleva who drove to the basket before feeding junior forward, Tatiana Thompson, under the basket with a crafty wrap-around pass. With 2:16 left in the game, Georgetown called a timeout, down 47-49. Out of the timeout, Georgetown was unable to connect on a three from Jones. After a few more scoreless possessions, Georgetown called another timeout with 46 seconds left, still down two points with a real chance of victory.
Out of this timeout, Thompson managed to find the basket after a tough drive, tying the game at 49 with 33 seconds left. Richmond immediately called a timeout. The ball was trusted with Parsons who dribbled the clock down before driving to the hoop where she was fouled by Thompson. She sank both free throws, giving Georgetown just 6 seconds to recover from the two-point deficit. Kovacikova took the ball the length of the floor and put up a contested but in-rhythm three-pointer from the top of the key to win the game. It rattled out, giving the Spiders the victory.
Regarding her final effort, Kovacikova recognized that it did not have much of a chance of going in, but she also had no other option.
“Of course I was trying to force it in with my eyes,” Kovacikova said. “It was really far away, but it was probably the only chance we could have done.”
Following the game, Head Coach James Howard discussed the 17 points that Hinds-Clarke managed to score on the Hoyas and the team’s effort to contain her offensive prowess.
“She was one of the problems we tried to focus on going into the scout, we knew she was very physical in the post,” Howard said. “We wanted to double her but we didn’t get there quick enough and she made us pay. She hit some big shots down the stretch. She’s a senior, she’s playing with a lot more sense of urgency now.”
Moving forward, Howard wants to work on shooting, recognizing all of the open shots which the team missed throughout the contest.
“I knew that going into this year, losing three seniors who score so much and you can see it in the box scores,” Howard said. “We are averaging around 49 points a game. It’s hard to fill the shoes, but some people are going to have to step up and make shots. Hopefully one of these days the shots start to fall and they build some confidence.”
The Hoyas return to action in Pittsburgh, Pa., to face the Panthers on Saturday, Nov. 16.