Women’s basketball improves to 3-0 with a stifling defensive effort

November 13, 2018

The Georgetown women’s basketball team (3-0, Big East) defeated Loyola Maryland (0-3, Patriot League), 45-30, Tuesday night at McDonough Arena. It was a tale of two halves, as the Hoyas went into the break down one, but took over after the break and led by double digits for much of the second half. With the team’s leading scorer, senior guard Dorothy Adomako, sitting out due to an upper body injury, graduate student guard Mikayla Venson and senior guard Dionna White led the way offensively, each scoring 15 points, as the Hoyas notched a third straight victory to begin their season.

The Blue & Gray started the game strong with two straight 3-pointers from Venson. The Greyhounds kept it close though, converting multiple times with the shot clock winding down. Down 13-6 with just under three minutes to go in the first quarter, Loyola sophomore guard Isabella Therien started to get hot. She hit a layup and then back-to-back 3-pointers to give her squad a one-point lead going into the second period.

In the second quarter, freshman guard Nikola Kovacikova found Venson open in the corner and she knocked it down for her third three of the game. On the next possession, sophomore forward Tatiana Thompson used a smooth spin move to get past her defender and finished inside to put Georgetown back on top. However, the Hoyas did not have an answer for Therien and she hit another 3-pointer at the 5:43 mark to give her 17 points in the first half. With the Greyhounds back in the lead, neither team scored for the remainder of the half. Georgetown head coach James Howard was frustrated with his team’s defensive effort going into the break.

“We gave up 21 at the half, and the one girl had 17,” he said. “I just think it’s where the focus is and a lot of times you don’t have the necessary commitment on the defensive end as a team.”

The Hoyas came out of the break looking like a completely different team. They went on a 9-0 run to start the third quarter, capped off by a fast break layup from senior forward Anita Kelava. The Greyhounds stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws from junior guard Alexis Gray, but White made back-to-back layups on the next two possessions to give Georgetown an 11-point lead. White was far more aggressive with her dribble drive coming out of halftime and saw results, scoring 10 of her 15 points in the third period. After the game, Howard spoke about how he was looking for her to step up on the offensive end.

“We’ve been trying to get Dionna back in a rhythm. Dionna’s been out of rhythm for the last couple games,” he said. “With Dorothy Adomako out, we had to concentrate on getting Dionna some more looks and get her in a position where she could help us offensively.”

In the fourth quarter, the offense slowed down, but the defense continued to stifle Loyola at the other end. With a renewed defensive energy after halftime, the Hoyas were nearly impenetrable, allowing just four points in the third quarter and one point in the fourth until the final 35 seconds. Venson, who was a key part of that defensive effort, spoke about how her team was able to be so successful shutting down the Greyhounds after a lackluster first half.

“We talked out there. We got in the lane,” she said. “We just shut them down defensively and played as a team. Even though we weren’t hitting shots and making layups, we communicated on the defensive side and really played as a team.”

Venson and the Hoyas eventually recovered their offensive form midway through the final period. At the 5:34 mark, Venson hit her fourth 3-pointer of the night and followed it up with a Eurostep floater the next trip down to give Georgetown a 40-25 lead. She was efficient with her shot throughout the game and that is exactly what Howard expects of her.

“Mikayla’s been playing that way for all three games,” he said. “She’s a good shooter. She’s one of the best shooters that we have on our team and she’s going to make you pay when she’s open.”

A minute later, free throws from Kovacikova and Venson pushed the lead to 18. With under a minute to go, the Greyhounds made a couple of layups, but the game was well out of reach at the point and finished with the Hoyas on top 45-30.

Next up for Georgetown is a matchup with James Madison (2-0, CAA) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The game can be streamed and tracked at Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for coverage of women’s basketball and the rest of Georgetown sports.

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

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