The Georgetown women’s basketball team (4-4, Big East) lost to a hot-shooting Minnesota team (9-1, Big Ten) 73-63 on Thursday night at McDonough Arena. The Hoyas stayed with the Gophers step-for-step in the first half, but were outscored 24-12 in the third quarter when Minnesota senior guard Carlie Wagner exploded for 15 of her game-high 31 points. The Gophers shot 52.6 percent from the field overall, including a staggering 72 percent in the second half.
The visitors raced out to an early lead, forcing a Georgetown timeout just 3:36 into the game after Wagner hit three early shots to help the Gophers to a 12-5 lead. Two baskets from senior forward Cynthia Petke cut the Gopher lead to one, however, and the Hoyas responded to another spurt from Minnesota with two three-pointers from senior guard Mikayla Venson.
“[Shooting the three] is one of my strengths, and I’m willing to provide whatever the team needs from me,” said Venson, who finished with four triples on the evening.
The Hoyas defense tightened up in the second quarter to relieve the burden of keeping up from Venson and junior guard Dionna White, the team’s leading scorer, as Minnesota shot just 22.2 percent in the frame, their worst field goal percentage in a quarter by over thirty points. With both guards sharing the load offensively, the Hoyas outscored the Gophers 13-8 in the second quarter to head into the half with a 31-30 lead.
The second half, however, was a different story. The Hoyas traded baskets with the Gophers early on, but that trend proved unsustainable as Wagner began to take over on offense, using her three-pointer and midrange game to give the Hoyas nightmares on defense.
“We had a big on her, [sophomore guard] Morgan Smith, but she was able to create space, Georgetown head coach James Howard said. “If it was just wide open shots, it’s a concern, but she shot 7-8 from three, 12-14 from the floor with defensive pressure. If they don’t have her tonight, we might walk out of here with a win.”
White echoed her coach. “We played good defense in the second half.” she said. “It took us a while to start back up, and they just made tough shots.”
When it was all said and done, Wagner finished the third a perfect 6-6 from the floor, including 3-3 from deep, as the Gophers opened up a lead of 11 that would swell to sixteen midway through the fourth.
White finished with a team-high 23 for the Hoyas on 10-28 shooting, while Venson added 17 on 6-12, 4-8 from three. Senior center Yazmine Belk also made her presence felt with seven points, eleven rebounds, and five blocks.
The Hoyas return to action Sunday away against North Carolina State (7-2, ACC), and Howard already has his eye on a few things he’d like to prioritize before the matchup.
“I think because of Wagner, we’re still preaching our defense,” Howard said. “If we play within the score we want to give up, we might be victorious. We have to defend better against NC State.”
The Hoyas will tip off at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Follow @GUVoiceSports for more updates and breaking news.