Friared up: Women’s basketball finishes the regular season with an emphatic win

February 26, 2018

The Georgetown women’s basketball team (14-14, 9-9 Big East) finished the regular season on a high note with a resounding victory over Providence (10-20, 3-15 Big East) at McDonough Arena on Sunday. The Hoyas took a huge lead in the first quarter and never looked back, cruising to their third win in their last four games by a score of 74-48.

It was an even matchup for the first couple minutes and the score was knotted at four after a jumper from Providence’s leading scorer, junior guard Jovana Nogic, at the 7:07 mark. From there, Georgetown took over. The Friars were blanked for the remainder of the first quarter and did not score again until the 6:03 mark of the second period. The Hoyas put together a masterful defensive performance early on, holding their opponent to 2-9 shooting and 10 turnovers in the first quarter, while building up a lead through solid execution on the offensive end.

Georgetown head coach James Howard was delighted with the flawless execution of his defensive game plan. “Defensively we were locked in,” he said. “We noticed some action, some thing that they run that we wanted to take away. We always said from the beginning that we are a defensive team first. We must play defense in order to win.”

Junior guard Dionna White led the way on offense early in the game with 10 first quarter points. Midway through the period, she cleanly picked Nogic’s pocket and raced to the bucket to put her team up 10-4. Two minutes later, she again used her speed on the fastbreak to Georgetown’s advantage, this time finishing through a foul and converting the free throw to put her team up double-digits. By the end of the quarter, the Hoyas led 18-4.

The second period began with more of the same as Providence struggled to contain Georgetown’s offense and failed to put up any points itself. At the 7:31 mark, senior forward Cynthia Petke grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately went back up for an easy layup to put her team on top 22-4. That rebound was one of a career-high 17 for Petke, including eight on the offensive end.

After the game, Petke reflected on how she was able to be so effective on the glass in her final game at McDonough Arena. “I knew that they couldn’t box me out just from watching film,” she said. “I just figured at a certain point in the game I had to go in there and rebound and try to do something for this team because it was a big night for us.”

With less than four minutes to go to the half, the Hoyas extended their lead to 23 on a jumper from freshman forward Tatiana Thompson. At that point, the Friars began to fight back, putting together a small spurt to close the half, capped off by a three pointer from Nogic with 23 seconds remaining. At the break, the Hoyas still had a big advantage, leading 36-19.

The Friars defensive play improved marginally in the second half, but they still struggled to score enough points to make it close. They scored just three points in the first six minutes of the third quarter as the Hoyas held them to just 33.3 percent shooting overall in the period.

White was a major reason why Providence was unable to be effective on the offensive end, as she racked up four steals. “We have a goal every game to keep teams under 50 and when we do that we win,” she said. “[We were] really focusing on that so we can carry that defensive effort into the [Big East] tournament.”

The Friars did eventually find some scoring, with 10 points in the final 3:38 of the third quarter, including eight from Nogic. They had brought the lead under 20 until a pull-up jumper from Petke put Georgetown up 53-32 to close the period.

The Hoyas’ advantage only increased in the fourth quarter, as Petke led the way on offense. She scored 12 points in the period and notched her 16th double-double on the season in the process. With less than three minutes remaining, the Hoyas led by 33, their largest advantage of the afternoon. At that point, Howard emptied his bench as the senior starters exited to cheers from the home fans. The Friars put together another small run at the end, but the game was well out of reach.

Nogic led all scorers with 25 for Providence, as her teammate, freshman guard Olivia Orlando, chipped in nine points and seven rebounds. For the Hoyas, White had an impressive all-around performance, strengthening her case for Big East Player of the Year. She had 23 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals, and a block. Petke had 21 points and 17 rebounds while senior guard Mikayla Venson added 12 points on an efficient 6-9 shooting.

Howard was thrilled with the result, especially for his seniors, and now turns his attention to the upcoming Big East tournament.

“Every team starts 0-0, so now it’s about the focus,” he said. “It’s about the defense. It’s about doing all the little things. The fundamentals now become very important. So we’re going to go back and prepare this week and I think mentally they’ll be ready.”

The Hoyas’ first game of the Big East tournament will take place March 4 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Georgetown finished sixth in the Big East and will play third-place Villanova (22-7, 12-6 Big East) in the final game of the day. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2. Follow @GUVoiceSports in Twitter for live updates and breaking news.

Aaron Wolf
Former Sports Executive and 2020 Georgetown College graduate. Enjoyer of OPS.

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