The Georgetown women’s basketball team (3-3 Big East) spent Thanksgiving weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, participating in the Challenge in Music City, a three-day, round-robin style tournament. The Hoyas, Auburn (3-3 SEC), and Northwestern (5-2 Big 10) each managed one win, while Chattanooga (5-3 Southern) dominated the competition, winning all three of its matchups.
Georgetown played its first game at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium on Friday, losing to Auburn 60-40. The Hoyas struggled offensively, converting just 5 of 24 field goals in the first half, but their defense held the Tigers to just 27 first half points. Senior guard Mikayla Venson helped keep Georgetown within six points going into halftime, as she had 13 points going into the break. The Hoyas fell flat in the second half as the Tigers took over with a balanced offensive attack as their lead expanded. Freshman forward Unique Thompson was one of four Auburn players with double-digit scoring, putting up 12 points to go along with seven rebounds, and leading the Tigers to a 20 point victory. Venson finished with a game-high 19 points for the Hoyas.
Georgetown returned the next day against Chattanooga. Head coach James Howard looked to avoid a third straight loss and played just a seven-woman rotation against the Mocs. Despite this aggressive mindset, the Hoyas were unable to find a positive result and trailed the entire game, losing 54-41. This loss can largely be attributed to dismal shooting from Georgetown. The team took 15 more shots than Chattanooga over the course of the game, but went 29.8 percent from the field and did not make a single three. Junior guard Dionna White continued to struggle from the field, converting on just 6 of 21 shots against Chattanooga after going 3-13 in the Auburn game. In the end, the Hoyas were unable to contain the Mocs big three of junior guard Keiana Gilbert, freshman guard Lakelyn Bouldin, and redshirt junior guard Aryanna Gilbert, who scored 17, 14, and 13 points, respectively. White led the way for Georgetown with 12 points, while senior forward Cynthia Petke and senior center Yazmine Belke each scored eight points and grabbed double-digit rebounds.
The Hoyas took on Northwestern on Sunday in their final game of the competition. The Wildcats came into the game with a 5-1 record on the season and had beaten Auburn, the team that blew out Georgetown just two days earlier. The Hoyas jumped out to a 32-21 first half led by impressive offensive play from Petke, Venson, and White. Howard’s squad played even better defense, holding Northwestern to five field goals in the first quarter and zero in the second. The Wildcats’ offensive struggles did not continue, though, as they doubled their halftime score by the end of the third quarter. Junior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and freshman guard Lindsey Pulliam each scored eight points in the third and Northwestern had tied the game at 42 by the end of the period. No team led by more than four points in the fourth quarter, as the game went down to the wire. With Georgetown up 54-52 and 59 seconds remaining White had a chance to extend the lead, but missed a three-point shot and Pulliam was fouled on the next play. Pulliam made 2-2 at the line to tie the game at 54 and the Hoyas had a chance to go ahead with 45 seconds on the clock. A hectic possession led to a missed three-pointer by Petke at 16 seconds, but the Wildcats were unable to corral the rebound and the ball stayed with the Hoyas. Georgetown again was unable to get off a clean shot, but freshman forward Tatiana Thompson was fouled by Wildcats’ senior guard Lydia Rohde with one second remaining. Thompson made the first free throw and, despite missing the second, sealed the game for Georgetown. The Hoyas were able to end their losing streak at three and come out of Nashville with one victory, defeating Northwestern 55-54.
Up next for Georgetown is a matchup with Florida International (2-4 Conference USA) on Wednesday at McDonough Arena. Tip off is slated for 7 PM.