The Georgetown women’s basketball team (4-1, Big East) bounced back with a 70-41 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers (2-3, ACC) Monday night at McDonough Arena. Senior guard Dionna White led the way with a 15 point, 12 rebound double-double. Senior guard Brianna Jones, graduate student guard Mikayla Venson, and graduate student guard Dorothy Adomako, who was one rebound shy of a double-double herself, also scored in double figures. Senior guard Cassidy Walsh scored 11 points for the Panthers.
Both teams began the first quarter cold, with only eight points scored before the first media timeout. The Hoyas would finish the quarter on a 7-0 run, featuring five points from graduate student guard Mikayla Venson, to take a 10-5 lead into the second quarter.
“We were just a little too excited, a little bit of happy feet,” Jones said of the slow first quarter. “But we got it under control.”
White took over the early part of the next period, stepping into a corner three before fighting for an offensive rebound and layup. She scored 10 points with two free throws as the Hoyas had a markedly better offensive quarter, taking six more shots and making them at a 35.3 percent clip, compared to 27.3 percent in the first quarter. The Panthers also shot better than their poor 12.5 percent first quarter effort, but took two fewer shots in the second period. Walsh, who came into the game shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc, went 1-6 from deep on the night.
“We switched up on ball screens and stuff like that, and anything she was involved in we just wanted to crowd her,” head coach James Howard said. “We had a little bit more length on her, so when she came out of that look, you might have Dorothy out there, you might have [junior guard] Morgan [Smith] out there, or you might have Dionna, who’s athletic that jumps so well, so we just wanted to take her vision away a little bit.”
After a slow start to the season, Jones scored 10 points, all in the second quarter, with six coming from long range, two from the line, and the other two from another jumper. She picked up a foul, but her aggression prevented second chance points for the Panthers and contributed to the Hoyas’ momentum. Pitt called a timeout after freshman forward Shanniah Wright rebounded her own miss and laid it in with 2:25 to go, and the Hoyas led by as many as 16 in the period before settling into the break up 30-18.
“I thank my teammates for finding me the ball and trusting me with it, and just sticking with me through this little drought that I was having,” Jones said. “Telling me, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting, just keep working,’ so I really appreciate them just lifting me up.”
Despite 10 turnovers, the Hoyas were the dominant team, keeping Pitt below 30 percent shooting and outrebounding the Panthers 27-16, which was a focus for Howard after being dominated on the boards in Friday’s loss.
“In that JMU game we gave up 21 offensive rebounds, and I thought it hurt us down the stretch,” Howard said. “Tonight we were disciplined on defense. We didn’t put them in the bonus early, stuff like that, and we were able to capitalize and send all five to the glass and limit them to one [shot].”
The Hoyas came blazing out of the gates in the second half, opening with a 9-2 run and two highlight plays from Venson. First, she created space with a between-the-legs dribble before draining 3-pointer, then threw a cross-court outlet pass to Adomako, who laid it in, forcing Pitt to call timeout. Georgetown continued to run, getting easy layups and trips to the free throw line by pushing the ball in transition. White added a highlight reel play by intercepting a pass and taking it coast-to-coast for a layup through contact. She made her free throw to give the Hoyas a 51-26 lead with 1:59 to go in the third. She’d also grab her tenth rebound in the quarter to complete her double-double, and Georgetown went into the final period with a commanding 52-29 lead.
“One of the things we wanted to focus on was pushing the ball and getting out in transition, and I think we did that, especially in the second half,” White said. “That helped us push the lead up.”
The Panthers wouldn’t concede, and came out pressing to start the fourth quarter, which caused mistakes from the Hoyas, but the Panthers couldn’t capitalize. One play encapsulated the start of the period, as Adomako looked for an outlet pass, which was intercepted, but she blocked Walsh’s layup attempt as Pitt came back down the floor. It would be Adomako who scored Georgetown’s first points in the quarter with a 3-pointer to make the score 55-33, and Pitt wouldn’t make it within 20 points for the rest of the night.
“Sometimes when you’re up by a lot, I think your team starts to get a little helter skelter, and then they want to push, and it’s not controlled,” Howard said. “When you have controlled push, that’s something different, but now you’re getting turnovers, you’re get travels, you’re getting forced shots too fast. You get into an offensive set, you can get whatever you want because you’ve been getting it all night, so just trying to teach them to have composure.”
Venson and Adomako hit threes on back-to-back possessions with 3:31 remaining, and from there the Hoyas cruised through the remainder of the game. Freshman guard Tayanna Jones hit the first field goal in her Georgetown career, and freshman guard Nikola Kovacikova turned on the style with the final layup up the game, slicing through the Panthers’ defense to make the final score 70-41.
The Hoyas would finish the game with a commanding 52-36 rebounding advantage and capitalized with 23 points off 18 Pitt turnovers. The Panthers couldn’t do the same, only scoring six from Georgetown’s 17 giveaways.
Georgetown will now head to Las Vegas for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout, where they will face Buffalo (2-1, MAC) on Friday, and No. 4 Baylor (4-0, Big 12) on Saturday. For coverage of those games, as well as the rest of Georgetown’s sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.