At first glance, the games that the Georgetown women’s basketball team played over the weekend paint a picture of a struggling group. After dropping two games Friday and Saturday, the team is on a five-game losing skid with a 2-6 record overall.
However, Georgetown’s close losses to Florida (5-1) 81-73 on Friday and to Holy Cross (1-7) 73-69 on Sunday were not without positive signs, as the Hoyas’ competitive and resilient spirit hinted at the potential of the young squad.
“I think it came down to the end and just some inexperience that didn’t go our way,” Head Coach Natasha Adair said. “But I thought we sent a message — this is who we can be, this is how hard we can play.”
The Hoyas went into Friday’s home game against Florida with a head full of steam, taking a four-point advantage into halftime after holding the lead for most of the first 20 minutes.
The Hoyas came out of the break and maintained their lead through the first eight minutes of the second half, but the rest of the game proved to be a back-and-forth battle. Florida took its first lead of the second half, 52-51, with 11:09 to play before pushing its lead to 64-56 with seven minutes left.
The Hoyas clawed back to within two points of their opponents from the Southeastern Conference with less than two minutes to play, but were forced to foul as time ran down at the end of regulation. The Gators held off the Hoyas to earn an 81-73 victory.
Freshman guard Dorothy Adomako led all scorers with 20 points, her career-high after six games, and added 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.
“[During] the Florida game, first and foremost, we had great energy, a great crowd,” Adair said. “The momentum was our way coming out of that locker room. And really, I can’t even say it was effort or intensity or focus — I thought we played extremely hard.”
The Hoyas looked to bounce back against a then-winless Holy Cross team Sunday during the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge. Unlike the game against Florida, where the team had control early on, Georgetown fell behind early as Holy Cross raced to a 17-7 lead.
Despite a rough start and a 36-29 halftime deficit, the Hoyas were still within striking distance. After a run sparked by sophomore forward Faith Woodard, the Hoyas battled to pull themselves within one point of the Crusaders, 65-64, with only three minutes left in regulation. However, Holy Cross managed to hold on for a 73-69 victory after Georgetown missed a couple of shots.
The team’s juniors led the way for the Hoyas against their Patriot League challengers. Guard Katie McCormick went 7-of-11 from the field to lead all scorers with 19 points, while forward Dominique Vitalis pulled down a team-high 14 rebounds. Forward Logan Battle also added 13 points and eight rebounds to the Hoyas’ effort.
“There’s just a lot of stuff we have to work on defensively. I think we have a lot of trouble meshing still because we’re a very young team. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made, but we’re excited,” Vitalis said. “We don’t take [these games] lightly, we just keep working.”
The Hoyas are already putting the losses behind them as they look forward to playing Princeton (7-0) on Saturday. The Tigers are the only Ivy League team with an unbeaten non-conference record and will look to defend their home court against the Hoyas.
Despite the challenge that Princeton poses, Georgetown is far from intimidated.
“I’m excited. I’m ready to play them,” Vitalis said. “Because they haven’t lost a game, it just fuels me even more, and it’s fueling the team. I think this week is going to be crucial in preparing for them, and I think we’re really ready to go.”
For Adair, the key to winning the game is a strong defense.
“Princeton runs that motion offense. They cut; they move,” Adair said. “It’s going to come down to what we do defensively, what stops we get and just making sure they don’t get to run and execute without being contested or contained.”
This game will be another test for a young Georgetown team that features five freshmen and no seniors. Adair sees the team’s nonconference schedule as a way to prepare an inexperienced team for tough Big East play.
“The fact that we are fighting this hard and competing this hard against tough opponents that have had the experience and the time to gel together is making us a better team,” Adair said.
Despite disappointing results so far, the Hoyas continue to show signs of improvement. They are playing tough opponents and putting together solid runs, even when they fall behind their opponents in scoring.
The next step for the team is to move past the disadvantage of inexperience, which it hopes to achieve through teamwork.
“I learned that they are a family, and that they really want to be successful as just one unit,” Adair said. “There’s no individual — they put the team before themselves. Teams like that will find a way, teams like that won’t go astray.”
In the Hoyas’ eyes, it is only a matter of time before the team starts to gel and reach its potential as a group. The Hoyas will have the chance to see if that time has come when they play Princeton in Princeton, N.J., at 2 p.m. on Saturday.