Page 1

SEEKING NEW LEADERSHIP, THE HOYAS TURN TO VETERAN BRIANNA JONES BY BRYNN FUREY

KOVACIKOVA AND KELAVA EXEMPLIFY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL’S FAR-ANDWIDE RECRUITING EFFORTS BY WILL SHANAHAN


November 6, 2019 Volume 52 | Issue 6

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Celebrating 50 Years Editor-In-Chief Sienna Brancato Managing Editor Noah Telerski news

Executive Editor Features Editor News Editor Assistant News Editors

Jack Townsend Katherine Randolph Rachel Cohen Annemarie Cuccia, Caroline Hamilton, Roman Peregrino

opinion

Executive Editor Voices Editor Assistant Voices Editor Editorial Board Chair Editorial Board

Lizz Pankova Leina Hsu Natalie Chaudhuri, Amanda Chu Inès de Miranda Sienna Brancato, Delaney Corcoran, Annemarie Cuccia, Lizz Pankova, Julia Pinney, Noah Telerski, Jack Townsend

leisure

Executive Editor Brynn Furey Leisure Editor Ryan Mazalatis Assistant Editors Emma Chuck, Anna Pogrebivsky, Juliana Vaccaro De Souza Halftime Editor Skyler Coffey Assistant Halftime Editors Teddy Carey, Samantha Tritt, John Woolley

sports

Executive Editor Sports Editor Assistant Editors Halftime Editor Assistant Halftime Editors

Aaron Wolf Will Shanahan Jake Gilstap, Tristan Lee Nathan Chen Ethan Cantrell, Josi Rosales

design

Jacob Bilich Delaney Corcoran, Olivia Stevens Egan Barnitt Tim Adami, Josh Klein, Cade Shore Staff Designers Allison DeRose, Alex Giorno, Neha Malik, Insha Momin, Cassi Sullivan

Executive Editor Spread Editors Cover Editor Assistant Design Editors

copy

Sophomore guard Nikola Kovacikova takes on a defender at McDonough Arena.

3 4 5

Pressing On: The Hoyas Aim to Compete, Despite Key Losses skyler coffey Seeking New Leadership, the Hoyas Turn to Veteran Brianna Jones brynn furey Meet the New Gals skyler coffey, lucy cook & eli lefcowitz

The opinions expressed in The Georgetown Voice do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty, or students of Georgetown University, unless specifically stated. Columns, advertisements, cartoons, and opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or the General Board of The Georgetown Voice. The university subscribes to the principle of responsible freedom of expression of its student editors. All materials copyright The Georgetown Voice, unless otherwise indicated. 2

THE GEORGETOWN VOICE

6 7 8

Kovacikova and Kelava Exemplify Women’s Basketball’s Far-and-Wide Recruiting Efforts will shanahan Big East Preview jake gilstrap & cam smith

Copy Chief Neha Wasil Assistant Copy Editors Maya Knepp, Sophie Stewart Editors Christopher Boose, Jennifer Kret, Stephanie Leow, Moira Phan, Madison Scully, Cindy Strizak, Maya Tenzer, Kristin Turner

multimedia

Executive Editor Podcast Editor Assistant Podcast Editor Photo Editor

Kayla Hewitt Panna Gattyan Peter Guthrie John Picker

online

Executive Editor Jake Glass Website Editor Cam Smith Social Media Editor Eli Lefcowitz

business

Poster jacob bilich

contact us

editor@georgetownvoice.com Leavey 424 Box 571066 Georgetown University Washington, DC 20057

photo by john picker

General Manager Maggie Grubert Assistant Manager of Leah Fawzi Accounts & Sales Assistant Manager of Alice Gao Alumni Outreach

support

Associate Editors Emily Jaster, Hannah Song Contributing Editors Dajour Evans, Damian Garcia, Julia Pinney, Katya Schwenk Staff Writers Nathan Barber, Maya Cassady, Lucy Cook, Jason Cuomo, Chetan Dokku, Steven Frost, Darren Jian, Steven Kingkiner, Lily Kissinger, Bella McGlone, Leah Porter, Ryan Remmel, Orly Salik, Anna Savo-Matthews, Sarah Watson, Abby Webster, Katie Woodhouse


