Georgetown University women’s basketball lost a grueling game to the Creighton Bluejays at home Feb. 15, as two free throws with just under four seconds to play gave Creighton a 42-41 victory.
Despite the press from Georgetown (1-11, 1-11 Big East), Creighton (6-8, 5-5 Big East) relied on three-pointers to sweep the season series 2-0.
The Hoyas’ starting lineup consisted of freshman guard Kelsey Ransom, graduate student guard Milan Bolden-Morris, junior forward Jillian Archer, graduate student forward Taylor Baur and sophomore forward Graceann Bennett.
Georgetown opened with intensity on the defensive end, starting the game with a three-quarter court press. After a shot clock violation with 6:41 left to play, Georgetown landed interior buckets from Bennett and Ransom, while Creighton hit two three-pointers through the trap defense to leave the score tied at 6 points with 4:18 to play.
Freshman guard Yasmin Ott was a spark off the bench in the first quarter, hitting a contested jumper before Bennett went to the bench with her second foul of the quarter. Creighton guard Temi Carda was tasked with leading her offense through the Georgetown pressure in the second half of the quarter. Creighton continued to score, led by guard/forward Morgan Maly. Creighton’s deep shooting carried it in the first half, as it hit four of eight three-pointers and no two-pointers in the second quarter.
Georgetown Head Coach James Howard deployed his three-quarter court pressure and trap defense to limit the amount of time Creighton had to run its offense. When asked about his strategy after the game, Howard made it clear that he wanted to slow down the Bluejay offense. He did just that, holding them to 26% shooting from the field for the game.
“Try to run some clock, they run a very good half-court offense with slip, pop, curl,” Howard said in a postgame press conference. “If you have to play against that for 26 seconds you’ll fall asleep. If they start and have 22, 21 seconds, it could work to our advantage.”
Junior forward Shanniah Wright scored with eight seconds to play, cutting the deficit to 14-13. Late in the second quarter, Creighton guard Tatum Rembao left the game with a leg injury. Without Rembao and guard Molly Mogensen, who missed the game with an illness, the Bluejays would need to find new players to lead the offense.
In the first half, each team committed seven turnovers. Bolden-Morris led the Hoyas with 7 points, while Pryor led the Bluejays with five as six different Bluejays had converted a three-pointer. Georgetown stayed close with a 20-15 rebound advantage.
Though Georgetown’s offensive rebounds gave the team more opportunities, it failed to convert the looks that came as a result. Howard noted that taking advantage of offensive rebounds was something to improve in future close games.
“I think that is big — it’s about getting it at the rim and using your pivot,” Howard said. “If you’re not going to get a high percentage shot, don’t make it worse and find an open teammate.”
With 6:51 to play, there was a long review after a defensive foul by Creighton, resulting in an intentional foul on Ransom. The subsequent free throws gave Creighton a 27-24 lead, but Georgetown defense prevented any further damage. Georgetown scored on its next two possessions to take a 28-27 lead, its first since the opening quarter.
Creighton opened the fourth quarter with a shot clock violation, its third of the half. With 7:20 to play, Carda hit a layup to open the fourth quarter scoring for Creighton. Bennett scored at the rim on a feed by Ransom with 5:17 to play, putting the Hoyas up 37-35 and ending the scoring drought. Bennett scored the Hoyas’ next bucket as well, showing off her post moves and interior touch as her teammates found her consistently in the fourth quarter.
After two Hoyas collided and fell trying to secure a defensive rebound, Creighton missed an open eight-foot shot from the baseline, prompting Howard to call timeout with 1:50 to play and a 39-35 lead. Bolden-Morris then hit a baseline floater to extend the lead, followed by a deep three-pointer from Maly that cut Creighton’s deficit to three as the Bluejays called timeout.
The ball went out of bounds with 50 seconds left, prompting an extensive review that gave the Hoyas possession. A turnover with 31 seconds left gave the Bluejays a chance to tie. Carda was fouled shooting a two-pointer with 22 seconds to play, and she hit both free throws. A jump ball with eight seconds to play after multiple fouls gave Creighton possession before Georgetown could even reach the bonus and shoot free throws.
Coach Howard was disappointed with the team’s spacing on that play after the game, noting that Bennett should not have even had the ball.
“We were supposed to have one pop to the half court,” Howard said. “Grace was the last option. When they collapsed on her, she lost her balance.”
Carda drew two free throws with less than four seconds to play, hitting them both to give the Bluejays the lead. The Bluejays left Washington, D.C., with a 42-41 win on the back of a 7-0 run over the final 93 seconds of play.
Bolden-Morris was Georgetown’s most consistent offensive threat, scoring 17 points in her 35 minutes of action on six of nine shooting. Bennett played 31 minutes despite consistent foul trouble, recording 9 points and six rebounds in another solid performance for the sophomore. Bennett has greatly improved at both ends of the court in her two years on the Hilltop.
Carda led the Bluejays with her 13 points, though she shot an inefficient 3 of 16 in her 40 minutes of action. Creighton shot 26% from the field, though it made nine of its 28 free throws for 32% shooting from deep.
Georgetown returns to action against Seton Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 18 in South Orange, N.J., looking to avenge its 8-point loss from Feb. 8.