The Georgetown women’s basketball team (2-0, Big East) outlasted the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (0-2, MEAC) 74-55 in McDonough Arena, Friday night. Graduate student guard Dorothy Adomako led the Hoyas with a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Graduate student guard Mikayla Venson and freshman guard Nikola Kovacikova joined her in double figures. Senior guard Ciani Byrom led all scorers with 23 points for the Hawks in the losing effort.
Georgetown began brightly, opening the game with a 5-0 lead, but the Hawks would answer to take a 9-7 lead after two free throws from Byrom before the media timeout. Byrom’s six points in the period wouldn’t keep the Hawks up, as Venson scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers and a deep two at the buzzer to give the Hoyas an 18-14 lead into the break. UMES stayed close by going 6-8 from the free throw line, making up for a 23.1 shooting percentage from the floor. The Hoyas had yet to get to the line.
“We allowed their pressure defensively in the first half to take a couple of our players out of the game,” Georgetown head coach James Howard said. “Mikayla Venson was hot to keep us going early, but when you’re playing a scrappy team like that, it puts you in a position to be on your heels versus attack.”
The Hoyas flew out of the gates in the second quarter though, using a 16-4 run to push the lead to 34-16. Senior guard Brianna Jones and Adomako each scored four points during the run, along with buckets from Kovacikova and Venson. Sophomore forward Tatiana Thompson scored the final five points of the run, but the Hawks would answer with a 10-1 run to finish the half, highlighted by two 3-pointers from senior guard Keyera Eaton.
The Hoyas led 37-28 at halftime, riding Venson’s hot first quarter and shooting over 40 percent from the field to make up for eight turnovers. After no free throws in the first quarter, Georgetown went 4-7 in the second quarter and finished the game 12-17.
The cold spell continued for the Hoyas at the start of the third quarter, with the Hawks picking up where they left off. Byrom, who would finish with 10 points in the quarter, opened the scoring with a 3-pointer to open the half. UMES went on a 7-0 run in the first five minutes during which the Hoyas shot 0-11 from the field.
Freshman forward/center Shanniah Wright broke the drought with two free throws after the media timeout, and on the next trip down the court, Adomako scored a layup in transition. Venson and UMES sophomore guard Porsha Sydnor were both assessed with technical fouls after exchanging words at a dead ball. Kovacikova took over at the end of the third quarter, hitting two 3-pointers and two free throws, and dishing a no-look assist to Adomako. After seeing their lead cut to two points midway through the quarter, the Hoyas extended their lead to as many as 14 before going into the fourth quarter with a 10-point advantage at 53-43.
“I thought we finished [the game] out strong. They kind of rattled us in the third quarter, started playing a little bit more aggressive, but we kept our composure and played as a team and stuck it out,” Venson said.
Kovacikova opened the fourth quarter with another 3-pointer, and Adomako forced a quick timeout from UMES after grabbing an uncontested offensive rebound and laying the ball in. Senior guard Dionna White and Venson each hit from beyond the arc making the score 64-48 with 7:22 remaining, and Adomako got to the line after another no-look pass from Kovacikova that pushed the lead to 18 with 5:46 to play. White hit another layup to make the score 70-52 with 3:33 to go, scoring five points in the final frame after just two in the first three quarters. Byrom scored seven points in the frame, but it wouldn’t be enough for the Hawks to mount a comeback.
“Dionna’s the best player on the team, so what teams are doing is they’re focusing on taking her away,” Howard said. “Dionna gets bumped, Dionna gets hit, but sometimes refs don’t see everything, but she’s got to play through it.”
Kovacikova hit a jumper from the free throw line to finish off an impressive performance with 15 points on 5-6 shooting and five rebounds. Sophomore center Breonna Mayfield put a cherry on top of the win with a baby hook through contact, and the Hoyas made it a comfortable victory with a 21-12 fourth quarter.
“We learned how to be mentally tough coming down the stretch, when you have to fight,” Howard said. “It was a two-point game in the second half, so I thought we were more mentally tough-wise coming down the stretch than we were in the Richmond game.”
The Hoyas return to the court on Tuesday night against Loyola Maryland (0-2, Patriot) at 7 p.m. ET in McDonough Arena. For live coverage of the game, as well as updates and breaking news on the rest of Georgetown’s sports teams, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.
Image Credits: Margaux Fontaine