The Georgetown women’s basketball team finished its season with a 54-44 loss in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals at James Madison University on March 31. The contest was defined by a number of quick runs by James Madison that ultimately prevented the Hoyas from overtaking the Dukes. For Georgetown, the loss prevents the women from advancing to the WNIT semifinals, a feat that the team has yet to accomplish in its history.
The matchup marked the second time that the Dukes (29-5, 17-1 Colonial) and the Hoyas (19-16, 9-9 Big East) have squared off this season. Early in the season, James Madison took the first matchup 69-57 in November. The result at the WNIT provides the Hoyas with solid momentum heading into Head Coach James Howard’s third season, as the team was able to advance to the tournament quarterfinal for the first time since 2009.
Georgetown started slow to open the first, as they quickly found themselves down 12-2 halfway through the quarter. Freshman guard Nikola Kovacikova lifted the Hoyas out of the slump, however, knocking down a pair of triples that helped the team cut the score to a 12-10 deficit by the end of the first quarter.
However, the second quarter began in a fashion similar to the first and the Dukes soon embarked on an 11-0 run to recapture control of the game. Georgetown was able to weather the storm before the end of the half by closing the gap to 25-17.
Early in the third, the margin between the two teams grew to 13. Once again, the Hoyas managed to cut the lead to single digits after back-to-back buckets from junior forward Anita Kelava and senior guard Dionna White. Down 34-23 a few moments later, the Hoyas clawed back into the game by starting a 7-2 run that made the game 36-30. Georgetown kept up the pressure to close out the final two minutes of the quarter, as graduate student guard Dorothy Adomako hit a jumper and White buried a contested three in the period’s closing seconds to make it 39-35.
Once again, the Dukes responded to the Hoyas’ pressure by regathering themselves and catching fire offensively. Though junior guard Morgan Smith’s free throw made it 41-36, the Hoyas quickly fell victim to an 11-0 spurt that forced Coach Howard to call a timeout.
Down 16 with limited time remaining in the fourth, Georgetown faced its largest deficit up to that point. The lead for the Dukes hit 18 shortly after the timeout, but the Hoyas fought back by scoring eight consecutive points to cut the lead down to 10. Ultimately, Georgetown failed to muster up enough offensive firepower to erase the gap and fell 54-44.
For Georgetown, Adomako and White led the way offensively with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Coach Howard highlighted the play of his two high scorers, and praised James Madison for stopping them.
“I thought it was a struggle offensively early on for our two seniors. We kind of fought and hung around and we made a run in the third quarter to try and get it back. Hats go off to JMU, they played hard and had some key shots. They’re a solid team and what they did today was pretty good,” Howard said in an interview with GU Hoyas after the game.
With the loss, the Hoyas finish the season with an overall record of 19-16 and 9-9 in the Big East, which places them at fourth in the conference. The women improved their overall record from 16-16 last year while matching their conference record.
Georgetown needed to overcome a midseason conference slump that saw them drop six of eight games to make a second consecutive postseason appearance. The women rallied by winning six of their last nine games starting Feb. 1. Georgetown also advanced to the Big East semifinal for the second straight season, marking the first time the team had accomplished this goal in school history.
With the departure of its top three scorers, White, Adomako and graduate student guard Mikayla Venson, the team will have to rely on younger talent and incoming recruits to fill the void in offense. The veteran trio averaged 17, 16.5 and 10.6 points per game for the Hoyas this season and tremendously helped the team down the stretch.