The DePaul women’s basketball team (4-2, 1-0 Big East) defeated the Georgetown Hoyas (0-1, 0-1 Big East) 72-54 Saturday Afternoon at Wintrust Arena, with the Hoyas strong first half doomed by 32 turnovers. DePaul’s relentless full-court pressure was key to the game for the Blue Demons, who converted 36 points off turnovers on the way to an 18 point victory.
Freshman guard Yasmin Ott led the Hoyas with 18 points, shooting 4-6 from three and an efficient 7-10 from the floor. Senior guard Dee Bekelja paced the Blue Demons, scoring 19 points, and leading DePaul to 28 points in transition.
The Hoyas traded baskets with the Blue Demons throughout the first quarter, and an 8-0 run gave the Hoyas a 13-12 lead with 4:12 remaining. However, Georgetown would not lead again, as DePaul’s pressure really got to the Hoyas throughout the rest of the game. A 10-0 run from DePaul with fastbreak layups from junior guards Lexi Held and red-hot Sonya Morris brought the lead to 36-24 with 3:19 remaining.
“That’s the thing that they do is constant pressure,” said Georgetown head coach James Howard. “And your young guards gotta be tough with the basketball and make good passes. We knew where we wanted to get the ball and it was there but until you get in that pressure you just don’t know. And the person who’s making [the pass] has to be calm, cool, and collected at all times.”
The Hoyas made a final push spanning the end of the first half and into the second, jumping out in transition for a trio of fastbreak layups followed by a pair of Ott jumpers, the last one as time expired. An Ott three cut the Blue Demons’ lead to three under a minute into the second half, but head coach Doug Bruno’s timeout helped DePaul regroup, and they never looked back.
“When you get mentally fatigued you start making bad plays. I felt we threw the ball away at some crucial times,” said Howard. Indeed, costly turnovers followed that crucial third-quarter timeout, and 10 Georgetown turnovers in the third quarter alone ballooned the DePaul lead to 15.
“I think they came down and we had two bad offensive plays, quick shots. And they came down and then we had turnover after turnover and that’s what they get. And next thing you know that lead is back up to like 12.”
The Blue Demons closed the quarter on an 18-4 run, and while the Hoyas played mostly even for the fourth, it was not enough to overcome third-quarter miscues. The game was very competitive from the jump, showing promise for a young Hoyas group that was picked to finish last in the Big East this year.
“I thought that I would be leaning a lot on my older post players because I just didn’t think that my young guards would handle, for forty minutes, the pace the way they did,” added Howard. “To be able to see Yasmin Ott go for 18 tonight and play a really solid game for us and have played 38 minutes. This was really big on her behalf. And then Kelsey Ransom who I’ve been raving about, I think what we saw you’re going to see a lot more from her.”
There were a few bright spots off the bench as well. Graduate forward Taylor Baur grabbed nine rebounds and freshman guard Jazmyn Harmon added 8 points on 2-4 shooting from 3.
“The freshmen had to learn and looked like a deer in headlights at times, but I really liked that they never backed down. They kept coming,” said Howard.
The Hoyas returned to action following a long string of cancellations, which included a fourteen-day quarantine for players and staff due to the positive COVID-19 test of a Tier 1 individual on November 28, 2020. Howard was thrilled that the team could finally get out on the court, with team morale still high given the circumstances.
“I think the spirit is definitely there. After finishing the game we talked about some things and they definitely have that spirit. They’re a young group and they’re gonna learn as they continue to go, but I like who they can become.”
The Hoyas did not play like the last-place team many thought they would be in the Big East tonight, and they will look to build on a competitive performance against a top team in the country.
“I think as we go forward, I think more games they’ll become a little bit more comfortable, but this is the year to get them ready,” said Howard.
Due to cancellations, the Hoyas will have to go another long stretch without an opponent and return to action at home against Butler (0-3, 0-2 Big East) on December 31, a team that has struggled against a tough schedule to begin the season. Tip-off at McDonough Arena and broadcasting will be determined at a later time. For continued coverage of the women’s basketball team and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.