Nov. 26, 2017
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Georgetown University women's basketball team held on with a gutsy performance to defeat the Northwestern Wildcats (5-2), 55-54, Sunday afternoon at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in the final game of the Challenge in Music City. With the victory, the Hoyas improve to 3-3 on the season and complete a five-game road trip.
"I thought we came out with a lot of passion and focus to start the game. It was a blessing that we were able to hit shots early, that really helped out confidence," said Georgetown Head Coach James Howard. "We hit adversity and allowed Northwestern to get back in the game, but our kids came through, stepping up and making plays at the end."
Junior guard Dionna White (Baltimore, Md./Milford Mill) led the way with 20 points as well as four rebounds and six 3-pointers. Senior guard Mikayla Venson (Arlington, Va./Yorktown) had 17 points and four rebounds hitting four triples in the contest. Senior forward Cynthia Petke (Yaounde, Cameroon/-/Chipola) notched another double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.
The Hoyas were outrebounded, 42-38, but the difference was on the defensive end where the Blue & Gray forced 16 Wildcat turnovers. Georgetown shot 30.6 percent (19-for-62) from the field and 35.7 percent (10-for-28) from beyond the arc. Northwestern hit 34.1 percent (15-for-44) from the field and 41.7 percent (5-for-12) from 3-point land. NU had three players in double figures.
The Georgetown defense began the game forcing three-consecutive turnovers and converting on the other end to jump out to the 7-0 lead. The stifling defense continued as a trey from Venson made it 12-8 midway through the first stanza. A late bucket from White made it 17-14 at the end of the first.
Venson and Petke opened the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers and Georgetown held Northwestern scoreless for the first five minutes. Petke sank another triple from the corner as the lead moved to 12, 26-14, forcing a Wildcat timeout. Following the quick break, Petke drove the baseline and made a layup as the Hoyas were unstoppable on both ends of the floor. In all, it was an 11-0 run to begin the quarter.
The defense held Northwestern without a field goal for the period, and on offense, the Blue & Gray was productive to continue to build the lead. Georgetown went into the half leading, 32-21, and Petke led the way with 13 points and six rebounds.
The Wildcats weren't going away quietly as the squad cut the lead to six, 34-28, early in the third quarter. The Hoyas answered with a trey from White, but Northwestern continued to battle. Free throws allowed te Wildcats to pull within two, 39-37, before White could nail a jumper. The defense came up with a steal and White hit one from the line for some breathing room. A three at the buzzer tied the game at 42 going into the final quarter.
Northwestern jumped out to a small lead, but White kept it close with a trey and later a layup to tie the game at 49. The Wildcats hit a free throw, but Venson came down and sank a trey to make it 52-50 in favor of the Hoyas.
Both squads went cold as the seconds ticked under two minutes. White went to the line and knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game. Northwestern sank a pair of their own on the ensuing possession and a Hoya miss gave the ball back to the Wildcats. NU made two more to tie the game at 54 as the Hoyas called timeout to set up a play with 37 remaining in regulation.
Georgetown's shot coming out of timeout clanged off of the rim, but freshman Tatiana Thompson (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven) and White hustled for the rebound to get the ball back with 13 seconds left. Howard called timeout to set up a final shot which would go to Thompson in the corner. She drove the lane and was fouled on the final shot with less than a second to go.
Thompson sank the first free throw to pick up the 55-54 victory.
"For a freshman to be on the free throw line with 0.5 seconds to play and to knock down a free throw to secure the victory, that was amazing," said Howard.
Venson was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts over the three games of the tournament.
The Hoyas will return home to host the Florida International University Panthers on Wednesday at 7 p.m., at McDonough Arena. Live stats and a webcast featuring Monika Moore will be available at www.GUHoyas.com.