WOMEN

season preview

PRESSING ON: THE HOYAS AIM TO COMPETE, DESPITE KEY LOSSES

SKYLER COFFEY

T

he Georgetown women’s basketball team is determined to remain resilient. As James Howard enters his third year as head coach, the Hoyas look to overcome their lack of standout veterans. The team hopes their new freshman and transfer recruits will provide valuable contributions to the team and thrive when given ample opportunity. The Hoyas were able to make runs in the 2018-19 Big East Tournament (BET) and Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), beating Villanova to reach the semifinals of the BET in Chicago and continuing their strong play in the WNIT, advancing to the Elite Eight. The team scored 61.8 points per game last season, with Dionna White, Mikayla Venson, and Dorothy Adomako combining to average 44.1 points per game. Unfortunately for the Hoyas, all three players graduated in the spring, leaving them with a shortage of proven scorers. Georgetown will also lose senior guard Morgan Smith, a team leader and valuable presence inside the paint, to a medical redshirt year. After losing its top three scorers, and with only one year until national threat UConn rejoins the Big East, the Georgetown women’s basketball team will enter a rebuilding period during the 2019-20 season. Howard is well aware of how this loss in veteran leadership will affect the team. “I’m trying to find someone to put their feet in those shoes,” he said. “We’re going to try to piece together a solid season. When you lose so much power and experience—that’s the key: experience—you don’t have those expectations.” When it comes to overall team leadership, Howard only had to say two words: “Brianna Jones.” Jones Morgan Smith shoots free transferred to Georgetown throws against DePaul. from the University of Louisville as a junior in 2017, and she will be playing her last season for the Hoyas as a graduate student guard. Entering her third year with the program, and serving as the Hoyas’s highest returning scorer this season, Jones carries an unmistakable sense of authority and acts as a mentor for the other players. “We kind of had this vision in our minds about how we want to play this year,” Jones said. “I think it’s going to be

photos by john picker; design by josh klein

more of a collective group that you’re going to see this year which will be exciting to play with.” Down four starters from last season, the team will look to its underclassmen and new recruits to form a more unified offense. Sophomore guards Tayanna Jones, Nikola Kovacikova, and Cassandra Gordon, specifically, will be expected to play a much greater offensive role. “We need to be really consistent,” Gordon said. “We don’t have Dionna and Dorothy, who were pretty

“WHEN YOU LOSE SO MUCH POWER AND EXPERIENCE— THAT’S THE KEY: EXPERIENCE— YOU DON’T HAVE THOSE EXPECTATIONS.” consistent for the most part. So we have to make those big time shots when it matters.” While Howard acknowledged that the lack of experienced scorers would place much more emphasis on the bench this season, he is cautious about relying on depth. “When you see bodies,” he said, “you think you’re deep. But until you actually get into play and your results show up, you’re not as deep as your numbers look.” The bench’s main weapons this season will likely come in the form of experienced upperclassmen like junior forward Tatiana Thompson and junior center Breonna Mayfield. However, Howard has no problem giving new recruits the center stage, as outstanding freshman forward Graceann Bennett will mostly start in the season opener. “[Bennett] could eventually, with development, be one of the best post players to come through Georgetown,” Howard said. “She’s very tough, very skilled in a lot of ways. But she has the potential to be really good.” Recent transfers, sophomore forward Jillian Archer and graduate student guard

