- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Georgetown Hoyas are looking forward to the Big East women’s tournament with determination despite a tough 54-45 loss to St. John’s on Monday in their regular-season finale.

“If you live in the past,” senior Rubylee Wright said, “you can’t see the future. We’re just going to keep moving forward and think about what’s next.”

With the Big East tournament coming this weekend, seven seniors look to postseason play as a chance to wear the blue-and-grey uniform a bit longer. A win no longer simply improves the team’s record. It promises more playing time.

As a freshman in 2009, Tia Magee — now a senior — was part of a young squad that saw its conference tournament run end in the first round with a 70-45 loss to Seton Hall.

The following season, not a fan was left sitting as third-seeded Georgetown headed into double overtime with sixth-seeded Rutgers in the tournament quarterfinals. The Scarlet Knights, however, sent them home in 63-56 finish.

The Hoyas last season played in the quarterfinals against top-ranked Connecticut. But they fell to the Huskies 59-43. Connecticut went on to eliminate Georgetown from the NCAA tournament as well, escaping with a 68-63 win in the Sweet 16.

This year, the Hoyas are out for redemption as tournament play opens Friday in Hartford, Conn. Having secured a double bye as the fourth seed with an 11-5 league record (22-7 overall), the Hoyas play their first game Sunday at noon.

As the excitement mounts and the tournament draws near, Georgetown’s seniors remembered what it’s like to play in the postseason for the first time. Now returning as veterans, they shared Big East experiences with younger teammates.

“This is my last go-around,” Magee said. “I’m having a lot of self-talk about the things that I have to do. But [I have also been] talking to the younger girls and trying to get them prepared for the type of games we’re about to play, the type of environment we’re about to be in, the type of things that they’re going to see.”

With advice from their upperclassmen, the freshmen look forward, undaunted.

“I know it’s going to be very competitive and I’m excited because it’s my first one,” freshman Taylor Brown said. “I’m really confident in my team and I hope we go far.”

Added Magee: “You know [the freshmen] will be fine.”

As the confident Wright spoke to her team’s abilities, the guard recalled her favorite moment of the season thus far as an example of the level of play that will set the Hoyas apart in the tournament.

It came when Georgetown secured a tight win in the final minutes of its 65-62 triumph at Syracuse on Saturday.

“It just showed how good of a team we can be,” Wright said. “We were down the whole game and it just showed us sticking together and being one. That game opened my eyes [to] how good we really are and how we all have each other’s backs.”

For Brown, the memorable win over Syracuse was a moment the freshman will never forget.

“I think that was the best game that we played,” Brown said. “It felt like we played like a team, and I was just like, ‘Wow, I’m a part of a good Division I basketball team in the Big East.’ I was real proud of them, I was proud of my team.”

Underclassman or upperclassman, the team has one goal in mind: taking the Big East tournament for the first time in school history.

“Going far in the Big East tournament is something that we haven’t been able to accomplish as a team,” Magee said. “That’s something that’s very, very important to me. We’re going to try and take it one win at a time.”

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