Dogs on the loose: Petke’s big night lifts women’s basketball to upset over Villanova

March 5, 2018

The No. 6-seed Georgetown women’s basketball team (15-14, 9-9 Big East) beat the No. 3-seed Villanova (22-8, 12-6 Big East) in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1999. Senior forward Cynthia Petke led the Hoyas with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while junior guard Dionna White added 20 points. Senior guard Alex Louin led the Wildcats with 13 points.

Villanova started hot, opening the game on a 16-4 run. Petke was the only source of early offense for the Hoyas, scoring Georgetown’s first eight points. Desperately needing a spark, White hit a buzzer beater three to end the first quarter and get her first points of the game, but the Hoyas trailed 19-11.

Throughout the second quarter, the Hoyas clawed their way back into the game, at one point trailing only by two. Two layups from sophomore forward Mary Gedaka extended the Wildcats lead to six, and after a four-minute scoring drought, the Wildcats were able to close out the half with a layup from Alex Louin to maintain their lead.

The Hoyas caught the Wildcats in the third, at one point tying the game on a Petke layup, and later taking the lead on a jumper from senior guard Mikayla Venson. However, Villanova sophomore guard Adrianna Hahn was fouled on the final play of the quarter. She made both free throws and the Wildcats entered the final quarter up by one.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Petke said of getting the win in the fourth quarter. “We had to go for every rebound, contest every shot.”

The Wildcats jumped out to an early five-point lead to open the fourth, but the Hoyas fought their way back into it. Down by one with 5:41 remaining in the game, White had a signature steal that led to an easy layup to give the Hoyas the lead. On the Hoyas’ next possession, with the game tied at 50, Petke hit a huge three to give the Hoyas a lead they would never relinquish. After both teams failed to score for almost four minutes, Georgetown sophomore forward Morgan Smith got a layup to take the Hoyas lead up to five. The Wildcats however, would not go away. Hahn hit a big three on the next possession. After a Georgetown timeout, White cut to the basket for a layup that extended Georgetown’s lead to four. Villanova was then forced to foul, and the combination of White, Venson, and Petke hit six of their eight free throws down the stretch to seal the game.

Reflecting on getting the win in his first season as Georgetown Head Coach, James Howard said, “This win comes along with all who came before me, the coaches, all of those players who came before me, worked hard, and played.”

After losing to the Wildcats twice in the regular season, once by two points and once by one, Georgetown was able to avoid losing for a third time.

“It’s difficult to beat a team three times, Villanova Head Coach Harry Perretta said. “The more times we play somebody, the harder it is to beat them. They become accustomed to our style.”

The Hoyas will take on No. 2-seed DePaul (24-7, 15-3 Big East) on Monday in the semifinals. Georgetown split its games this year with the Blue Demons, beating them most recently on the road by a score of 86-85. The Blue Demons beat Seton Hall 78-52 in the quarterfinals. They were led by junior forward Mart’e Grays, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Demons.

Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. central time at the Wintrust Arena in downtown Chicago. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1. Follow @GUVoiceSports for Game day updates and breaking news.

Beth Cunniff
Beth graduated from the College in 2019. She was Voice's alumni outreach manager, and the former sports editor. She accepts her role as a privileged Boston sports fan, but there’s really nothing she can do about it.

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