WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | McCormick Aiming To Step Up Again at SJU
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2013 02:02
Coming off of a hard-fought loss to Louisville, the Georgetown women’s basketball team (13-9, 4-5 Big East) is looking to rebound and make a statement when it takes on St John’s this weekend at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y. With just nine games remaining in the regular season, every game counts as Georgetown begins its playoff push.
But a game against St. John’s (10-10, 4-4 Big East), especially on its home floor, is certainly no easy task. Despite a mediocre record, the Red Storm this season has played numerous elite teams tight — including, most recently, a 71-65 loss to No. 3 Connecticut.
“We are a young team, so this will be the first time for most of our girls to go into that arena, and it is a tough place to play,” senior center Sydney Wilson said. “I think it will be a learning experience if anything. We don’t really have the veterans that we had last year. It will definitely be a very intense game, [but] we have the potential to play really well.”
The Hoyas will turn once again to the Big East’s leading scorer, senior shooting guard Sugar Rodgers, to lead them against the Red Storm. Rodgers will hope to recover from a particularly poor shooting performance against Louisville, who defeated the Hoyas 74-60, when she managed just six points on 2-of-17 shooting.
“Sugar better come out on fire,” freshman guard Katie McCormick said. “No, I mean a lot of people are associating her with having a bad game [against Louisville] just because she didn’t have as many points, but her assists were off the charts and she really kept us together on the defense end. She really didn’t have that bad of a game — it just wasn’t up to her norm.”
McCormick herself is another one that the Blue and Gray will look to against the Red Storm, having scored a career-high 21 points against Louisville. Going forward, McCormick has the potential to be something that Georgetown has been looking for all season — a consistent scorer not named Sugar Rodgers.
“Katie played great [against Louisville]. She is going to play a lot more minutes after coming out and scoring 21 points — that is a great game and a confidence booster,” Wilson said. “I know, as a freshman, to get such a boost like that, you’ll ride on that for that rest of the season, so I think she will continue to play well.”
In addition to what would seem to be an edge outside, Georgetown also has a noticeable advantage over St. John’s in the paint. This size difference will give Wilson, senior center Vanessa Moore and junior forward Andrea White more opportunities to score in the low post.
“We are going to pound the ball inside this game because they play four guards, so they don’t have a real post presence,” Wilson said. “They have a junior center that is about 6-foot-2, but other than that, they don’t have anyone coming off the bench that is a post. We should be able to go inside a lot this game.”
With this size advantage, Georgetown should be able to facilitate an inside-out game to give their guards open outside looks.
On the defensive end, the Hoyas will be facing a thin Red Storm offense. Thus far this season, St. John’s has only averaged 60 points per game. Senior guard Shennika Smith ranks in the top five in the Big East in scoring and leads the Johnnies in scoring, averaging 16.7 a game.
“We are going to stay with our defense — a basic press — and then we are dropping back our zone a little bit in hopes of containing [Smith],” McCormick said.
Along with Smith, Georgetown will have to manage freshman standout guard Aliyyah Handford — who was recently named Big East rookie of the week — and junior guard Briana Brown. Both Handford and Brown are coming off strong offensive performances against Connecticut and Providence.
“If we can just stop [Smith] from penetrating, we’ll be able to contain them because they aren’t really a shooting team,” Wilson said. “Also if we limit our fouls and limit [Smith’s] getting to the basket and distributing we have a chance to win because they definitely aren’t really looking to shoot.”
Georgetown will take on St. John’s Saturday in Queens, N.Y. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.