It's no secret that the 2015-16 season has been a disappointing one for Georgetown basketball fans. However, amidst the doom and gloom of the men's basketball team's season, the Georgetown women's basketball team has quietly made tremendous improvement.
Last season, the Hoyas struggled in Head Coach Natasha Adair's first season, stumbling to a 4-27 record, including a 15-game losing streak to end the season. However, the team has bounced back remarkably quickly, as it earned a 63-51 win today at McDonough Arena to close out its regular season with a 16-12 record, including a 9-9 mark in the Big East.
To put these numbers into context, Georgetown quadrupled its win total from last season in fewer games. After finishing last season in last place, the Hoyas were picked to finish seventh in the league in the preseason poll. After today's win, Georgetown clinched the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Big East tournament.
Against Xavier, the Hoyas were led by the dynamic young backcourt duo of sophomore guard Dorothy Adomako and freshman guard Dionna White. Adomako, a 6-foot-1 wing player with a great combination of height, length, and quickness, had 20 points on an array of outside shots and drives to the basket. She added 14 rebounds. White, a 5-foot-5 all-around dynamo, added 14 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and four steals.
On its Senior Day, Georgetown also received significant contributions from its senior class. Forward Logan Battle had 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and four blocks, while guard Katie McCormick hit two big three-pointers in the first half, including a buzzer beater to end the first half. Forward Dominique Vitalis, one of Georgetown's top post players, had six points and 10 rebounds.
The Hoyas fell behind early but gradually built momentum as the game continued, eventually stretching their lead out to double digits in the second half. Georgetown's rebounding was a crucial factor in the game, as it outrebounded Xavier by an unfathomable margin of 49-22. The Hoyas grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and attempted 21 more field goals than the Musketeers, which is a pretty good way to guarantee victory. At the end of the game, the crowd rose for a standing ovation to honor the seniors as they walked off the McDonough court for the final time.
So, what has changed this season to allow Georgetown to have so much more success? First of all, the Hoyas, who did not have any seniors last season, returned a deep roster that had one more full year of college experience. In addition, Adair, an energetic and vocal presence on the sideline, has had another year to establish her systems on offense and defense and work to establish a new culture in the program.
Still, the most important difference this year might be White. At 5-foot-5, the point guard is absolutely fearless, and it has shown in her statistics. She leads the team in total points, rebounds, assists, and steals, with averages of 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.6 steals per game. She has blazing speed in the open court and is more than willing to battle with taller players in the paint — she grabbed an inconceivable seven offensive rebounds against Xavier. White can also shoot from the outside — she is second on the team in three-pointers this year.
White pairs with Adomako to form a formidable duo in the backcourt. Adomako, last season's Big East Freshman of the Year, has improved even further this year. She is averaging 14.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, and has improved her outside shot from last season. She has uncommon quickness for her size, and often uses it to get to the rim before the defense can adjust.
White and Adomako are joined in the regular starting lineup by Vitalis, sophomore guard DiDi Burton, and junior forward Faith Woodard. Burton is another quick point guard with great speed and ball-handling ability, while Vitalis is a good rebounder and interior scorer. Woodard is an inside-outside threat who can shoot the three and score on the interior.
Off the bench, the Hoyas have Battle, a versatile forward, and McCormick, a sharpshooting guard. Junior guard Tyshell King also provides shooting off the bench while sophomore center Yazmine Belk is the team's top shot-blocker.
As a team, the Hoyas use an aggressive, fast-paced style of play on both sides of the ball. Their offense is based around constant movement, both on and off the ball, and quick passing. White constantly gets into the lane to wreak havoc, and the Hoyas have several skilled players who can shoot from the outside. If the first shot doesn't go in, all five Hoyas often crash the glass — the team averages 15 offensive rebounds per game.
On defense, Georgetown uses its length and athleticism to disrupt opposing offenses. The Hoyas have great team quickness, including their post players, which means that they can adjust quickly to different offensive sets. When they get a steal, they love to run in transition to attack the rim before the defense is set.
All of this is my way of saying that it's time to give some credit to Adair and her team for their rapid transformation and continued improvement. Even though the Hoyas just played their last home game of this season, they are still preparing for the upcoming Big East tournament, and several of their top players will return next season.
If you want to watch a different style of basketball, keep an eye on the Lady Hoyas in McDonough during next season and beyond.