Taylor Barnes, will also provide welcome assets and added experience to the team. Barnes has already been voted a team captain and will use her four years of collegiate basketball experience and impressive track record playing for the University of Memphis, having started in 76 of her 84 games with the Tigers, to become a key facet of the team’s leadership. Barnes averaged 9.3 points per game last year for Memphis, making her the only player on the Hoyas's roster to have averaged more than 4.5 points per game in the 2018-19 season. “Just having her on the court kind of brings a calming effect,” Jones said about her fellow graduate student guard. “She kind of calms everybody down. And she can get a bucket whenever you want.” Jones also praised the leadership of those in the grades below her. “I think from a leadership standpoint, we’ve had some seniors step up and especially some returners step up and kind of let the freshmen know how things are done here.” One of those seniors is forward Anita Kelava, who transferred to Georgetown from the University of Maine as a sophomore and, like Jones, is a team captain entering her third year with the program. Kelava’s main asset is her defensive prowess, as she led the team with a total of 54 blocks over her two seasons at Georgetown. Playing with tenacity on defense will need to be a significant part of the Hoyas’s identity this season. Last season, the Hoyas’s 61.8 points per game meant they scored the least out of any team in the Big East. However, the team only allowed 60.1 points per game, making them the second-best defensive squad in the conference. This season, Howard is aiming to lower that mark to 55. “Always defense,” he said regarding the team’s identity this season. “When you lose, again, as much offense— power—that we lost, we’re going to probably have to be very gritty defensively.” In addition to Kelava, Archer will also provide a spark on the defensive end. “She’s probably the best rebounder in the conference,” Gordon said of her fellow sophomore. The team is waiting to see if the NCAA will approve a waiver allowing Archer to play this season, instead of sitting out for a year as most transfers are required to do. The circumstantial odds are certainly more stacked against the Hoyas than they have been in recent seasons. While the Hoyas are realistic about their prospects, they also remain optimistic. Jones wants to repeat the previous year’s conference and postseason tournament success. For Howard, the goal is simple: “If we score the ball, I think we can sneak back up there and climb the ranks again.” G

November 6, 2019

3


WOMEN

player profile

SEEKING NEW LEADERSHIP, THE HOYAS TURN TO VETERAN BRIANNA JONES

B RY N N F U R E Y

W

hen Brianna Jones and Cassandra Gordon begin talking about their futures, Jones falls naturally into her role as captain. “Say it with confidence. ‘I’m gonna be great,’” Jones said to Gordon. “I’m gonna be great,” Gordon affirmed. Even in this brief interaction, Jones’s total support for her teammates was on full display. Not only does she believe in them, but she wants them to believe in themselves and express it loudly. She plans to use that spirit to guide her team and focus on continuing to develop her leadership skills this season. “I’ve kind of been thrust into this role of being a grad student and being a fifth year. It’s something I used to shy away from, but now I’m kind of stepping up a little bit more just being in that captain role,” Jones said. Now a graduate student in her final year of eligibility, Jones’s promise as a player has been clear since long before she came to Georgetown. As a five-star recruit from North Babylon High School, she started showing leadership potential when she helped her team reach the Suffolk County Class AA championship game in her sophomore year. Her success continued into her junior year when she averaged 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, sunk 68 3-pointers, and became the only junior nominated for New York’s Gatorade Player of the Year award. From there, Jones began her collegiate career at the University of Louisville, where she appeared in 21 games as a freshman, 22 as a sophomore, and three NCAA Tournament games across those two seasons. However, hoping to start fresh, she transferred to Georgetown for her junior year. She wanted to be closer to her family and earn a degree from the McDonough School of Business. But of course, the biggest pull was the women’s basketball team. “I looked at the success that the team had before coming here, and I thought that I could really help out,” Jones said. “They had a path toward something that I really wanted to be a part of.” Unfortunately, transferring did not come without its challenges. In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, Jones sat out the entire 2017-18 season. Despite wanting to immediately dive into life at Georgetown, she took time to adjust both athletically and academically. Jones is thankful for the support she received from her team that year, especially from senior forward Anita Kelava. “Being with Anita, who also transferred, really helped out a lot, and we kind of went through it together,” Jones said. “Without her, I don’t know where I’d be. Yeah, it was tough, but, you know, it’s something that I think made me better as a player and a student.”

