Sword’s length away: Women’s basketball uses scoring runs to see off Xavier

January 4, 2018

The Georgetown women’s basketball team (7-6, 2-1 Big East) beat the Xavier Musketeers (8-5, 1-1 Big East) 65-60 on Tuesday at McDonough Arena in its 2017-18 Big East home opener. The Hoyas came up with scoring runs of 15-1 and 8-2 on either side of halftime to build a lead after falling behind early to Xavier on their way to shooting 41.9 percent from the field on the afternoon.

Georgetown used a balanced scoring attack to break down the Musketeer defense. Junior guard Dionna White paced the Hoyas with 20 points and seven rebounds, and was helped along the way by three seniors: guard Mikayla Venson (15 points, six rebounds), forward Cynthia Petke (13 points, seven rebounds), and center Yazmine Belk (eight points, 12 rebounds, three blocks).

It was the visitors who started on the front foot, as they jumped out a 7-0 lead as part of a blistering opening five minutes from the field that featured three 3-pointers. The Hoyas clawed back in what would ultimately become a high-scoring first quarter, using an 8-0 run to knot the scores at 16. Sophomore guard Morgan Smith’s tip-in gave the Blue & Gray its first lead at 20-19 before Venson’s layup at the horn ended the frame.

The lead continued to change hands in the second quarter as Xavier began another run on a night where they would end up shooting a 45.7 percent clip from the field. Venson’s three-pointer deadlocked things at 27 as part of a 15-1 run capped by another three from Petke. When the halftime buzzer sounded, the Hoyas led, 37-32.

Georgetown picked up right where they left off to begin the third quarter with an 8-2 run featuring six points from White that saw their lead swell to 11. Xavier hung tough, however, and caught fire from beyond the arc to cut the Hoyas lead to three as the third quarter came to a close.

Xavier would tie things up at 54 in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, before Smith’s first three-pointer of the season gave the Hoyas a lead they would never relinquish.

“The team played with a lot of composure down the stretch,” Georgetown Head Coach James Howard said. “Morgan Smith hit a big three-pointer to give us a lead and we came up with big offensive rebounds at the right time. Overall, it was a great team win.”

The Hoyas would milk the clock the rest of the way and grab crucial offensive rebounds to preserve their lead as the game ended 65-60 in favor of the hosts.

Georgetown continues their homestand on Friday night at McDonough against the Butler Bulldogs (9-5, 1-1 Big East) at 7 P.M. The game will be streamed on the Big East Digital Network. Follow @GUVoiceSports for updates and breaking news.

Will Shanahan
is a senior in the McDonough School of Business, and former Sports Executive and Editor of The Voice. He spends his days plotting visits to downstairs Leo's when the omelet line will be short and trying to recall memories of his middling high school football career.

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