The Georgetown’s women’s basketball team (22-8) will play the Fresno State Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon in Chapel Hill in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Going into the game, the team is focusing all its energy on taking the tournament title.
“We didn’t really care where we were going, who we were playing,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “At this point we’ve been off for a week and a half and we just want to play.”
The 17th-ranked Hoyas learned Monday night that they would be the fifth seed in the Des Moines region. The Hoyas have made the tournament three times in the past, and last year beat Princeton and Maryland to advance to the Sweet 16 before falling to top-ranked Connecticut after losing their lead late in the game.
Georgetown suffered a disappointing loss to West Virginia in its first game of the Big East Tournament, but posted big wins against ranked opponents Georgia, Miami, and Rutgers during the season.
Fresno State made it into the tournament after winning the Western Atlantic Conference. They have also won 17 of their last 18 games, but didn’t play a ranked opponent during that entire stretch.
The Bulldogs are led by sophomore Ki-Ki Moore, who transferred from Washington State but earned the WAC player of the year award in her first season on the team. She had 6 double doubles this season, averaged 16.6 points per game, and shoots 34% from beyond the arc.
Georgetown has experience on its side heading into the tournament, having gone through a grueling Big East schedule and boasting seven seniors on its roster. They realize that every game has the potential to be their last, and will be taking that mindset into the game on Sunday. However, the relatively untested Bulldogs are making their fifth straight appearance in the Big Dance.
“We want to go out with a bang,” senior guard Rubylee Wright said. “Everybody knows what it’s going to take, and the different level to get to the Sweet 16”.
Although Georgetown had a disappointing end to the season, falling to St. John’s in the final home game before the West Virginia loss, the squad feels that it is a veteran team that knows how to look past these setbacks.
“I feel like we’ve been playing good, but that season’s over,” said junior guard Sugar Rodgers, who leads the Hoyas in scoring. “It’s a different season, and we’re just going to go out and play hard.”
One thing that could make it feel like a new season is that Sunday’s game comes exactly two weeks after their exit from the Big East Tournament. This break did give the Hoyas a chance to get fresh legs and regain their strength; it’s also a long time to stay focused. Fresno State, for one, has played 3 times since Georgetown’s last game.
If the Hoyas advance past Fresno State, they will play the winner of the Georgia Tech vs. Sacred Heart game on Tuesday, and can expect to face top-seeded and undefeated Baylor in the Sweet 16 if they win that game. However, the Hoyas know not to look down the road just yet, as anything can happen in their first game.
“This is the tournament; try not to look out past anybody,” senior forward Tia Magee said. “I’m going to go out and play like it’s my last game, because it might be.”