The Georgetown women’s basketball team began its postseason journey by dominating Sacred Heart 90-59 on March 22 in the opening round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The women then followed this win with a 70-65 victory over the Harvard Crimson on March 24. Georgetown then kept its postseason alive with a come-from-behind 53-46 victory over the Providence Friars on March 26 to advance into the quarterfinals of the WNIT.
The win over the Crimson (17-13, 9-5 Ivy League) marked the first time in a decade that the Hoyas (19-15, 9-9 Big East) have made it to the third round of the WNIT.
The Hoyas jumped out on top right away during the first quarter, opening up a 6-0 lead while the Crimson failed to register a point in the first four minutes. Harvard then closed the gap with six points of its own, before freshman guard Nikola Kovacikova tallied eight straight points that allowed Georgetown to regain the lead. By the end of the first, the Blue and Gray led 16-11.
Georgetown quickly extended the lead to double digits in the second quarter. With the game at 24-15, the Hoyas forced the Crimson into calling a timeout after senior guard Dionna White hit junior guard Morgan Smith with a crisp outlet pass that she converted into a layup. White continued to lead the charge and apply the pressure for the Hoyas for the remainder of the half, tallying 19 total points. When the horn sounded signalling the period’s end, Georgetown maintained its double-digit lead by a score of 37-26.
The direction of the game changed quickly in the third quarter, however, as the Crimson rattled off a 7-0 run of their own to cut the score to 42-37 in favor of the Hoyas. Harvard then narrowed Georgetown’s lead to four by knocking down a contested three. Moments later, White answered the call by hitting a layup in traffic that momentarily stopped the bleeding before the quarter’s end. The Hoyas clung to just a 53-47 lead heading into the final frame.
White scored the first seven Georgetown points to begin the fourth quarter, all of which came from the free-throw line and prevented Harvard from taking complete control of the game.
Near the five-minute mark of the third quarter, Head Coach James Howard called a timeout after a Harvard bucket in the paint reduced the margin to 64-62. The Hoyas were pressured into burning another timeout after the Crimson scored three quick points to take their first lead. Shortly thereafter, both teams exchanged possessions without registering a point.
Down one, the Hoyas came up with a stop and got the ball into the hands of White, who took control and drove the lane to hit a contested layup that gave Georgetown the one-point advantage.
On the ensuing series, senior guard Brianna Jones blocked a shot attempt and secured the rebound before being fouled. With less than 30 seconds to go, Jones stepped to the line and knocked down a pair of free throws that extended the Georgetown lead to 68-65.
With just 16 seconds left in regulation, Harvard had one last chance to force the game into overtime. Off the inbounds pass, the Crimson managed to get a look from three, but White recovered defensively and got a hand on the shot, which prevented it from reaching the rim. Jones came down with the deflected shot and quickly found White, who was intentionally fouled.
To effectively end the game and propel Georgetown to the third round, White hit the free throws, capping off a 38-point performance. To go along with this, White snatched down 12 rebounds to record the double-double.
White’s performance defined clutch and senior leadership. She earned the praise of her coach for her efforts in a postgame interview with GU Hoyas.
“Dionna has been carrying us all year, and without her ability to score, to rebound and to defend we would not be where we are right now,” Howard said. “Tonight she gave us what we needed to win and she’s someone we’re going to miss. She scored 2,000 points for a reason, and if you think about everything she’s accomplished over her career, you know that’s Dionna White.”
Georgetown’s victory over Harvard was followed by a tight game against Providence. In the third round of the WNIT, the Hoyas again found a road victory to keep their season alive. This time, their matchup was with fellow Big East foe Providence (19-16, 8-10 Big East), a team that the Hoyas had beaten twice already this season.
Both teams kept pace with one another offensively in the first, as the game was tied at the end of the first quarter. However, Georgetown fell into a shooting slump in the second and found itself in a 10-point hole after the team failed to register a basket in the last 4:27 of the quarter.
Georgetown answered in the third quarter, however, as graduate student guard Dorothy Adomako and White propelled the Hoyas to a 9-2 run to close the gap to three. Down one later in the quarter, White knocked down a three to recapture the lead for the Hoyas for the first time since the first quarter. The Friars came back with a bucket in the final minute to tie the game at 34 before entering the final stanza.
The fourth quarter saw the Hoyas jump out to a six-point advantage, only to have Providence tie the game again. White, the hero of the previous game, added to her 19-point total by knocking down a pair of free throws that gave Georgetown a lead it would not relinquish. The team fought off Providence’s last efforts in the final few minutes to come out on top, 53-46. Adomako led the Hoyas with 20 points, which helped Georgetown overcome the halftime deficit.
Advancing to the quarterfinals of the WNIT marks the furthest Georgetown has gone in the tournament since 2009 when it lost to Boston College. The Hoyas will await the winner of James Madison and Virginia Tech for their next test.