Senior Day Survival: Hoyas squeak by Butler

February 25, 2024

Photo by Daniel Rankin

Georgetown women’s basketball (18-10, 8-9 BIG EAST) survived a nail-biter against the Butler Bulldogs (13-14, 5-11 BIG EAST) 70-63 on Saturday Feb. 24 at McDonough Arena. On the team’s Senior Day, senior guard Kelsey Ransom fittingly had her biggest game of the season with a huge 31 point performance. Butler displayed impressive three-point shooting, but the Hoya defense shut them down when it mattered most.

Butler opened the game with four made three-pointers, three of which came from freshman guard Riley Makalusky, on their first nine field goal attempts. The Hoya defense left shooters open and Butler, a team with a very accurate 38.8% three-point percentage coming into the game, made the Hoyas pay. On the other end of the floor, Ransom responded, getting to the basket three times to start the game. The Hoya defense was able to respond, too. They did not let Butler make any field goals in the last four minutes of the quarter. As time ran out in the first quarter, sophomore guard Victoria Rivera drained a long-range buzzer-beating three pointer to give Georgetown a 15-13 lead at the end of the first.

Butler’s long-range shooting continued to hurt the Hoyas early in the second quarter too. They made three three-pointers in the first five minutes of the quarter. The Hoya offense, led by Ransom, kept finding good shots, though, and it was neck-and-neck throughout the second. After yet another Butler three put the Bulldogs up by two, Rivera made a long two-point jumper to tie the game at 33 going into halftime.

Ransom led the Hoyas with 13 points in the first half, and Makalusky led the Bulldogs with 11— nine of which came from three-pointers. That was representative of the team as a whole; 24 of Butler’s 33 first-half points came from three-pointers. In contrast, the Hoyas only made two three-pointers, but had 18 points in the paint. 

Georgetown’s defense pressed Butler more aggressively in the third, which forced more turnovers but also allowed more open looks. Butler made three three-pointers on five attempts, but they also turned the ball over six times. Half of those turnovers can be attributed to Ransom, leading to easy fastbreak points for the Hoyas. She had a dominant quarter on both sides of the ball, scoring 12 of Georgetown’s 24 points in the period. With four points and an assist to graduate forward Mya Bembry, she was responsible for a 6-0 Hoya run in the last two minutes of the quarter. That spurt gave Georgetown a 57-52 lead entering the final frame of the game.

To start the fourth, graduate forward Alex Cowan made a free throw to extend the Hoyas’ lead by one, but Butler junior forward Sydney Jaynes responded with a layup to cut Georgetown’s lead to 58-54. As she had been doing all game, Ransom kept attacking the basket and drew a foul then made both free throws. The Hoyas seized the momentum, thanks to a huge block from graduate forward Graceann Bennett, then a big and-1 from Ransom. In an attempt to slow Georgetown’s momentum, Butler called a timeout with 5:46 left on the clock and the Hoyas up 63-54. 

The timeout was effective, and Butler scored seven unanswered points. Bennett grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to stop the Bulldogs’ run and keep the Georgetown lead at 65-61. With just over a minute left, senior guard Caroline Strande scored to make it a 65-63 game. She then stole the ball from Ransom, but Butler couldn’t score for the rest of the game. The Bulldogs fouled Georgetown trying to extend the game, but the Hoyas made enough free throws to go up 69-63 with no time left on the clock. However, in a bizarre moment the referees reviewed the final play of the game and called a foul on Butler. Although everyone had already left the court, the referees called Ransom back on the court for two free throws. She made her second shot for what may be her final basket ever in McDonough Arena. 

If this was Ransom’s final home game as a Hoya, it was certainly a memorable end to a legendary career. She had 31 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals, leading Georgetown in all three categories. Butler’s three-point shooting cooled off in the second half, and although they found other ways to score, it wasn’t as effective as their first half offense. The Hoya defense shut down the Bulldogs when the game was on the line, and on the back of Ransom’s big performance, Georgetown’s offense did enough to get the win.

The Hoyas will travel to Cincinnati on Mar. 2 to take on the struggling Xavier Musketeers (1-24, 0-16 BIG EAST). The game will be broadcast on FloHoops. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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