Sports

“Earned, Never Given”: Women’s basketball begins their rebuild

November 4, 2023


The 2023-24 women's basketball team is ready to rebuild Design by Sabrina Shaffer

The Georgetown women’s basketball program finds itself in a state of a flux after an inconsistent 2022-23 campaign. Last season was punctuated by some incredible highs and painful lows for the team as they went 14-17 overall (6-14 BIG EAST). 

Perhaps their finest performance of the season came in their first game against the No. 4 UConn Huskies, a game they lost by only single digits. The game allowed the Hoyas to showcase an impressive mindset and grit against one of the strongest teams in the nation.

However, the Hoyas also succumbed to two five-game losing streaks, which included a devastating 41-point loss to Creighton in February. They failed to beat a single team ranked in the top 25 and lost to UConn by 30 in the second round of the BIG EAST tournament to end their season.

The downfall of the team came in its offense, which finished 284th nationally in points per game at 59.1, and 250th in assists per game at 11.7. This resulted in coach James Howard being removed and replaced by Tasha Butts, who came to Georgetown in April.

The Georgetown job was Butts’s first head coaching position, but she changed the tone for the better almost instantly. Though she died in October, the players and coaching staff she left behind are stepping up to the plate. The attitude and passion she brought the team remains—this team expects to show a ton of fight and energy every game. 

The team saw the departure of two critical playmakers this offseason. Point guard Kennedy Fauntleroy, who as a freshman scored the second-most points on the team and started in all but one game, transferred to Oklahoma State. 

Graduate guard Kristina Moore graduated, taking with her not just her 72.9 free throw percentage, the best on the team, but also a steady veteran presence and decent 3-point shooting stats.

Returning for the Hoyas is star 5’10’’ guard Kelsey Ransom. Not only is she the team’s highest scoring player on average, she also plays dynamic defense which does not allow her presence on the court to go unnoticed.

Another key piece is Graceann Bennett, who decided to stay on at Georgetown as a graduate student, making this her fifth year on the team. A team captain and recent winner of the BIG EAST sportsmanship award, Bennett makes her presence felt on the glass and can be an absolute terror on the defensive end.

Bennett and Ransom are joined by an ever-improving supporting cast. Junior forward Brianna Scott saw an increase in her minutes per game, 3 point percentage, and points per game last season. Junior forward Kaliyah Myricks also became more of a contributor. Junior center Ariel Jenkins took more shots at the hoop, although her shooting splits still leave room for improvement, as she did not crack a 40 percent field goal percentage in her first two seasons. Increased contributions from these players may be exactly what the team needs to improve its fortunes for this upcoming season.

In her brief time at the Hilltop, Butts was able to secure a strong recruiting class. That started with working the transfer portal. Georgetown recruited 6’1” forward Mya Bembry from Seton Hall. Her experience with playing in the BIG EAST will help her hit the ground running with the Hoyas. Georgetown also scored big with Alex Cowan, a 5’7” guard out of Wagner College, where she averaged 14.1 points a game last season. Not only is her game currently very strong, she showed consistent improvement during her undergraduate years. Jumping from Wagner into the BIG EAST could definitely be challenging, but the combination of Cowan’s experience and skills will be very helpful if she manages to adjust smoothly.

Joining the Hoyas is also freshman forward Mayla Ham. Ham was a strong player in high school, even becoming a finalist for Michigan Miss Basketball 2023. College basketball can be quite an adjustment for players fresh out of high school, but Ham has shown great passion for Georgetown which will hopefully translate into a strong presence on the court.

The steady increase in the performance of the current players and the promising new recruits suggest that the team could start year one of the program rebuild on a strong note.

Interim head coach Darnell Haney is now the man in charge of this operation. While he struggled during his time as the head coach of the Jacksonville University Dolphins, his dedication to continue the work that Butts started and to build off of the strong foundation of Georgetown’s women’s team will hopefully point things in the right direction. 

While everyone will once again look forward to the Hoyas taking on the UConn Huskies away on Jan. 7 and at home on Feb. 16, the must-win games are those that ended close last season. While Butler beat Georgetown by two points last season, Georgetown returned the favor, beating them by seven points. Now, Butler is predicted eighth, right above Georgetown, making their away (Jan. 3) and home (Feb. 24) matchups important to watch. Georgetown’s games against Providence will also be important, as the Hoyas narrowly beat them last season.

Outside of the BIG EAST, Georgetown’s December matchups versus Wake Forest and Northwestern look to be interesting as both the Demon Deacons and the Wildcats may give an early insight to how the Hoyas may fare against high-major competition. 

The recent turmoil that the Hoyas have had to endure and their inconsistent previous season make it hard to predict an outstanding season for the Hoyas. However, their slow and steady increase in success and the enduring tutelage of Tasha Butts will hopefully make this season a positive first step in their journey to reach the heights they hope to. 

The recent turmoil that the Hoyas have had to endure and their inconsistent previous season make it hard to predict an outstanding season for the Hoyas. However, their slow and steady increase in success and the enduring tutelage of Tasha Butts will hopefully make this season a positive first step in their journey to reach the heights they hope to.



Lou Jacquin
Lou Jacquin is tired. After being a Voices Assistant, Voices Editor, Opinion Executive, designer, Editorial Board member, the inaugural archivist, and writing at least on piece for every section, Lou is ready for a nap.


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