The Georgetown University women’s basketball team (2-14, 2-14 Big East) suffered a loss to Xavier (5-9, 2-8 Big East) in their final game of the regular season Sunday at the Cintas Center by a score of 58-48. The game, while fairly even, was defined by an early ten-point run by Xavier which the Hoyas could never recover from, despite a strong comeback attempt late in the third quarter. While the Hoyas’ play was headlined by sophomore forward Jillian Archer, with 23 points and 9 rebounds only tempered by 8 turnovers, Xavier’s success was shared between its three leading Musketeers. Senior forward A’riana Gray closed out her last regular-season game with 14 points and 12 rebounds, with senior guard Aaliyah Dunham and sophomore forward Ayanna Townsend each putting up ten points.
The game started with a three-pointer by Gray, followed quickly by three more buckets from Xavier. The shots came fast off the clock, with Xavier capitalizing on the Hoyas misses and scoring off rebounds, a trend they would continue throughout the game. Georgetown, however, began off-kilter, with a wide missed shot by standout freshman guard Kelsey Ransom, prompting Georgetown head coach James Howard to call his first timeout down 10-0.
That run would stand out as a defining moment of the game. “That’s probably the worst start we ever had in the last nine games,” Howard said after the game. “For us to come out there and not follow the scout and know where the shots are coming from and be tough like that and do our jobs, that was unacceptable.”
Georgetown got its first points with a field goal by Archer as Ransom drew the attention of the Musketeer defenders. Georgetown struggled to put up points early, with a series of missed shots that turned into fast breaks for Xavier. Halfway through the first quarter, the Hoyas had four turnovers in four minutes and, uncharacteristically for a team reliant on its length, were being outworked on the boards. Xavier attempted to keep the game fast, which was a challenge for a young Georgetown team still developing instincts and coordination. Still, the Hoyas were able to put up a few impressive offensive possessions led by Archer’s standout effort. Combined with defensive adjustments, they began to play even with the Musketeers, moving out of zone defense and playing more man to man. The first quarter ended 23-11 for Xavier, their highest-scoring first quarter of the season.
“I just think we were off in everything other than trying to find plays to go to Archer,” Howard said.
The second quarter began well for Xavier, with their fourth three-pointer from senior forward Deja Ross. Archer put up the first field goal of the quarter for the Hoyas, followed by Ransom’s first basket of the game. While Archer dominated for the Hoyas, who consistently sent the ball her way, the Musketeers shared the wealth, going into the bench to maintain a 10 point lead. Both teams slowed down towards the close of the second quarter, which ended after two missed shots 35-23 for the Musketeers.
“We would get a stop and we would come down and then when you need that next crucial basket, we just couldn’t get it below six, and it was just some bad decisions, but they kept fighting,” Howard said.
The second half began with a controlled possession by the Hoyas, ending in a three-point miss by graduate guard Milan Bolden-Morris. The first points of the half came from Xavier, leading to a torrid offensive series from the Musketeer interrupted only by a layup from Archer. Xavier took their biggest lead of the game at 16 points following a steal and a score by Dunham for the Musketeers. Dunham set the tone of the half for Xavier, sinking a clean three just before the five-minute mark. Georgetown closed the quarter impressively, with a seven-point run led by Archer and assisted by graduate forward Taylor Baur, as well as sophomore forward Graceann Bennett, whose 5 points were far below her season average.
“That’s probably the most aggressive we’ve seen her offensive all year, and it’s something I’ve been telling her is there,” Howard said of Archer’s standout performance. “It gives you another option, but then when she comes alive offensively, the other two have a rough night. Normally it’s Graceann Bennett and normally it’s Kelsey Ransom.”
Scoring slowed as the fourth quarter opened with only one field goal from each team in the first three minutes. Archer continued to lead the Hoyas’ offense, beating her previous highest game score of 16 with a whopping 23 points. The Hoyas began to narrow the lead at the end, with drives at the basket from Ransom and Bolden-Morris, and the game reached its closest point with only a six-point lead for Xavier. However, the Hoyas had too much to do in too little time. Ransom was out of the game with 1:30 left on an offensive foul, and despite their best efforts, the Hoyas ended the game where they had begun, 10 points behind Xavier.
“I don’t know what happened out there, but whatever it was and is, they better figure out real quick how to change it,” Howard said. ‘We just wasn’t there today.”
Georgetown will next head to postseason play in the Big East tournament, with their first matchup on March 5. The game will be broadcast on the Big East Digital Network streaming on FloHoops, with opponent and tipoff time to be announced. For continued coverage of women’s basketball and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.