Charles Nailen/The Hoya Cappie Pondexter and the Knights routed the Hoyas at home Saturday.

The rift between the nation’s elite and the Georgetown women’s basketball team never showed as clearly as Saturday afternoon, when Rutgers outclassed and outmaneuvered its beleaguered competitor in a contest that culminated in the Blue and Gray’s worst defeat of the season, an embarrassing 93-52 decision.

“Today was a very, very poor and disappointing representation,” Head Coach Patrick Knapp. “It’s all of us – it’s coaches, it’s players.”

While the Hoyas have turned in lifeless performances before, the game against No. 22 Rutgers witnessed Georgetown slide to a new low as the number of flaws and missteps piled high. The predominance of scarlet-clad, enthusiastic fans over dispirited Hoya supporters only intensified the contrast between a team with exciting playoff prospects and a team just gasping for air at this point in the season.

“I know that [the Hoyas] did not play up to their potential. They are capable of playing better, maybe they were a little shocked,” Rutgers’s Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer said. “I know I wouldn’t want to see them at their best because they’re capable.”

From the tip-off, the Scarlet Knights controlled the game. Within the first five minutes, the visitors had run up an 8-0 lead as Georgetown failed to land a shot. After over six minutes of play, junior forward Rebekkah Brunson sank one of two free throws to turn on the Hoya side of the scoreboard. The home team could not muster anything more, and the score quickly changed to 15-1 with 12 minutes left.

“One of the things we’re looking for is to attack early,” Stringer said.

Finally, sophomore guard Sarah Jenkins nailed a three-pointer to set off a small scoring blitz from Georgetown that cut the lead down to seven points, 18-11 with just over eight minutes left in the first half. While the Hoyas played their adversaries closely in cDonough Gymnasium for a few minutes, unfocused shooting and turnovers allowed the Scarlet Knights to run away again, racking up points.

From a 30-20 score with less than two minutes left, Rutgers embarked on a six-point scoring run to sink Georgetown’s hopes of coming back in the game. A series of last-second jumpers and treys displayed the visiting team’s shooting dexterity and also helped put away the host team. Senior guard Mauri Horton finished off the half from beyond the arc to set the Scarlet Knight’s up with a 36-20 edge.

“In the first half, it wasn’t a matter of defense. Five out of six times our hands were in their face. It was all them and none of us today,” Knapp said.

Perusing the statistics, Rutgers dominance becomes apparent. Its players hit 56 percent of their shots compared with a tepid 30.0 percent from the Hoyas’ side. The Scarlet Knights outscored their hosts 14-4 in the paint and took advantage if their opponents’ eight turnovers to score nine points. Pondexter shone brightly in All-American form, stealing the show with her 17 points. Horton came off the bench but played like a starter, chipping in nine points.

“We played a team that was scared. We didn’t want to lose,” Stringer said.

Brunson propped up Georgetown’s ashen offense with eight points while senior reserve forward Nok Duany provided much needed assistance with six points. The Hoyas’ depth extended barely beyond there as Jenkins and fellow sophomore guard Mary Lisicky each added three points to round out the scoring.

Back for another round, Lisicky opened things up for the Hoyas with a three-pointer in the opening seconds. This hardly sparked a trend for Georgetown, and the competition soon euthanized the team under a barrage of sharp shots. With 17:42 left on the clock, the Scarlet Knights had stretched the lead to 20 points, 43-23. While the home team heaved shots at the basket, Rutgers distanced itself with a 17-5 run that left them on top 53-25.

Things only deteriorated for Georgetown, and the scarlet cheering section delighted to see its team coast to victory. The lead stretched past 30 points and beyond, while Rutgers pulled down defensive rebounds off hasty Georgetown shots and used its superior speed to burn the opposition as it streaked down court on the breakaway. The formula worked spectacularly, and by the end of the game, the Scarlet Knights had brought their lead to 40 points.

“This is a team that puts its head down too soon. We get very frustrated, people shoot too quickly and don’t focus on the target, and boom it’s coming back the other way,” Knapp said.

That Knapp remained in stony silence while sitting on the bench summed up everything; the usually vociferous coach had resigned himself while the on-court slaughtering continued. In the end, Rutgers marched off with an easy victory, 93-52, and Georgetown had more questions to ponder and failures to haunt it.

“I’m not going to call timeouts in the second half because I’ve already told them everything they had to do,” Knapp said.

Hitting 19-of-29 field goal tries, Rutgers’s 65.5 percent shooting percentage downed the home team easily, a result of skilled shooting and relatively apathetic defense. Georgetown marginally improved its field goal percentage to 30.2 percent, but could hardly boast the 61.1 percent game average of its opponent.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever shot 61 percent. There was a time last year when we didn’t even shoot free throws 61 percent,” Stringer said.

On top of the hot shooting, the Scarlet Knights sank 20 of 28 shots from the charity stripe. The Hoyas did not help their own cause with 6-for-26 shooting from beyond the arc. The two most glaring statistics demonstrate Rutgers dominance: the team scored 40 points in the paint and 20 points off fast breaks, demonstrating their speed and Georgetown’s lack of transition defense.

“You just look at our numbers and you’ll see we really played an outstanding game,” Horton said.

The game belonged to Pondexter; her 31 points accounted for one-third of her team’s total, and she also grabbed seven rebounds and made six assists. Sophomore guard Chelsea Newton recorded the game’s only double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Horton came up big with 19 points of her own.

“It was a great offensive performance. It was nice to see them pass and look so comfortable,” Stringer said.

Duany came off the bench for the Hoyas to become the leading scorer for the second consecutive game; she led this game with 12 points. Brunson and Lisicky had low shooting percentages but still came up with 10 points each, while junior forward Varda Tamoulianis made the most of her 16 minutes with an aggressive and energetic performance that garnered seven points at a time when many of her teammates dragged their feet. Jenkins put in a scrappy showing, helping out on defense and pulling down six rebounds.

“When we play our best our wings have to score. It becomes ultra-important when Brunson and Lisicky don’t shoot well or have an off-night. The more you talk about shooting, the worse mentally it is,” Knapp said.

Rutgers remains in second place in the Big East with an 11-2 conference record and an 18-5 overall record, and anticipates a Big East tournament run despite the absence of star players such as junior forward Shalicia Hurns and sophomore forward Mariota Theodoris who provided size in the paint. Georgetown, however, cannot get out of its rut while losing to the top competition. The Big East season has had its ups and downs and the team stands in 10th with a 5-8 record, 14-10 for the season.

On Wednesday night at 8:00, the renowned Huskies of the University of Connecticut strut into McDonough Gymnasium for the Hoyas final home game. The Huskies have won 65 consecutive games, having set a new record in women’s college basketball against the Hoyas in January.

The unanimous No. 1 in the nation, Connecticut boasts junior guard Diana Taurasi, the top player in the country, as well as a pack of young but surprisingly mature players such as freshman forward Willnett Crockett and freshman guard/forward Barbara Turner. Georgetown’s record against ranked opponents has hardly impressed, and the outcome may be predetermined, but the Hoyas may summon some strength to challenge their rival in this David and Goliath tale.

“UConn isn’t the issue, we’re the issue. We’ve got to shoot the ball and not hang our head. We might be mismatched, but we’ve got to play hard,” Knapp said. “We clearly have a crisis of confidence, but we’ve got to keep our eye on the goal.”

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