On Friday evening, the Georgetown Hoyas women’s basketball (4-12, 1-4 Big East) team suffered a frustrating 85-64 loss to Xavier (2-13, 1-3 Big East), who had one victory on the season coming in. Though the game was close throughout the first half, the Musketeers pulled away in the third quarter, opening up a double-digit lead that the Hoyas were never able to erase. Junior guard Aaliyah Dunham and junior forward A’riana Gray led all scorers with 20 points each, while Georgetown’s sophomore guard Nikola Kovacikova and graduate student guard Brianna Jones scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.
“Defensively, Xavier is a better team than their record,” Georgetown Head Coach James Howard said. “They’ve got shooters, they’ve got size. They utilized [Gray] and their shooters had a good night.”
Both teams struggled to score out of the gate, as the first four field goal attempts missed. Gray eventually opened the scoring with a floater inside, but Georgetown senior guard Marvellous Osagie-Erese responded with two buckets for the Hoyas’ first scores. Xavier, however, was able to build and maintain a small lead thanks to a 3-pointer from Dunham and solid defense. Jones kept the Hoyas within striking distance, hitting mid-range jumpers on consecutive possessions toward the end of the first quarter. With just over a minute remaining, senior forward Anita Kelava tied the game at 16 on a baseline jumper, but two Xavier 3-pointers in the final minute opened the lead back up to six.
The Hoyas got off to a quick start in the second quarter. Kovacikova came off the bench to start the quarter and promptly hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, followed by mid-range jumpers from sophomore guard Tayanna Jones on consecutive possessions. The second Jones jumper gave the Hoyas their first lead of the game at 23-22. From then on, both teams struggled from the field. The Hoyas held a four-point advantage for most of the quarter, but Xavier came alive with around three minutes left and scored seven unanswered, ending the quarter on a 13-1 run. The Hoyas, on the other hand, went without a field goal for the final five minutes of the half. At the intermission, Dunham led all scorers with 11 points, while Jones led the Hoyas with nine.
Georgetown started the second half strong, as freshman forward Graceann Bennett opened the scoring with a contested layup which was followed by a three from Brianna Jones which cut the lead to four. The Musketeers quickly woke up, however, and two 3-pointers by Gray and a layup from redshirt sophomore forward Sarah Leyendecker opened the lead to nine. Georgetown Head Coach James Howard called a timeout, but it did not help much, as the Hoyas committed several turnovers after the timeout leading to a 13-point Musketeer lead. From there, the Hoyas were unable to get back into the game, as a steady diet of scoring from Gray and Leyendecker maintained the Xavier lead.
A great deal of Xavier’s success can be attributed to their shooting from deep. The Musketeers shot 13-for-20 (65 percent) from beyond the arc on Friday.
The Hoyas return to McDonough on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. for a matchup with Butler (10-5, 2-2 Big East). The game will be streamed on the Big East Digital Network. For continued coverage of women’s basketball and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.
“We’re going to find out who wants to fight and who wants to compete,” Howard said.