The Georgetown women’s basketball team saw its postseason run cut short after battling back and forth with the Providence Friars for four quarters only to fall 49-46.
Seeded in ninth in the Big East womens’ basketball tournament, Georgetown (5-25, 2-16 Big East) took on the eighth-seeded Providence (13-18, 3-15 Big East) for the third time this season in Chicago, Ill., on March 6. The Hoyas split their regular season matchups with the Friars, the last of which came just a week before Big East Tournament play, when the Friars won 62-55 on their home court. This time, the battle would yet again be tightly contested, as Georgetown pulled within a basket just before the final buzzer sounded at Wintrust Arena.
Georgetown struggled offensively throughout the game, a trend that began early on for the Blue and Gray. The Hoyas managed just two field goals in the first quarter and trailed 14-6 after shooting 12.5% from the field on its 16 attempts.
All of Georgetown’s points in the opening period came from graduate student guard Taylor Barnes, who knocked down a pair of triples. The Hoyas’ slow start on offense continued in the second, as neither team scored in the opening five minutes. Finally, the Friars broke the drought with a three-pointer that put the Hoyas down 11 with 5:49 remaining in the first.
Barnes responded on the next possession for the Blue and Gray by knocking down a pair of free throws to bring the margin back into single digits. From here, the Hoyas began to claw their way back into the game. Barnes’ play single-handedly sparked Georgetown’s comeback attempts as she buried her third three-pointer of the game after senior forward Anita Kelava blocked a Providence shot. Sophomore forward Shanniah Wright hit a pair of free throws after collecting her own miss and drawing the foul, marking Georgetown’s first points from a player other than Barnes. In the final 30 seconds of the half, Barnes connected on another three-pointer to bring the game within four at 20-16.
Providence increased its advantage in the third quarter, leading by seven for the majority of the period. Georgetown managed to stay within single digits through the first five minutes of the period behind contributions from Kelava and Barnes.
Despite trading baskets with the Friars to begin the third, Georgetown conceded eight unanswered points to Providence after missing its five attempts during the run to bring the score to 33-22 with 3:13 left in the quarter.
Providence’s lead grew to as many as 11 twice in the quarter. The second 11-point lead prompted consecutive three-pointers by Barnes and graduate student guard Brianna Jones to close out the third period. With just a quarter remaining, the Blue and Gray trailed 35-30.
Georgetown repeatedly fought back to begin the fourth quarter, cutting Providence’s lead down to three only to have the Friars respond each time with clutch baskets of their own. Just across the halfway point of the quarter, Georgetown was down seven and in need of a run to extend their season beyond the first round of the Big East Tournament.
Within the final two minutes, the Hoyas made one last push. Kelava converted a pair of free throws to begin the run while a turnover by Providence led to a three-pointer from Barnes. After the Friars hit a layup, Barnes knocked down another triple to bring the game to 46-44 with 41 seconds on the clock.
After fouling to extend the game, Georgetown fell behind by four and was in desperate need of a bucket with just 35 seconds left. Two missed three-point opportunities by sophomore guards Tayanna Jones and Cassandra Gordon seemed to end the Hoyas’ chances of pulling out the come-from-behind victory. Despite Kelava converting on a layup in the paint in the last two seconds to pull within two yet again, a last-second foul sent the Friars back to the line to grab the 49-46 victory.
Barnes led the way for the Hoyas offensively, tallying 25 points behind six three-pointers. Kelava chipped in with eight points, while Brianna Jones added seven of her own. While the defense was able to keep Providence in check by forcing 18 turnovers, the Hoyas shot just 19% from the field, their lowest percentage on the season in one of their lowest-scoring games of the year.
After closing out their 2018-19 season with a 19-16 record and 9-9 conference record, the Hoyas end their 2019-20 campaign with just five wins on the season. With a dominant UConn women’s program entering an already competitive conference next year, Georgetown faces a difficult road ahead to return to a winning record next season.