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Hoyas Stand Firm Over Wildcats

Georgetown Outlasts Villanova's 2nd-Half Rally in 'Breathtaking' Upset

By Kathy Orton
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, February 27, 2005; Page E13

Playing one of its best games of the season, the Georgetown women's basketball team upset Villanova, 62-60, yesterday before 1,072 at McDonough Arena.

The Hoyas (11-15, 6-9 Big East) withstood the Wildcats' second-half three-point shooting barrage to win back-to-back games and end Villanova's five-game winning streak.

Varda Tamoulianis, right, swipes at Villanova's Kate Dessart Mager's shot. The Hoyas snapped the Wildcats' 5-game winning streak. (Jonathan Ernst For The Washington Post)

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"It was a breathtaking win, but it was a win," Georgetown Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "I'm proud of the kids. They stepped it up like they needed to."

The Hoyas led most of the game, but their 12-point second-half lead nearly evaporated as Villanova (17-9, 10-5) starting making three-point baskets. The Wildcats, who average more than 18 shots from behind the arc, missed 14 of their first 17 attempts before making eight of their last 17.

Villanova's leading scorer and top three-point shooter, Liad Suez, wasn't much of a factor until late in the game. Suez, who had three points on 1-of-6 shooting at halftime, sank back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Wildcats within 61-60 with 57 seconds remaining.

Georgetown appeared to extend its lead on Kieraah Marlow's baseline driving layup, but Marlow was called for a charging foul, negating the basket. Villanova got the ball back with 20 seconds to play. The Wildcats tried to work the ball inside to Suez, who was fouled by Kate Carlin before she could attempt a shot. Since it was only the Hoyas' fifth foul, Villanova did not go to the free throw line.

The Wildcats inbounded the ball and tried to work it around for an open shot, but Georgetown's defense did not allow one. Betsy McManus launched a three-pointer from the top of the circle that came off the backboard into Bethany LeSueur's hands. Villanova fouled LeSueur, who made one of two free throws to put the Hoyas ahead, 62-60, with 1.3 seconds remaining. The Wildcats' long pass was picked off by LeSueur to end the game.

This win is "huge for us as a team," LeSueur said. "We've been playing better lately. . . . This reinforces that. We've just got to keep doing it and we'll be all right."

Georgetown, which has won five of its last eight games, appears to be hitting its stride. It was just five weeks ago the Hoyas lost to Villanova, 71-52. Since then, they've switched from playing mostly man-to-man defense to zone and have done a better job executing their offense.

"The first time we played Villanova, we're not even close to the team we are now, offensively and defensively," said Carlin, who led the team with 14 points. "I think we've come a long way. I think everyone would agree going out on top in the end is what matters."

Georgetown's final regular season game is Tuesday against Syracuse. The Hoyas would need to win that game and three games in the Big East tournament, which begins Saturday, to avoid their second straight losing season.

• NAVY 49, AMERICAN 46: In Annapolis, the Midshipmen rallied from seven points down and scored the final 10 points to defeat the Eagles in both teams' regular season finale.

Navy (10-17) finished tied for fifth place in the Patriot League at 6-8, while American (12-15) fell to 7-7 and ended in fourth place. The teams will meet in the first round of the conference tournament Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in Worcester, Mass.

Navy's Nikki Curtis scored a game-high 16 points. American was led by Damarah Rhymer's 11 points and Joanna Barnes's 10.

• HAMPTON 61, HOWARD 52: Rachel Butler scored a game-high 15 points to lead the host Pirates over the Bison.

Howard (14-11, 9-7 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) was led by Brittany James with 11 points. Monica Rogers added 12 points and 17 rebounds for Hampton (13-11, 13-3).

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