The No. 19 Georgetown women’s basketball squad (15-5, 3-3 Big East) will look to build on its recent success tonight as fellow Big East heavyweight and national title contender No. 8 West Virginia (19-1, 5-1 Big East) visits McDonough Arena.
The Lady Hoyas are riding the momentum of a 60-44 win over Villanova (8-11, 0-6 Big East) on Saturday. Junior forward Tia Magee spearheaded the victory with 18 points, while sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers drained four three-pointers en route to a 17-point outing.
“You could say I was kind of taking my anger out on Villanova. We were just coming off a loss to Notre Dame, and I guess you could say that was a wake-up call,” Magee said. “I knew I needed to be doing a lot more for this team, so I’ve been putting in a lot of extra hours shooting and doing what I have to do because it’s time to step up.”
Although Georgetown still holds a pedestrian 3-3 conference record, it has won eight out of its last 10 and is 3-1 on the year against currently ranked teams. The Blue and Gray will have to bring their A-game, however, as their next opponent is one of the nation’s most dangerous.
“West Virginia’s very good. They’re very aggressive, they take a lot of pride in their defense, and they’re leading the Big East in a lot of defensive stats,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We’re going to have to combat their aggressiveness defensively and we’ve got to make some stops.”
The Mountaineers have only suffered one loss this season, dropping a shocking 69-54 decision to Marquette (15-4, 3-3 Big East) on the road. They have rattled off three easy wins since, including a 78-21 drubbing of rival Marshall (5-13, 1-4 Conference USA) last week.
“They play really tough. They get into the passing lanes, they play really scrappy, they’re very similar to us,” Magee said.
The two teams mirror each other in that they both rely primarily on their defense and prefer to play physical games. The game will likely be decided by the Lady Hoyas’ success getting out in transition as West Virginia likes to slow down the game.
“We can’t let them push us off the blocks offensively and make us play out too far,” Williams-Flournoy said. “They do a lot more in the half-court, and their point guard is a very good defensive player.”
The two Mountaineer captains, redshirt senior forward Madina Ali and senior guard Liz Repella, lead the team in scoring, averaging just under 14 points per game apiece. Sarah Miles, West Virginia’s senior point guard and reigning Big East defensive player of the year, could create problems for the Georgetown offense if she continues to pick pockets at her current rate of three per game.
“We are going to lock in, we’re going to focus on our defense, we’re going to have to keep them out of the paint,” McNutt said. “We’ve got to push Ali around, we can’t let her go off, and we can’t let Sarah [Miles] go off.”
The Lady Hoyas have been successful this year despite listing only one senior — guard Monica McNutt — on the roster. The younger players will face a serious challenge tonight in matching up with one of the conference’s most experienced teams as the Mountaineers start four seniors.
“It’s going to be an all-out brawl all night,” Magee said. “It’s really going to come down to who has the most heart.”