Sports

Hoyas Top the Hawks 61-48

sports-hoyas-womensbasketballIn the final game of the fall semester, the women’s basketball team fell 61-48  to the Georgetown Hoyas on December 4. Georgetown has been in and out of the Associated Press Top 25 this season. Alysha Womack led the Hawks with 14 points while Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers led all scorers with 30 points.

Georgetown was able to get off to a 6-0 lead before the Hawks stormed back on a 15-4 run to take the lead behind three 3-point plays. Womack and Carly Thibault connected from long range and Sara English converted a free throw after being fouled on a layup.

Scoring went back and forth for the duration of the first half, and the Hoyas took a 23-22 lead into the break.

The defensive effort for the Hawks allowed them to keep the game within reach. Chevannah Paalvast was able to get herself in good position on the boards, grabbing six rebounds and blocking three shots in the first half. Abby Martin played tight, quality defense the entire game, forcing three of the team’s seven steals. English led the team with six blocks, three in each half.

“I thought Abby (Martin), Sara (English), and DD (Danica Dragicevic) were a great threesome in there,” said Coach Jenny Palmateer. “When those guards got the ball inside and we were able to get over there and help, Sara’s tough to shoot over and DD is physical enough to be able to bang with the big girls. So I thought the three of them in particular did a really good job battling on the inside.”

Offensively, the Hawks were pressured from the get go as the Hoyas were relentless on defense, forcing 34 MU turnovers, 17 in the first half. Facing a 1-2-2 zone press with a double team and trap on the ball, the Hawks relied on the cross court pass to get away from the pressure, which resulted in 17 Georgetown interceptions.

“It was very difficult,” said Womack. “A lot of times when you’re in the trap you feel like you can’t go anywhere. Sometimes we got lucky and got out of it but most of the time, personally, I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere and it just resulted in turnovers. They were aggressive.”

“They’re a team that forces 28 plus turnovers a game, we knew that they were going to be trapping the entire game, whether it was full court, half court, three quarter court, it didn’t matter,” said Palmateer. “They’ll do it for the whole possession. A lot of presses you face you get it [the ball] over half court and they back off. Georgetown stays in it. They trap the entire possession.”

Despite the poor offensive outing, where the Hawks shot 40 percent (18-45) from the floor, the Blue and White held the Hoyas to just 11 fast break points and 8 second chance points, an area Coach Palmateer said her team did a phenomenal job with. The turnovers ended up killing MU’s chances as Georgetown scored 30 points off of the 37 turnovers. The Hawks out rebounded the Hoyas 38-32 and were able to block 11 shots.

“The things that are most important to us as a team are defense and rebounding and we took care of those two areas,” said Coach Palmateer. “This was probably one of our more complete defensive efforts in the last two or three games.”

The Hawks pulled within two with 7:15 remaining to make it a 45-43 game, but the Hoyas scored 16 of the games final 21 points to seal the victory.

Georgetown’s All-American Sugar Rodgers was held to just 5 points on 2-11 shooting in the first half, though she took over the game in the second half, dropping 25 points on 7-12 from the floor. Rodgers exceeded 2,000 career points in the first half, a milestone adding to her legacy of the program’s leading scorer.

“We’re a team that fights,” said Womack. “We’re going to fight through adversity. Whenever we stay unified things kind of fall into place. As long as we stay together, we can take our conference to a whole ’nother level.”

MU takes the court next on Saturday, December 22, when they host Delaware at 3 pm in the MAC.

“We just need to improve our fundamentals,” said Coach Palmateer. “When we moved the ball and got into the right spots, we got some nice looks. We just couldn’t knock them down today. I really feel like down the road, we’re going to knock those down.”