WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | GU Stifles Rutgers in Upset Win
Published: Monday, January 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 00:01
This one was more than just a win for the No. 17 Georgetown women's basketball team — it was a statement. The Hoyas upset No. 12 Rutgers in convincing fashion, defeating the Scarlet Knights, 54-36, on Sunday afternoon at McDonough Arena.
"We really needed a signature win over a ranked opponent at this point in the season," Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said after the game.
And a signature win it was. The Blue and Gray had lost three of their last four home games, all at the hands of ranked opponents, but they finally were able to end that streak and defeat a high-caliber Big East team.
"Defeat" may be a little too soft of a word. The Hoyas demolished the Scarlet Knights.
Georgetown came out firing straight out of the gate and played a relentless 40 minutes of basketball. They swarmed to the ball, crashed every rebound, and simply played with much more intensity then their counterparts.
And their defense wasn't too bad either: The Hoyas held Rutgers to a meager 36 points, which was over 20 points fewer than the Knights' previous season-low in points scored.
Georgetown employed their signature press often, and Rutgers had no response, as the Hoyas scored 22 points off of as many turnovers. And when the press didn't force turnovers, it ate time up on the shot clock and forced Rutgers into taking some tough looks.
"It was definitely one of our best defensive games," Williams-Flournoy said. "Our kids have bought into pressing and bought into defense being the key point to our program."
The Hoyas dropped into a zone after pressing throughout most of the game, forcing the Scarlet Knights to beat them in their perimeter shooting. And, just as Georgetown hoped, Rutgers had an abysmal day from outside the paint. They shot a poor 30 percent as a team and did not connect on any of their 14 attempts from three.
Senior wing April Sykes, Rutgers' leading scorer and three-point shooter, could not find her shooting stroke all night, finishing 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. Georgetown also bottled up junior forward Monique Oliver down low.
"We were just outplayed. They were a much better team than we were today," Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer said.
The game started out close in the opening minutes, but with the game tied at eight with 13 minutes to play in the first half, the Hoyas took over. Junior guard Sugar Rodgers nailed a pair of threes on ensuing possessions and Rutgers fell into a scoring draught that lasted over six minutes.
The Scarlet Knights also caught a bad break with five minutes left in the half when they lost their offensive leader and point guard in senior Khadijah Rushdan, who went out with a head injury. Rushdan sat out the rest of the game, and her absence was evident in the Knights' offensive output.
The Blue and Gray virtually put the game away early in the second half after scoring seven points in the first two minutes to go up 33-17. Five of those seven came from senior forward Tia Magee, who stepped up big in the second half for the second straight game and led the Hoyas to victory. Magee shot 9-11 from the field and paced the Blue and Gray with 21 points.
"[Tia] is very capable of taking over the game. Once she gets her confidence, she is hard to defend," Williams-Flournoy said.
But Magee was sure to deflect the attention toward her teammates.
"My teammates have come to me and said they needed me to be more aggressive, and I've been making it a point to take all the things that they give," Magee said.
The fans at McDonough Arena were not only treated to a dominant win, but also to a record-setting night from Georgetown senior point guard Rubylee Wright. Her five assists on the afternoon made her the new all-time assists leader in Georgetown history with 472.
"I just wouldn't have been able to do it without these girls," Wright said on setting the record. "They make everything else easier for me."