A reflection and analysis of the Hoyas’ BIG EAST Tournament run

March 21, 2024

Photo by Daniel Rankin

This article has to start with a disclaimer: there are no moral victories in basketball.

Or at least, there aren’t any included in the official count. The box score doesn’t show heart, or toughness. Togetherness and comradery don’t get teams trophies, or rings. 

Georgetown women’s basketball didn’t win the BIG EAST championship on March 11.

They lost to the University of Connecticut instead, with a final score of 78-42. They didn’t go home with anything tangible. But, at the risk of sounding ridiculous and sappy, they did still go home with something: they proved to the world what they already knew, which is that this team has something really damn special.

When the sixth-seeded Hoyas first got to Uncasville, Conn., they handled business. They took down BIG EAST bottom-dweller Xavier easily, ending the Musketeers’ season on March 8. The next day, they took down third-seeded St. John’s, who they split a pair of games with during the regular season. After that came the biggest mountain to climb: the Creighton Bluejays, who were the BIG EAST’s second seed and ranked No. 24 in the country in the final national poll of the season. 

The Hoyas only played Creighton once before the tournament, where they narrowly lost at home, 77-72. So to call this a monumental upset wouldn’t be exactly accurate. But it was an upset nonetheless— they held the normally high-scoring Bluejays to a measly 5-26 shooting from three. Georgetown’s trademark defense was the fulcrum on which the game tilted, and they pulled down 43 rebounds to Creighton’s 28. With that March 10 victory, the Blue and Gray advanced to the tournament final for the first time in program history. They faced the formidable Connecticut Huskies, who entered the tournament as the clear favorite, and had gone undefeated in BIG EAST regular season play.

And UConn didn’t lose that night, either. Instead, the Huskies won their fourth consecutive conference tournament championship and picked up an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Hoyas, of course, went home trophy-less in this scenario, ending their tournament run with a loss. 

There are a lot of different stories that could be told about that game, some good and some bad. We could talk about the 9-0 run that UConn opened the game on, the series of highly questionable calls the referees made in the first few minutes of the game, or the ice-cold shooting from the Hoyas. 

But there were other things to talk about, too. We could talk about how graduate forward Mya Bembry shone in this tournament (and in this game specifically), how graduate forward Graceann Bennett and senior guard Kelsey Ransom continued to show off their remarkable synergy, and how senior guard Yasmin Ott played strong minutes off the bench despite limited playtime during the regular season. 

And there are more stories like that yet untold, too. The loss to Connecticut was painful, of course, especially after the Hoyas’ challenging season and exhilarating tournament run. Getting that close to the mountaintop and failing to slay the giant isn’t celebration-worthy in and of itself.

But when it came time to write the recap for this game, it didn’t feel right to only tell the story of those 40 minutes against the Huskies. Because the context does actually matter here. There are no moral victories in basketball, but this team still deserves more credit than just a summary of a bad loss at the end of a wondrous tournament run.

Now, the Hoyas are off to the WBIT, their first postseason excursion since the 2018-2019 season. On Thursday, March 21, they’ll square off against a different team of Huskies, that of the University of Washington, at 10 p.m. EST on ESPN+. Georgetown made some things shake at Mohegan Sun Arena during the BIG EAST Tournament. Now they’ll get a chance to show their stuff on the national stage, and make it very clear that Georgetown women’s basketball is on the rise – and intends to stay that way. 

For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.

Jo Stephens
Jo is the Sports Editor and a senior in the College studying History and Journalism. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, she has a particular love for women's basketball, but also enjoys watching football, softball, and volleyball.

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