The Georgetown women’s basketball team tipped off its season on the road in North Carolina on Tuesday against the Davidson University Wildcats, who defeated the Hoyas 66-52.
This matchup was Georgetown’s (0-1) first action on the court since its Women’s National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals loss March 31 to James Madison University. After this tournament, Georgetown lost its top three scorers: Dionna White, Dorothy Adomako and Mikayla Venson. The Tuesday night game against Davidson marks the first of 11 nonconference games before the Hoyas begin Big East conference play against Creighton University in late December.
The Hoyas opened the game with a pair of new players in the starting lineup, as freshman forward Graceann Bennett and graduate guard Taylor Barnes began the game on the floor. Both teams battled back and forth at the start of the game, but a pair of Wildcat runs put the Hoyas in an early 22-10 deficit. Davidson went on a 7-0 run in the middle of the quarter to create early separation, but Barnes buried a jumper to stop the run. Davidson immediately responded by scoring five straight points to increase its lead to 14. A layup by sophomore forward Shanniah Wright in the final minute cut the Hoya deficit to 12 after the first 10-minute period.
The Hoyas struggled to score in the second quarter, managing just six points, four of which came from junior forward Tatiana Thompson. Both teams fell into a dry spell, however, to start the quarter, as the teams combined to score just five points in the opening five minutes. Coach Howard later called a timeout to get his team to regroup after the deficit swelled to 15.
Despite having the timeout to recover and discuss offensive sets, the Hoyas continued to struggle to find the bottom of the net while Davidson began to find its rhythm. In the final four minutes, the Wildcats tallied nine points to increase the lead to 20. A pair of free throws in the closing seconds before halftime by Wright slightly cut into the lead, making the score 34-16 as both teams entered the locker room.
Senior forward Anita Kelava hit a layup on the Hoyas’ opening possession of the third quarter, but Davidson answered right back with a bucket of their own. The teams exchanged points as the period progressed, keeping the difference to 16 after a back-and-forth stretch. Davidson would go on to take as large as a 20-point lead at one point in the third quarter before Thompson answered with a jumper. The Hoyas failed to make a sizeable dent in the Wildcat lead before the quarter was over, but senior guard Marvellous Osagie-Erese’s layup at the buzzer made the score 51-34 as the teams prepared for the fourth quarter.
The Blue and Gray made several runs in the fourth quarter to shrink the Davidson lead, but each run was halted by the Wildcats answering with a timely bucket. Sophomore guard Nikola Kovacikova hit a layup to trim the margin to 13 with just over six minutes remaining. On Davidson’s next possession, however, they gathered a big offensive rebound off a missed three and buried the putback.
With 4:30 remaining in regulation, graduate guard Brianna Jones checked in and hit a three that tightened the game to 57-43. Once again, though, Davidson collected an offensive rebound and scored on a putback on its next possession to stifle the Hoyas’ momentum.
On the next Georgetown offensive possession, Kelava snatched down a rebound off the miss from Kovacikova before being fouled. The senior went to the line, hitting two free throws to cut the lead back down to 14 in the final minutes. Sophomore guard Cassandra Gordon then nailed a jumper, which reduced the lead to 12, the lowest it had been since late in the first half. In response, Davidson came back down on its next two trips and hit back-to-back threes, effectively ending the game by extending its lead to 65-47 with just over two minutes left. A three by Kovacikova proved to be too little, too late as the Hoyas fell 66-52, putting them at 0-1 for the season.
Kovacikova, finishing with 12 points, and Kelava, scoring 10 of her own, were the high scorers for Georgetown. Kelava also grabbed nine rebounds, five of which were offensive, giving the Hoyas extra possessions down the stretch, while Kovacikova pulled down seven boards as well.
Georgetown will return to Washington, D.C., for its home opener against the University of Richmond on Tuesday, Nov. 12.