After her brief hiatus from the court, Jones came back strong in 2018-19, finishing as Georgetown’s fourth-leading scorer. As the team adjusts to the loss of last year’s stars Dorothy Adomako, Dionna White, and Mikayla Venson, all eyes will be on Jones to spearhead the team’s efforts to replace the high volume of shots lost from those former Hoyas. When asked about which players he expects to see progress in leadership roles this season, Head Coach James Howard immediately mentioned Jones. “We’re looking for her to step up offensively and hopefully give us some scoring,” Howard said. However, she won’t be alone in this endeavor. Jones expects big things from her teammates, having already seen some of the returners step up in practice, while noticing great potential in the new freshmen and transfers. “We had this vision in our minds about how we want to play this year,” Jones said. “Again, it’s hard to replace [Adomako and White’s] scoring, but I think it’s going to be more of a collective group that you’re going to see this year which will be exciting to play with,” she said. While Jones is particularly focused on refining her shot consistency, she’s also aiming to improve her conditioning. Better conditioning will be especially important as Georgetown tries to wear teams out on the defensive end, which Howard has stressed as a top priority. “Our identity this year is always defense. We are defense, and we got to be even greater this year in order to put together a solid season,” Howard said. With high hopes for the upcoming season, it’s important to Jones that she’s in the best place physically and mentally to handle whatever might be thrown at her and her team on the court. Yet, her passion for basketball manifests itself off the court as well. She is currently looking into sports performance and studying to get certified in strength and conditioning. She even floated the idea of coaching or being a graduate assistant. “I mean, I want to be in basketball as long as possible, whether that’s playing or coaching,” Jones said. With her final season looming, Jones has ambitious goals for the team and for herself. Her main goal is to play in the postseason, especially after the Hoyas’s success in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament last year. She is also looking forward to another chance to play in the Big East Tournament. As for her personal goals, Jones wants to make the absolute most of her final season. “It’s my last year,” Jones said. “I want to end out in a bang. I want to win a lot of games, and have fun on the court with my teammates.” Although the women’s team faces a lot of pressure to collectively make up for their expected scoring deficiencies, they stand better odds of doing just that with a strong, motivated Jones mentoring an inexperienced but promising team. There’s no telling what’s in store for this Georgetown squad, but what’s certain is that Jones will create a wealth of memories with them in the coming months. G

4

photo by john picker

THE GEORGETOWN VOICE


WOMEN

meet the new gALS

S K Y L E R C O F F E Y, L U C Y C O O K & E L I L E F C O W I T Z

24 TAYLOR BARNES

5'8" GUARD

Taylor Barnes is a graduate student transfer from the University of Memphis. She is a Memphis, Tennessee native and was ranked the nation’s No. 56 guard by ESPN coming out of St. Benedict at Auburndale High School. Going into her fifth year of collegiate basketball, Barnes brings valuable experience to the team. Barnes started 76 of her 84 games at Memphis, and averaged 9.3 points per game during the 2018-19 season. She has already been voted a team captain and will lead the Hoyas on the court along with graduate student guard Brianna Jones. “For the longest [time], we didn’t know who was going to be our point guard,” said sophomore guard Cassandra Gordon. “We’re really happy that TB came on.”

14 JILLIAN ARCHER

6'2" FORWARD

Jillian Archer hails from Santa Monica, California, and attended Bishop Alemany High School in Los Angeles, where she established herself as a regional standout. As a senior, she averaged 16.4 points and 14.3 rebounds per game and was named player of the year by the San Fernando Valley Sun and an All-California Interscholastic Federation First Team selection. Archer committed to USC and averaged 2.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game during her freshman year before deciding to transfer to Georgetown. Head coach James Howard has praised Archer’s high basketball IQ and astute defensive abilities as valuable assets to the team, while her teammates have pointed to her abilities on the glass. “She’s probably the best rebounder in the conference,” Gordon said. “She’s an athletic freak, honestly, on the boards,” senior guard Brianna Jones added. Archer would normally have to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. However, the team is currently waiting to see if the NCAA will agree to waive this requirement and allow her to play this season as a sophomore.

photos courtesy of georgetown athletics; design by jacob bilich

30 OLIVIA SNYDER

6'0" GUARD

Olivia Snyder, a freshman guard, excelled on and off the court at Southern Lehigh High School in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, where she started all four years. In her tenure there, she became captain, team MVP, and ranked top of her class, ultimately scoring a school-record 2,077 points. Snyder presents a true dual threat on offense, able to both drive the lane and shoot from distance. With an average of 24 points per game her senior year, look for Snyder to quickly ease into the Hoyas's rotation. While offense is Synder’s strong suit, opponents should be aware of her defensive presence too, as she can use her height advantage to block shots and pull down boards. “Liv is just really excited to learn, and she’s hands on. She’s constantly asking questions which I think is a great thing to have in your freshmen,” Coach Howard said.

