WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | Jackson Shows Star Potential in Losing Cause
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Saturday, January 19, 2013 14:01
Tuesday’s women’s basketball game between Georgetown and Notre Dame surely seemed destined to be a battle between two guards as All-Americans Sugar Rodgers and Skylar Diggins squared off. In this respect it did not disappoint, but it was not those two proven stars — but rather their teammates — who took the spotlight. Georgetown sophomore guard Jasmine Jackson and Notre Dame junior guard Kayla McBride each led the way in scoring for their teams with the All Americans bringing in well-rounded lines.
Jackson could not do it all on her own for Georgetown (10-7, 1-3 Big East), however. Done in by Notre Dame’s tough defense and near perfect free-throw shooting, the Hoyas ultimately fell on the road to the No. 2 Irish (15-1, 4-0 Big East), 79-64, in a classic Big East battle.
The Irish capitalized on early Hoya mistakes and started out strong, jumping out to an early 20-4 lead. Notre Dame also found holes in the Hoya defense and pounded the ball inside, which resulted in easy layups and kick-outs for open jumpers.
“We turned over the basketball. We didn’t take care of the basketball — we weren’t strong with our passes,” Head Coach Keith Brown said. “There were about 9,000 people in there, it was on national television and we are still young. Once they got their sea legs, they got back in it.”
With 8:38 left in the first half, the Irish had extended their lead to 24 points. But the Hoyas would soon respond with a run to close out the first half. Sparked by a jumper by junior forward Andrea White, the Blue and Gray closed out the first half on an 18-9 run therefore cutting the Irish lead to 44-29.
In the first half, the Notre Dame defense held Big East leading scorer senior guard Sugar Rodgers to just four points. Other players stepped up for the Hoyas, though, including Jackson — who recorded 11 first-half points — and White, who had six.
“Notre Dame played pretty good defense on Sugar [in the first half]. But when we were turning over the ball, they were getting easy lay-ups, so they were having the opportunity to really load up their defense,” Brown said. “They did a good job. They are a very physical team, and they were allowed to be physical. So that probably had something to do with it also. “
The Hoyas carried their momentum into the second half, as they cut the Irish lead to 13 on a White trey with just over 18 minutes remaining. They would get closer, however, with spectacular free throw shooting helping the Irish to fend off the comeback.
Georgetown ended the game on a 17-8 run, but Notre Dame still walked away with the 79-64 victory.
“I think we calmed down a little bit [in the second half]. They went to the line 25 times in the first half, and I think that had a lot to do with it also,” Brown said. “I think things became a little more even in the second half, and we were able to press them a little bit and turn them over, which allowed us to get back into it. We cut it to 13, but then we broke down and made more mental mistakes. “
Despite a seemingly lackluster performance, Georgetown did play up to the high level of competition, especially in the second half. Both the Blue and Gray and the Irish had 35 second-half points and grabbed 36 boards on the game. But the Hoyas forced a staggering 28 turnovers — a season high for Notre Dame.
“[W]hen Andrea picks it up, we are a better basketball team. I think she really played well and got on the boards,” Brown said. “I think we are making the effort. It’s starting to get into their head that they can rebound the basketball. They had more effort on the boards.”
The real difference in the game, then, appears to have been the aforementioned disparity in free throw shooting: the Irish amassed 20 more points from the line than the Hoyas, converting at an astonishing 35-38 clip from the charity stripe. While Georgetown was efficient, going 15-17, they lacked the large number of attempts their counterparts had.
Jackson led the Hoyas with a career-high 15 points, and White had a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. Rodgers equaled White’s point tally, but those 14 represented a season-low for the high-octane guard.
The Hoyas will next be in action on Saturday against Seton Hall. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at McDonough Arena.