With under three minutes remaining and her team up three points, sophomore guard Dionna White sized up her defender as junior forward Cynthia Petke came to set a screen. As Petke set the screen, White faked left before crossing over to the right, flashing past her defender who completely spun around in White’s wake.
With the crowd buzzing, White absorbed contact under the hoop and spun the ball off the bottom of the backboard. The ball sat on the rim for a split second before dropping into the net. The crowd roared, and the Georgetown women’s basketball team (13-7, 5-5 Big East) was on its way to a 54-49 win over Big East rival Villanova (11-10, 6-4 Big East).
White led the Hoyas with a game-high 21 points, capitalizing on Head Coach Natasha Adair’s game plan to open up the offense to create driving lines for her star guard.
“We just noticed in the last game to this game, [driving lanes were] open,” Adair said. “And so that was the game plan coming in; we worked on certain sets, we kind of adjusted some of our plays to create those openings for her. And we just told her, take what they give you and go all the way. And she did that beautifully tonight.”
The game featured eight lead changes throughout the four quarters. Villanova led for 18 minutes and Georgetown for 17, with five minutes of a tied score, as neither team could pull away from its opponent. Junior guard Alex Louin led the Wildcats with 11 points and junior forward Jannah Tucker added 10 more.
Senior forward Faith Woodard had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Petke grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior guard Dorothy Adomako — normally a reliable scorer averaging 14.3 points per game — struggled with her shots, missing 13 of her first 14, before making a crucial layup on Georgetown’s final possession with 18 seconds left.
Adair said she never hesitated to put the ball in Adomako’s hands despite her uncharacteristically cold shooting performance.
“As a coach, I want the ball in her hands at the end of the game,” Adair said. “And that’s the beauty of our team. We kept encouraging her, and we never want our kids to hang their head.”
The Hoyas avenged a 71-50 loss to the Wildcats on Jan. 4, as Adair and her staff emphasized the rivalry between the two schools.
“Adair kept on focusing on what this meant not only for our team but for alumni, people who did it before us,” Woodard said. “You know, Villanova-Georgetown, that game is a big rivalry, so we knew that we had to come in and play tough and just lock in and do what we had to do in order to get the win.”
The victory marks the Hoyas’ fourth consecutive win in Big East play, as they have climbed out of a 0-4 hole to bring their conference record back to .500 at 5-5.
“It’s been more focused, playing tough, but we gave a lot of games away in the first half, so we’re just trying to get them back,” White said.
Junior guard DiDi Burton played a crucial role in limiting Villanova sophomore guard Adriana Hahn, the team’s leading scorer, to six points. In comparison, Hahn scored 23 points in the teams’ previous encounter.
“Didi Burton told me that she wanted to guard her,” Adair said. “That was how it went. We talked about the opportunities for Adriana Hahn and her being a phenomenal player in this league. But she was just wide open [in that game]. The first game, we weren’t communicating on switches, we weren’t communicating on flares, so we kept our point guards on her.”
The Hoyas will have an opportunity to build on their momentum with two home games next weekend. Georgetown hosts Providence (10-11, 2-8 Big East) on Friday at noon before facing Creighton (14-6, 8-2 Big East) on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at McDonough Gymnasium.