33 GRACEANN BENNETT

6'3" FORWARD

Graceann Bennett, a freshman forward, comes to Georgetown from Lake George, New York, where she is Lake George High School’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, having surpassed 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds in her senior year. She is a twotime Adirondack League MVP and First Team All-State selection. As a senior, Bennett averaged an impressive 22.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. “[Bennett] could eventually, with development, be one of the best post players to come through Georgetown,” Coach Howard said. “She’s very tough, very skilled in a lot of ways.” Her aggressive scoring, relentless defense, and overall basketball IQ in the frontcourt will prove to be extremely beneficial additions to the team this season.

November 6, 2019

5


WOMEN

feature

KOVACIKOVA AND KELAVA EXEMPLIFY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL’S FAR-AND-WIDE RECRUITING EFFORTS

WILL SHANAHAN

T

he central storyline surrounding the 2019-20 Georgetown women’s basketball team isn’t who’s on campus with the team. Rather, it’s who isn’t: their three now-graduated leaders who scored nearly three-quarters of the team’s points a season ago and practically willed the Hoyas to 19 wins, their highest total since 2011. When he was hired in the summer of 2017, Head Coach James Howard inherited a team with talents such as Dorothy Adomako, Dionna White, and Mikayla Venson already on board. But Howard also realized that he and his staff would have to quickly restock the cupboards—and it would take some creativity to do so. With just two full recruiting classes under his belt, Howard has already shown a penchant for exploring every avenue to ensure the Hoyas put the best possible product on the floor. Entering this season, Georgetown’s roster includes players from 10 different U.S. states and two foreign countries, with four transfers among their ranks. Replacing the scoring of Adomako, White, and Venson will take a total team effort and then some for the Hoyas, who don’t return a player who averaged more than 5 points per game. Among those expected to fill the void are graduate student guard Brianna Jones; sophomore forward Jillian Archer, an arrival from the University of Southern California whose availability hinges on the outcome of a pending waiver with the NCAA; and Graceann Bennett, a freshman forward unearthed from upstate New York who Howard said, “with development, could eventually become one of the best post players to come through Georgetown.” Leaving no stone unturned, Howard found two key cogs for his program’s engine hailing from Eastern Europe early in his tenure. For Nikola Kovacikova and Anita Kelava, the journey from Slovakia and Croatia, respectively, to playing Big East basketball has been one filled with triumphs, setbacks, and unforgettable memories. Kovacikova, a sophomore guard, comes from a basketball family—both her parents and her brother play. She recalls begging to get in on the action.

