After losing in the second round of the Big East Tournament to the No. 6 University of Connecticut Huskies by 30 points March 4, the Georgetown University women’s basketball team finished off an improved, yet still below average season.
The Hoyas (14-17, 6-14 Big East) entered the Big East Tournament, which was hosted at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., ranked ninth out of 11 teams in the conference.
In the first round, Georgetown put up an impressive defensive performance to push past the eighth-seeded Butler Bulldogs (11-19, 6-14 Big East), winning 53-46. Having lost twice to the Bulldogs earlier in the season, once by 24 points and the second time in a heartbreaker by just 2 points, the win signified the team’s season-long growth and ability to perform in postseason play. Junior forward Jada Claude, who scored 17 points, led the team with her consistent offensive performance, while first-year guard Kennedy Fauntleroy helped seal the deal with 4 points to pull away in the final minutes.
Notably, it was the Hoya team defense that helped Georgetown earn its tournament win over the usually sharp-shooting Bulldogs. Despite letting Butler score 17 points in the first quarter, Georgetown recovered to allow only 11 Bulldog points in the next two quarters and shut Butler’s normally sharp field goal shooting down to just 31.1%.
Although the Hoyas avenged themselves against Butler, the UConn Huskies (27-5, 18-2 Big East), the top-seeded team in the Big East, proved a tougher opponent to surmount. The Hoyas were held to only 12 points at halftime to the Huskies’ 35 points, and despite showing grit by pulling off a 6-point run at the start of the fourth quarter, the Huskies dominated the game, winning 69-39.
The Hoyas exited the Big East Tournament in the quarterfinals, the same spot they did the year before. However, this season showed some impressive improvements for the team, especially considering the abysmal 2-15 showing the team posted during the 2020-2021 season.
This year, the team improved to a .452 winning percentage, more than doubling each of their past three seasons’ percentages. In addition, the Hoyas racked up several Big East accolades, including Freshman of the Year and All-Freshman Team for Fauntleroy, Honorable Mention All-Big East Team for junior guard Kelsey Ransom and the Big East Sportsmanship Award for senior forward Graceann Bennett.
Despite the improved record, the Hoyas still have much to work on during the offseason. The Hoyas remained at the bottom of their conference, as they have for the past three seasons, earning only four wins against conference opponents in 20 games. In addition, the team has not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 2012 and has not played in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, a tournament for teams who do not receive an NCAA Tournament playoff berth, since 2019.
Adding to the challenges, the team is losing the experience and talent of graduate transfer guard Kristina Moore next year. Bennett, a notable leader on the team, has been a reliable rock for the team throughout her four seasons; she will still have her fifth year of NCAA eligibility next season if she opts to use it.
As leading scorer Ransom moves into her senior year, she and other consistent players like Claude and sophomore forward Brianna Scott can be expected to step up into more leadership positions to combat the overall winning drought the program is facing.
Just nine days after the team’s definitive loss to UConn ended the season, Francis X. Rienzo Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed announced that the university would not be renewing its contract with former Head Coach James Howard.
Howard, who has served in the position for the past six years, had an overall record of 66-108 and a .379 winning percentage. In a March 13 Georgetown Athletics statement, he thanked Georgetown, saying “Georgetown will always hold a special place in my heart. I was fortunate to build relationships that will continue as I move on to the next opportunity.”
A national search is ongoing for a new head coach, according to the announcement.
Although there has been no official word regarding the new coaching staff for the team, the 2023-2024 season may be an opportunity for the Hoyas to turn a new page with new leadership.
Leave a Reply