Hoyas Hold On Against Xavier

Jan. 2, 2018

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WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University women’s basketball team held on to defeat the Xavier University Musketeers (8-5, 1-1 BIG EAST), 65-60, in GU’s BIG EAST Conference home opener on Tuesday afternoon at McDonough Arena. With the victory the Hoyas improve to 7-6 overall and 2-1 in league play.

“The team played with a lot of composure down the stretch,” said Georgetown Head Coach James Howard. “Morgan Smith hit a big 3-pointer to give us a lead and we came up with big offensive rebounds at the right time. Overall, it was a great team win.”

Junior guard Dionna White (Baltimore, Md./Milford Mill) led the way with 20 points and seven rebounds. She was followed by senior guard Mikayla Venson (Arlington, Va./Yorktown) who tallied 15 points and a team-high six assists. Senior forward Cynthia Petke (Yaounde, Cameroon/-/Chipola College) rounded out those in double figures with 13 points and seven rebounds. Senior center Yazmine Belk (Queens, N.Y./Nazareth Regional) led the Hoyas with 12 rebounds as well as eight points and three blocks.

The Hoyas outrebounded the Musketeers, 41-24, and forced 17 turnovers while committing just 14. Georgetown shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) from the field, but allowed 45.7 percent (21-of-46) shooting from Xavier.

Xavier jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but Petke sank a trey three minutes into the contest to get the Hoyas on the board. The Musketeers were hot from outside with a trio of 3-pointers in the opening five minutes of action. Georgetown battled back from the eight-point deficit with an 8-0 run capped by a jumper from Venson to tie the game at 16.

The Musketeers would regain the lead, but a tip-in from sophomore guard Morgan Smith (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) and layup at the buzzer from Venson made it 22-19 in favor of the Hoyas at the end of the first stanza.

The visitors jumped out to another quick lead early in the second quarter. However, Georgetown stayed right there with two defensive stops from Belk and senior guard DiDi Burton (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore City College Prep) as well as a steal and layup by White to pull the Blue & Gray within three, 27-24. Seconds later, a trey from Venson tied the game at 27.

The advantage would continue to swing back and forth with each possession until late in the second quarter when the Hoyas managed a 15-1 run to take the 37-28 lead capped off by a Petke trey. Georgetown went into the break leading, 37-32.

Georgetown opened the second half with an 8-2 run, including six points from White, to take an 11-point lead. The Musketeers came roaring back hitting from long range to cut it to three, 51-48, with just seconds remaining in the period.

Xavier made it a two-point game in the first minutes of the final quarter, but Venson answered with a jumper off of the dribble. The Musketeers tied the game at 54, but a 3-pointer from Smith, her first of the season, changed the momentum.

From that point on, the Hoyas held onto a small lead grabbing offensive rebounds and holding the ball to run out the clock and nab the 65-60 victory.

The Hoyas will be back in action on Friday as the squad hosts Butler at 7 p.m. at McDonough Arena. The game will be broadcast live on the BIG EAST Digital Network with Ben Gordon-Goldstein and Monika Moore calling the action. Live stats will be available at www.GUHoyas.com.

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