“I was like 10, and there wasn’t any basketball club in our city so I told [my parents], ‘Can you please be our coaches and make a club in the city?’” Kovacikova recalled. “Eventually, they were like ‘OK, we’ll be your coaches, we’ll make a club.’ I was trying four or five different sports, but I kind of always knew it would be just basketball.” Kovacikova saw her rising stardom take her around the globe in tournaments, and eventually earned her a spot on the Slovakian youth national team. Among her favorite memories was playing in 3-on-3 tournaments for her high school. “We went to Thailand for a world championship between high schools, and we got into the championship when nobody expected anything from us, and we ended up winning the world championship,” Kovacikova said. “Playing with my under-20 national team, we went to Israel and ended up placing in second, which allowed us to stay in the A division. The whole tournament was just amazing.” Howard, who noted that his staff invests heavily in subscription services with a finger on the pulse of the global high school basketball scene, said the U20 FIBA tournament in Israel was likely what put Kovacikova on the GU staff’s radar. Kelava, a senior forward, brings a similar wealth of experience to the team. A fixture down low for the Hoyas last season, Kelava said she truly committed herself to playing basketball when she hit her growth spurt. “For me, I started off doing a lot of sports because my mom wanted me to just be active and try different things and stuff, and it really built my character,” she said. “And then, with time, I just grew a lot, and my mom was like ‘why don’t you try basketball?’” Kelava said she attended a high school in Croatia that placed a high degree of emphasis on athletics and academics alike, a quality she appreciates in Georgetown as well. For her high school team’s championship match, the whole school was excused from class the following day if they showed up to support the team. From there, Kelava would also suit up for her youth national team. She said: “It comes with a lot of pride, and it’s very emotional as well because your whole family is watching the games, knows what’s happening, and it’s a very big thing to be in a conversation and say, ‘Yeah, and also I’m playing for the national team.’ That’s really big—you’re carrying your country on your back.” She signed with the University of Maine ahead of the 2016-17 season, where she started 18 games and led the Black Bears in blocks as a freshman. Kelava then transferred to Georgetown and had to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Both Kelava and Kovacikova described their first year on campus as a trying one. For Kelava, who will defer a final season of eligibility to be used as a graduate student, watching the game from the bench was difficult. “I think it’s a good rule for women in basketball because you can go get your master’s degree, but you really lose touch

6

photos by john picker; design by olivia stevens

THE GEORGETOWN VOICE

with the game, so that was hard for me,” Kelava remarked. “But I grew close with the seniors that just left and all the people on the team. It was a hard year, but they got me through it.” Kovacikova didn’t spend much time on the bench, but she still found challenges in her first year at an American university. “The different cultures, the different habits here were a huge culture shock, and I think also to adjust to school with basketball, because basketball takes a lot of time, wasn’t easy in the beginning,” Kovacikova recalled. “But after a couple months, I felt like I found a great balance, and I’m still trying to keep it up.” Howard and the rest of the team, though, couldn’t be happier with the development of the two women, which became evident as last season wore on. Kelava was selected as a team captain for 2018-19 despite never having played a game for the Hoyas before, while Kovacikova started eight games down the stretch and won the program’s Newcomer of the Year Award. Both players certainly struck the athleticacademic balance Kovacikova alluded to, earning recognition as Big East All-Academics. Howard credits the FIBA basketball infrastructure in Europe for advancing Kelava and Kovacikova’s development well beyond their years. “They bring a different work ethic,” he said. “They practice hard every day. They come prepared, and it’s great because they’re no-nonsense type of players.” This season, both players say they’re fully settled in at Georgetown. Laughing, Kovacikova said she and Kelava have gotten along well as roommates this semester after growing especially close toward the end of last school year. Personally, she cites taking up a leadership role at point guard and looking for her shot more as two personal goals for the season. And with White, Adomako, and Venson almost exclusively operating in the ball-handling role for Georgetown last season, Kovacikova is keenly aware of the challenges that will meet her in 2019-20. What do the Blue & Gray have their collective sights set on? “To become champions in our Big East,” Kovacikova says. “Which would be hard, but I really think it’s doable.” That feat, which Georgetown hasn’t achieved since 1996-97, will require exceptional performances from all 10 states, four previous colleges, and two foreign countries represented on the Hoyas’s roster. Big East title or not, Kelava and Kovacikova are case studies one and two that Howard is building something sustainable on the Hilltop. G


WOMEN

big east preview

JAKE GILSTRAP AND CAM SMITH

1 DEPAUL

2018-19 FINISH: 2

DePaul looks to have another great season following last year’s top-25 finish. The Blue Demons are led by a strong senior duo of guard Kelly Campbell and forward Chante Stonewall. Campbell was one of the best guards in the country last season, earning All-Big East First Team honors while finishing fifth nationally in assist-turnover ratio. Stonewall is a strong two-way player—leading DePaul in both field goal percentage and blocked shots—and secured Second Team Big East honors last season. If the Campbell-Stonewall duo continues its success, look for the Blue Demons to sit atop the Big East this season.

