After dropping three straight games and seeing their record dip below .500, the Georgetown women’s basketball team bounced back to 4-3 by defeating Northwestern and Florida International University this week.
The Hoyas’ thrilling 55-54 win over Northwestern proved to be their only bright spot during their stay in Nashville for the Challenge in the Music City over Thanksgiving weekend. The last-minute win came after double-digit losses at the hands of Auburn and Chattanooga to begin tournament play. The tournament games saw the Hoyas produce their lowest offensive outputs of the season at 40 and 41 points, respectively.
Against Northwestern, the squad regained some of its firepower as it posted 55 points behind the work of senior forward Cynthia Petke, junior guard Dionna White and senior guard Mikayla Venson. The trio combined for 49 of the team’s 55 total points for the game.
“Anytime you see our three leading scorers with the numbers that they had tonight, you’re going to probably see a win,” Head Coach James Howard said.
After letting an 11-point halftime lead slip away in the third quarter, the Hoyas showed serious resolve and prevented the Wildcats from running away with the game. Freshman forward Tatiana Thompson calmly nailed one of two free throws with one second remaining to give Georgetown its one-point victory.
The Hoyas returned home after Thanksgiving break to face the FIU Panthers. Georgetown came out of the gate slowly, and the score was tied at 31 at the end of the first half. Howard felt one reason for the mediocre start may have been the team’s packed schedule.
“In the second half, they came out with a lot more energy,” Howard said. “I could tell right away that in the first half that those three back-to-back games had played its toll on our legs. We looked sluggish.”
Howard urged his players to look within themselves to change the dynamic of the game.
“Deep down inside somewhere you have more,” Howard said. “When you think that you’re defeated, you’re not. Dig deeper. Dig deeper because inside of you you’ve got that second wind.”
The team separated themselves in the second half by outscoring FIU 46-25, en route to the 77-56 victory.
The second-half explosion was due largely to three of the team’s main catalysts on offense — Petke, White and Venson — who accounted for 60 of the team’s 77 points.
Petke and White provided an incredible boost on the glass as well: They snatched 29 of the group’s 49 rebounds, which proved to be instrumental in limiting FIU to 10 second-chance points.
Offensive efficiency has become a staple of White’s career as she scored her 1,000th point against the Panthers in her third season as a Hoya.
For Howard, the change in results over the last two games is due primarily to the uptick in offensive efficiency. He praised his team’s defensive effort throughout the season but admitted to some inconsistency on offense.
“During the losing streak, the ball wasn’t going in the hole. We missed a lot of good looks from George Washington, to Auburn, to Chattanooga, we had the same looks,” Howard said. “Tonight, we were able to finish, and defensively we’re still defending well, and we defended all three of those games in those losses.”
The Hoyas will look to build off these two consecutive victories when they host Minnesota on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in McDonough Arena.