Hoyas Seek Improvement Amid Challenging Schedule
Bolstered by the return of its leading scorer and the debuts of two transfers, Georgetown looks to improve in its second year under Head Coach James Howard.
This year’s roster features considerable height and length, including 6-foot-5 sophomore center Breonna Mayfield, 6-foot-3 junior forward Anita Kelava, who sat out last season due to transfer rules, and 6-foot-1 graduate student guard Dorothy Adomako, who missed last season due to injury.
The Hoyas will need to use their length in the Big East this season, as they will face Marquette’s junior forward Tori McCoy and Creighton’s junior forward Morgan Turner, who are both 6-foot-4 and pose problems for opposing defenses.
Howard is confident that the Hoyas’ size will allow them to physically match up well with their opponents.
“We have a lot more length, and that is really one of our strengths. I think the size advantage is going to be really big in the matchups in the conference,” Howard said in an interview with The Hoya.
The Hoyas averaged 37 rebounds per game last season, a figure lower than that of any Georgetown team since 2011. After starting three small guards last year, Howard hopes the Hoyas’ size this year will allow them to dominate the glass and turn defensive rebounds into offensive opportunities.
“We’re trying to get back into our transition game because by being longer you can rebound, and you can get more people out on the break,” Howard said.
The depth on the roster, which features seven upperclassmen including the Hoyas’ leading scorer last season, senior guard Dionna White, will allow Georgetown to vary its lineups each game.
“It’s going to all be based on matchups of the opponent and who we want to start. I don’t know if we’re going to have a solid starting five,” Howard said.
Graduate student guard Mikayla Venson, Georgetown’s third-highest scorer last season, senior guard Brianna Jones, White and Adomako will all play a role in the Hoyas’ deep rotation of guards.
Adomako averaged 14.8 points per game in the 2016-17 season and will make her return to the team after her injury last year, while Venson ranked third on the team with 13.2 points per game last season. Jones will debut for the Hoyas after transferring from Louisville. White, a team captain last year, will look to improve upon her strong performances as a junior, which earned her Big East Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big East Honors.
Georgetown’s schedule will be very competitive due to challenging non-conference opponents. One of the potential highlights of the season will be the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas, which features a matchup with perennial powerhouse Baylor. The Bears finished 33-2 and were unbeaten in the Big 12 last season.
In addition to Baylor, Georgetown will face other strong non-conference programs such as North Carolina State, which reached the Sweet 16 in last year’s tournament, and Fordham, which finished 12-4 in the Atlantic 10 before bowing out in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament last season.
In conference play, Georgetown’s biggest tests will come when it faces Marquette and DePaul – the top two teams in last year’s Big East – consecutively on Jan. 11 and Jan. 13 and again on Feb. 8 and Feb. 10. Marquette features the 2018 Big East Player of the Year in senior guard Allazia Blockton, while DePaul looks to defend its conference title from last season.
White said that the goals for the season include winning the conference, which Georgetown has not done since 1997, and reaching the NCAA Tournament, which Georgetown has not accomplished since 2012.
“The team goal is to win a championship, make it to the tournament and just build a legacy where the next group coming in can build on,” White said.