2 SETON HALL

2018-19 FINISH: 8

Despite Seton Hall’s disappointing eighth place finish in the Big East last season, they are poised to make a push in the conference this year. Returning is senior forward Shadeen Samuels, who last year led the conference in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting, and earned both All-Big East First Team honors and the Big East Most Improved Player award. Seton Hall also returns junior forward Desiree Elmore, who amassed 10.3 points per game last year, leading all Big East substitutes, and shot 54.5 percent from the field, good for top-five in the conference. Don’t be surprised if the Pirates compete for a top spot in the conference and an NCAA tournament berth this season.

3 ST. JOHN'S

2018-19 FINISH: 9

6 BUTLER

2018-19 FINISH: 3

Although Butler finished third in the conference last season, 2019 Big East Coach of the Year Kurt Godlevske could find difficulty repeating last season’s success. The Bulldogs graduated their leading scorer in Whitney Jennings, as well as 2019 Big East Defensive Player of the Year Michelle Weaver and All-Big East Second Team forward Tori Schickel. Between those three, Butler loses half of last year’s scoring. The wellcoached group is not in despair, however, as they look to senior guard Kristen Spolyar, who landed on the All-Big East Preseason Team. Anticipate a middling season from the Bulldogs this coming year.

7 PROVIDENCE

2018-19 FINISH: 6

The Friars have their work cut out for them this season as they graduated three seniors, including 3-point threat Jovana Nogic, who last year led them to their first postseason appearance since 2010. Providence only returns one senior, forward NyAsia Franklin, meaning they will rely heavily on forward Mary Baskerville, the 2019 Big East Freshman of the Year, and sophomore guard Kaela Webb, who also earned a Big East All-Freshman Team selection in 2019. Without a veteran presence, it is unlikely the Friars will return to the postseason unless Baskerville, Webb, and other young players outplay their expectations.

8 XAVIER

2018-19 FINISH: 10

The Red Storm return many of their key players as they look to improve upon last season’s second-to-last place finish. Now a redshirt junior, 2019 Big East assists leader Tiana England will still be able to dish to the team’s leading scorer, junior guard Qadashah Hoppie. Given the number of valuable returners, including sophomore guard Kadaja Bailey, a member of the Big East All-Freshman Team last season, this mature St. John’s team could make some noise in the conference if any of their key pieces manage to put together a breakout season.

Prospects are low for the Musketeers this season as Xavier will enter a rebuilding phase after six-year Head Coach Brian Neal stepped down last season. Neal was replaced by Michigan Assistant Melanie Moore, who will be making her head coaching debut. Moore does not have the luxury of a strong senior class to ease her transition, as Xavier only returns one senior who saw extensive playing time last season, guard Na’Teshia Owens. However, the Musketeers do return their team leader in assists, junior guard Aaliyah Dunham. Regardless, Xavier has a young roster and a young coach who will likely experience growing pains in the upcoming season.

4 CREIGHTON

9 GEORGETOWN

2018-19 FINISH: 7

Creighton was the only team in the Big East to defeat both Marquette and DePaul last season, mostly due to the efforts of leading scorer and All-Big East First Team forward Audrey Faber. Faber was their only player to earn a Big East regular season award selection, and she graduated after the season. Even so, the return of the team’s next four highest-scoring players suggests they could again be in the mix as a contender. Senior guard Jaylyn Agnew, a career double-digit scorer who posted a career-high 27 points in their loss to DePaul in the Big East Tournament semifinal, will fly point for this Bluejays squad. Look for an even stronger season from Creighton this time around.

