After two closely contested losses against James Madison and George Washington, the Georgetown women’s basketball team traveled to Los Angeles over the Thanksgiving break to take part in the Loyola Marymount University Thanksgiving Classic, ultimately splitting the pair of games with one win and one loss.
Georgetown (2-5) opened the tournament with a matchup against host team LMU (2-6) on Nov. 29, securing a 64-53 win over the Lions. With the win, the Hoyas snapped their two-game losing streak and notched their second win of the season. Despite the momentum of a first-round win, the Blue and Gray fell to Fresno State (5-3) the following day in the team’s final game of the tournament by a score of 69-82.
The women quickly fell behind 7-0 in their game against LMU, but trimmed the deficit after layups from sophomore guards Cassandra Gordon and Tayanna Jones. Following the opening run by the Lions, Georgetown outscored LMU 14-10 and trailed just 17-14 at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, the Hoyas outperformed the Lions on the defensive end, allowing only seven points. Tayanna Jones provided a spark offensively, contributing eight of the Hoyas’ 15 points in the quarter. At the half, the Hoyas headed to the locker room with a five-point advantage, leading the Lions 29-24.
Georgetown’s five-point cushion, however, quickly reduced to just two after LMU opened up the third quarter with a three-pointer. Gordon answered with a layup of her own, but LMU clawed back again with four straight points to tie the game.
In the following possession, Gordon put away a three-pointer to regain the Hoyas’ lead and open up a 14-2 run to put the Hoyas ahead 45-33. The run was aided by four triples, two of which came from graduate guard Taylor Barnes on consecutive possessions.
Though LMU cut its deficit to six near the end of the quarter, the Blue and Gray retained an eight-point advantage heading into the fourth.
LMU opened the final quarter with a three-pointer off an offensive rebound to reduce Georgetown’s advantage to five. Tayanna Jones soon answered the Lions’ offense with a three-pointer of her own. A pair of jumpers from senior forward Anita Kelava helped Georgetown’s lead remain at 10 as the quarter approached its halfway mark.
With just under 3:30 to go, the Lions made runs to eventually trim the deficit to just six. However, both times the Hoyas benefitted from three-pointers from graduate guard Brianna Jones that propelled the Blue and Gray to a nine-point lead with just under two minutes remaining.
Junior center Breonna Mayfield added two jumpers on the Hoyas’ final possessions to push Georgetown’s lead into the double digits and secure the 64-53 win.
On the day, three Hoya players recorded points in the double figures, as Brianna Jones and Tayanna Jones accounted for 16 and 15 points while Barnes added 11.
Mayfield contributed to the Hoyas’ defensive efforts with a game-high eight rebounds among both teams. The Hoyas also forced 17 turnovers from the Lions and held LMU to 36% shooting from the field, a performance recognized by Head Coach James Howard as consistent with his team’s defensive efforts throughout the season. Howard also noted the necessity of the team’s victory after tallying two consecutive losses.
“Getting a win after a couple of close losses was really important. Those close ones can make you lose your steam, so to come on the road and win in somebody else’s house was great,” Howard said in an interview with GUHoyas. “I was happy to see us perform on the offensive side, but I commend this team for their defense because they’ve played well on defense in every game.”
The Hoyas looked to bring the same success from the LMU game to their matchup against Fresno State on Nov. 30. The game opened with both teams exchanging baskets for the first four minutes before Georgetown began a 6-0 run to take a 15-7 lead.
Fresno State, however, soon closed the gap to just one after a Georgetown turnover. The Blue and Gray responded with a three from sophomore guard Nikola Kovacikova to extend their lead to four. Just before the break, the Bulldogs once again cut into the Hoya lead to trail by just one at the end of the quarter.
Barnes opened up the scoring in the second period for Georgetown with a three-pointer. Shortly thereafter, Brianna Jones knocked down a jumper to give the Hoyas a five-point cushion just two minutes in.
However, the Blue and Gray failed to find the basket for the next few minutes as the Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run to earn a four-point lead and force a Hoya timeout. Georgetown then answered by reclaiming a 33-30 lead behind a five-point burst from Barnes.
Despite Barnes’ efforts, the Hoyas failed to pull away from Fresno State as the Bulldogs took a one-point advantage heading into the locker room after making a jumper just before the buzzer.
Fresno State carried this momentum into the third quarter and grew their lead to seven following a pair of triples which forced Howard to call for time once again. Each team would exchange buckets in the next few possessions before a three-pointer from Kovacikova cut the Bulldog lead to just four.
The Fresno State offense would soon prove too much for the Georgetown defense to handle as the Bulldog lead quickly jumped to eight and eventually increased to as many as 13 points. The Hoyas failed to keep pace with the Bulldogs for the remainder of the quarter and trailed 53-65 as the horn sounded.
Play remained the same in the fourth quarter, with Fresno State maintaining a high offensive pace as Georgetown failed to make a dent in the lead. Fresno State’s lead would reach 17 points with just over five minutes remaining, marking their largest advantage of the game. The Blue and Gray could not effectively reduce the deficit and walked away with the 69-82 loss.
Brianna Jones led the way for the Hoyas offensively with 19 points while Kelava totaled a team high eight rebounds along with six points and three blocks on the day. Overall, Georgetown shot 45% from the field while Fresno State shot 53.4%.
The Hoyas will travel to New York on Friday, Dec. 6, to face off with the Columbia Lions in search of their third win of the season. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.