There should be few surprises in store for viewers of the upcoming Big East women’s basketball matchup between red-hot No. 14 Georgetown (18-5, 7-3 Big East) and struggling Seton Hall (7-17, 0-10 Big East) Wednesday night at McDonough Arena.
The Blue and Gray have been a mainstay in the nation’s top 20 all season and have surged into a tie for third place in their conference, thanks to a three-game winning streak which included a lopsided upset of No. 11 Rutgers and two road victories. The Pirates, conversely, have lost 12 straight contests and have dropped all 10 Big East appearances this season.
With six games remaining in the final month of regular-season play, the Blue and Gray can ill afford to slip up and lose ground in the closely contested fight for a top-four finish in the league standings. That’s why Georgetown Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy is committed to keeping her team occupied with preparations for Seton Hall, despite a looming date with No. 3 Connecticut this weekend.
“Right now, we’re just trying to focus on taking one game at a time. When you begin to look ahead at who has to play who, all of it doesn’t matter if we don’t take care of our own business,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Right now we focus on Seton Hall. … It’s a home game and we haven’t played well at home outside of Rutgers so that’s something that we can really focus on right now.”
The Hoyas have fallen short in three conference home games already, albeit to strong rivals — No. 2 Notre Dame and perennial threats Louisville and DePaul. The Pirates, however, should pose less of a threat.
While Georgetown has struggled mightily on the offensive end this season, sporting the league’s second-worst field goal percentage, Seton Hall’s scoring offense is dead last in the Big East. In their last appearance, the Pirates scored an abysmal 25 points in a home loss to St. John’s.
The Hoyas make up for their shooting struggles with stifling defensive pressure, the league’s fourth-ranked scoring defense and second-best turnover margin. The visitors enter Wednesday’s matchup with the 14th-best scoring defense and the second-to-worst point differential in the Big East.
Still, as the season winds down, the end to a campaign can bring with it emotions, energy and motivation for teams throughout the standings.
“We can’t really look at Seton Hall records, and we can’t look at some of their games,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We have to understand that at this point in the season, every team is hungry, every team is fighting to get every win that they can get … and we still have a lot to improve on.”
The Hoyas will be led by junior guard Sugar Rodgers, the Big East’s leading scorer with 19.8 points per game. Senior forward Tia Magee has also been crucial to the Blue and Gray’s success of late, with 18, 21 and 17 points in her last three appearances.
“I think it’s a great time in the season for Tia to start coming along,” Williams-Fournoy said. “I’m very happy that she has found the knack to score, but for Tia it’s not just scoring. She’s always been a very good defender, she’s rebounding and now she’s adding scoring to her repertoire. It’s perfect timing right now.”
The Pirates will be led by senior guard Jasmine Crew, whose 18-point-per-game average is third in the Big East. Junior guard Brittney Morris adds 11.7 points per game, but the two standouts have receieved little scoring support from their teammates.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at McDonough Arena.