The Georgetown University women’s basketball team (9-19, 3-13 Big East) lost to Big East rival Villanova (20-6, 10-5 Big East) in a tightly contested matchup on Sunday, falling to the Wildcats 65-52.
Villanova started strong with excellent performances from the perimeter, and would bank on strong outside shooting to lead them to victory. Center Emily Leer and forward Lauren Buford combined to sink 12 of the team’s 13 three-pointers, each shooting 50 percent from downtown.
Despite their struggles defending the perimeter against the Wildcats, the Hoyas managed to stay competitive by taking the ball inside. Natalie Butler, riding a strong season, added 12 points and 13 rebounds for Georgetown, causing matchup problems for Villanova throughout the game. Forward Andrea White added 16 points and nine rebounds herself. White led the Hoyas in scoring, while Butler had her twenty-first double-double of the season, an impressive mark for any player, let alone a freshman.
Coming out of the halftime break, Villanova started strong, although Georgetown eventually began to stymie their assault. The Hoyas would then go on a run to cut the Wildcats’ lead to only two points. The experienced Wildcats had an answer at every turn, nonetheless, going on an impressive run that led to a 13-point victory that belied the competitiveness of the game.
Despite the numerous disappointments and setbacks that this year’s team has brought, Head Coach Jim Lewis was optimistic about both the team’s recent performances and its ability to grow moving forward. “I wouldn’t say we weren’t playing well,” Lewis said. He would go on to say that his team is “playing much better now,” and the effort to become better as a collective team “has been a process” that has seen the players learn the “ability to really grow as a team” along with discovering how to “learn and respect differences” among different players.
Despite strong play at the beginning of the season, the Georgetown women struggled to win as the season continued. The Hoyas found themselves unable to beat many of their Big East rivals, repeatedly playing intense and competitive games that went into overtime. The strong performances that the Hoyas were able to put together against Big East rivals were still encouraging. In regards to his team’s struggles at the beginning of the conference schedule, Lewis was nothing if not positive, saying, “We had a lot of very competitive and close losses.”
Despite the struggles, Lewis believes that the team has become much better as a unit. “We have grown into a real team of sisterhood,” Lewis said, even if the Hoyas’ recent performances, particularly within the Big East, do not clearly reflect a team that has made a large improvement.
Beyond his praise of his team’s ability to improve on all fronts, Lewis seems most excited to finish out the season on a strong note. “The season’s not over,” Lewis said, as he was clearly anticipating the final home game of the season, expected by many to be a sellout. That game will be played on March 1 in McDonough against Big East rival Providence.