Bounced out: Women’s basketball falls in WNIT second round to Duquesne

March 20, 2018

An encouraging season has come to close.

The Georgetown women’s basketball team (16-16, 9-9 Big East) fell to Duquesne (25-7, 13-3 A-10) 69-66 on Monday night in McDonough Arena. Junior guard Dionna White led the Hoyas with 33 points and 11 rebounds, while senior forward Cynthia Petke posted 24 points and 10 rebounds in her final collegiate game. Petke missed a chance to tie the game with 4.1 seconds remaining with a corner three that was partially blocked by the Dukes. Duquesne was led by junior guard Chassidy Omogrosso, who recorded 22 points and five assists.

“They hit key shots at key times,” Georgetown head coach James Howard said of the Dukes. “They’re very good at what they do offensively and make you pay, so you have to be very disciplined with your defense.”

Out of the gate, the Hoyas were locked in on both sides of the ball, racing out to a 20-11 lead thanks to crisp ball movement and defensive activity that took the Dukes out of their rhythm. Once the Dukes found a sweet spot, however, they were difficult to stop, as evidenced by an 18-0 run that spanned two quarters and led to the Hoyas facing a 29-20 deficit midway through the 2nd period.

“Just running off a lot of screens, and two of their guards hit big shots,” White said of the Dukes’ spurt.

However, the Hoyas would regroup, staying aggressive offensively and making key defensive plays that energized the crowd. With 4:24 remaining in the first half and the Hoyas trailing 31-26, Petke stole the ball from the Dukes and was promptly wrapped up by junior guard Juliana Vojinovic as she hustled to the other end. Vojinovic was assessed an unsportsmanlike foul, which brought the McDonough Arena crowd to its feet as White headed to the line to take the technical free throws. Duquesne would stretch its lead out once more, this time to 39-28, but the Hoyas would close the quarter on a 6-0 spurt and trailed just 39-34 heading into the halftime break.

The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair, as the Hoyas battled to take back the lead on an and-one conversion by senior center Yazmine Belk, who finished through contact on an offensive rebound put-back. Petke nailed one of her two three-pointers on the night off of a slick pass from White to give the Hoyas a 47-45 advantage,, but Georgetown would eventually relinquish the lead again to the Dukes, who made it 54-50 at the end of the period.

In the final period, it appeared that the Dukes were starting to put the game out of reach. Omogrosso hit two foul shots early in the period to make it 58-50, the largest lead for the Dukes since the first half. However, the Hoyas would answer with a run, fueled by back-to-back buckets by Petke and a long three-pointer from White, drawing to 60-57. Following a few misses around the basket for the Hoyas, the Dukes extended the lead back out to 67-62 with under a minute remaining in the contest. After the teams traded two-point baskets, White was fouled in the act of shooting with 39 seconds remaining, and drained both free throws to pull Georgetown within three once more, at 69-66. The Hoyas elected not to foul, defending the Dukes straight up, and got a stop with nine seconds remaining. Howard called timeout, setting up the final play of the game.

“The last play was designed for Dionna, but they switched it,” Howard said. “We were trying to set a double screen for Dionna to come across, and CP [Petke] was the next option for us.”

After White was denied an open look, Petke faded to the corner, where multiple Dukes converged on her. The senior took a contested shot which fell short, ending the Hoyas WNIT run and season. Yet, the premature ending did not cloud the vision of the future for White, who articulated personal and team goals for the Hoyas in the offseason.

“Just working on my midrange, and my three-pointers, which open up my lanes to the basket,” White said. “Getting more consistent with the pull-up and the three. As for the team, it’s coming together, playing hard, and working hard at the same time.”

Howard looked back on the season with pride, and envisions a promising 2018-19 campaign for these Hoyas. Howard also commended his team’s perseverance through issues of personnel, as Georgetown was without senior guard Dorothy Adomako due to an injury.

“Their progress was great,” Howard said. “Learning the will to win, and learning the will to fight. I think we fought all year. We knew we were under-manned all year, not having Dorothy Adomako and being forced to start three small guards. But our kids fought. They knocked down some records that haven’t been knocked down in years here, because of their fight. The future is very bright.”

“We’re gonna get back at it, we’re going to develop the kids we have and work our tails off until next November, to try and be that team,” Howard added as a promise for the offseason.

For coverage of our spring sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and breaking news.

Santul Nerkar
Santul is the Voice's former executive culture editor and Halftime Sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @SantulN to become one of his rare few followers.

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