Postseason success: Women’s basketball beats Washington in WBIT First Round

March 22, 2024

Photo by Daniel Rankin

On March 21, Georgetown women’s basketball (23-11, 9-9 BIG EAST) beat the Washington Huskies (16-15, 6-12 Pac-12) 64-56 on Thursday night in the Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament (WBIT). By winning, Georgetown advanced to the next round of the WBIT, a newly inaugurated invitational tournament for teams that did not make it to the NCAA Tournament. 

On Wednesday,  Georgetown announced that Darnell Haney would become the head coach of Georgetown women’s basketball. Haney had been the team’s interim head coach since the passing of Tasha Butts in October. One day after the announcement, Haney seized his first chance to get a win as the permanent head coach. 

In the first quarter, graduate forward Graceann Bennett opened scoring for the Hoyas. Georgetown maintained a small lead through most of the first quarter, but Washington made three field goals in a row to tie the game at 12 heading into the first media timeout of the game. However, Georgetown went on a 6-2 run coming out of the timeout, capped by a fastbreak layup from senior forward Jada Claude to end the quarter with a 18-14 lead. 

In the second period, the Huskies slowly chipped away at Georgetown’s lead until a three-pointer from Washington sophomore guard Hannah Stines tied the game at 24 going into the second quarter media timeout. But the Hoyas recaptured momentum once again with a second-chance layup from Bennett and a midrange jumper from senior guard Kelsey Ransom to give the Hoyas a 30-26 lead with just over a minute to play in the half. The Hoya defense then forced Washington to take a shot clock violation, giving Georgetown the last possession of the half. Graduate guard Alex Cowan scored with a layup as time expired, and the Hoyas entered halftime leading 32-26. 

The Hoyas kept up their momentum as the third quarter began. Junior center Ariel Jenkins and sophomore guard Victoria Rivera made back-to-back two-pointers. Freshman guard Sayvia Sellers responded with a three for the Huskies, but Ransom came right back with three points of her own with an and-one jumper. Georgetown’s full-court press forced Washington to  call a timeout with the Hoyas up 39-29. The teams traded baskets, then Rivera drained a three to put Georgetown up 44-31. Washington didn’t let Georgetown run away with the game, though. The Huskies made two big three-pointers and slowed the Hoyas’ offense to keep the score at 50-39 as the third quarter ended.

Keeping with that momentum, Washington wiped out Georgetown’s lead in the first five minutes of the fourth. Two layups from Washington junior forward Dalayah Daniels, a layup from senior forward Lauren Schwartz, and a huge three-pointer from Sellers cut Georgetown’s lead to two. Stines hit another three and Washington took a 51-50 lead—the Huskies’ first since the first quarter. However, Bennett finally got Georgetown’s first points of the quarter with a second-chance basket, then Ransom hit two free throws to put the Hoyas up 54-51. It stayed a close game, and the Hoyas led 59-56 with one minute remaining. 

Washington had the first offensive possession of the final minute, but Daniels missed a layup. Ransom brought the ball down the court for Georgetown, and drew a foul. She made one of her two free throws to put the Hoyas up 60-56. On Washington’s next offensive possession, Daniels missed another layup before Rivera secured the rebound for Georgetown and, after she was fouled, made both free throws to put Georgetown up 62-56. Schwartz missed a contested three-pointer for the Huskies, then Ransom made two more free throws to cap off the victory for Georgetown, 64-56.

Ransom, Georgetown’s leading scorer this season, led the Hoyas with 28 points. Georgetown’s offense struggled with turnovers late in the game as Washington began full court pressing. However, the Hoyas still turned the ball over less than the Huskies—Georgetown had 15 turnovers, while Washington had 19. Defense was a key reason for the Hoyas’ success. They forced turnovers and prevented Washington from finding open looks—the Huskies shot only 37% from the field on Thursday.

With the win, Georgetown advances to the second round of the WBIT. The Hoyas will face the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (24-9, 13-5 AAC) in Tulsa, Okla. on Sunday, Mar. 24 at 3:00 p.m. The game will be livestreamed on ESPN+. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on X, formerly Twitter.

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