The Georgetown women’s basketball team put together their best performance of the nascent season on Saturday afternoon, picking up a 66-56 win on the road against Pittsburgh. In a neck-and-neck affair, timely shooting coupled with stingy defense saw the Hoyas pull away down the stretch. Graduate student guard Taylor Barnes was magnificent, scoring 18 points and dishing out four assists, while senior center Anita Kelava was a defensive force for GU, pulling down 14 rebounds and blocking five shots.
The Hoyas (1-2, Big East) stayed within arm’s length in a high-scoring first quarter after the Panthers (1-2, ACC) got off to a hot start with a pair of 3-pointers in the game’s opening moments. Graduate student guard Brianna Jones scored six of Georgetown’s first eight, as the Hoya offense was able to manufacture much better looks after shooting just 31% from the field in their season-opening losses to Davidson and Richmond. Defensively, the Hoyas were uncharacteristically ceding points, however, and the first quarter ended 20-16 in favor of the hosts.
Georgetown went ice-cold as the second quarter began, with only three field goals in the first seven minutes of the frame. The Panthers used a 14-7 run to open up an 11-point lead, but then sophomore guard Cassandra Gordon and freshman center Graceann Bennett both caught fire for GU, converting five field goals as the Hoyas scored on six straight possessions as halftime neared. A jumper from sophomore guard Nikola Kovacikova capped a frantic 15-2 run that lasted just 3:16 as the Hoyas went into the break with a shocking 38-36 advantage.
Despite shooting just 2-16 from beyond the arc, Georgetown was absolutely having their way with the Panthers inside, converting 14-17 (82.4%) of their 2-point looks.
Both teams’ defenses shined brightest in the third quarter – Kelava had eight rebounds and four of her blocks after the break, and just three field goals were scored in the first five five minutes of the second half. An 8-0 run by Pitt saw them reclaim the lead, but baskets from sophomore guard Tayanna Jones and Gordon closed the gap to one as the fourth quarter began.
After two Panthers layups to open the period, the final frame was all Blue & Gray. Barnes had eight of her 18 as part of the 20-5 run that sealed the Hoyas’ first victory, while Tayanna Jones nailed two massive 3-pointers off the bench to put the game away. The Panthers made just one of their final twelve field-goal attempts, while GU held Pitt to just 32% shooting on the afternoon overall. Meanwhile, the Hoyas took care of the ball with only nine turnovers, four fewer than their two-game average of 13.0.
Georgetown returns to action on Thursday night at home against James Madison (2-1, Colonial Athletic). The Dukes have already knocked off one Big East foe when they topped Villanova 56-52 on Nov. 9. Tipoff is set for 7PM EST with live stats available at guhoyas.com. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for coverage of all sports on the Hilltop.