5 VILLANOVA

2018-19 FINISH: 4

Villanova graduated three key seniors, but their biggest loss this season is guard Kelly Jekot, one of the Wildcats’s best offensive options last season, due to injury. ’Nova will call on senior forward Mary Gedaka, who led the team with 14.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and a 2018-2019 All-Big East Second Team selection, to carry an even bigger load. Gedaka will be accompanied by a host of young talent, including freshman guard Brooke Mullin, who earned 2019 Second Team All-State honors. While Villanova will miss Jekot in the lineup, they are more than equipped to lead another competitive season.

design by neha malik

2018-19 FINISH: 5

The Hoyas enter the season losing almost three quarters of their scoring from last year after the graduation of starters Dionna White, Dorothy Adomako, and Mikayla Venson. Head Coach James Howard will have to pull a magic trick to replace that offensive power. Losing four of their five starters will undoubtedly hamstring this Georgetown squad. Sophomore guard Nikola Kovacikova and graduate guard Brianna Jones will be asked to shoulder more than their fair share of the offense. It will likely be a struggle for the Hoyas to follow up on last year’s fifth-place conference finish.

10 MARQUETTE

2018-19 FINISH: 1

The departure of Allazia Blockton, the 2018 Big East Player of the Year and Marquette’s all-time leading scorer, as well as Natisha Hiedeman, who won last year’s Big East Player of the Year, will be the most significant roster losses any Big East team will have to overcome. Role players Danielle King and Erika Davenport also departed. In fact, the Golden Eagles enter the season without their top-five scorers from last year. And since 2018 Big East Co-Coach of the Year Carolyn Kieger has been replaced by new Head Coach Megan Duffy, this team could struggle to find their footing. November 6, 2019

7


0 1 2 3 4 5 10 11

Jahvon Blair Jamorko Pickett Mac McClung James Akinjo Jagan Mosely Timothy Ighoefe Chuma Azinge Galen Alexander

MEN'S ROSTER 12 15 20 22 23 32 34 44

Terrell Allen Myron Gardner George Muresan Jaden Robinson Josh LeBlanc Malcolm Wilson Qudus Wahab Omer Yurtseven 11/6 11/9 11/14 11/17 11/21 11/22 11/30 12/4 12/7 12/14 12/17

vs. Mount St. Mary's vs. Central Arkansas vs. Penn State vs. Georgia State Texas* Duke/Cal* vs. UNC Greensboro @Oklahoma State @Southern Methodist vs. Syracuse vs. UMBC

MEN'S SCHEDULE 12/21 12/28 12/31 1/3 1/8 1/11 1/15 1/18 1/22 1/28 2/2

vs. Samford vs. American @Providence @Seton Hall vs. St. John's @Villanova vs. Creighton vs. Marquette @Xavier vs. Butler @St. John's 2/5 2/8 2/15 2/19 2/22 2/26 3/1 3/4 3/7

*2K Empire Classic

vs. Seton Hall vs. DePaul @Butler vs. Providence @DePaul @Marquette vs. Xavier @Creighton vs. Villanova


photos by john picker

0 1 2 3 10 12

Brianna Jones Tatiana Thompson Cassandra Gordon Morgan Smith Lexi Kimball Marvellous Osagie-Erese 13 Anita Kelava 14 Jillian Archer 15 21 22 23 24 25 30 33

WOMEN'S ROSTER Nikola Kovacikova Breonna Mayfield Shanniah Wright Tayanna Jones Taylor Barnes Sari Cureton Olivia Snyder Graceann Bennett

11/5 11/12 11/16 11/21 11/24 11/29 11/30 12/6 12/8 12/14

@Davidson vs. Richmond @Pittsburgh vs. James Madison @George Washington @Loyola Marymount @Fresno State @Columbia @Fordham vs. Rider

WOMEN'S SCHEDULE 12/21 12/29 12/31 1/3 1/5 1/10 1/12 1/18 1/24 1/26

@UMES vs. Creighton vs. Providence @St. John’s @Seton Hall vs. Xavier vs. Butler @Villanova @Marquette @DePaul

vs. Seton Hall vs. St. John’s @Butler @Xavier vs. Villanova vs. DePaul vs. Marquette @Providence @Creighton

design by jacob bilich

1/31 2/2 2/7 2/9 2/16 2/21 2/23 2/28 3/1

Profile for The Georgetown Voice

Georgetown Voice 11/6/19, Women's Preview  

Georgetown Voice 11/6/19, Women's Preview  

Advertisement