WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | Rodgers’ 25 Drive Bounce-Back Rout of Pitt
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 23:01
For better or worse, sometimes the final score of a game is not entirely indicative of the run of play. Such was the case Saturday afternoon at McDonough Arena, as the Georgetown women’s basketball team led by as many as 23 points against Pittsburgh in a dominating performance that ultimately saw the Hoyas triumph by just 12, 69-57.
The Blue and Gray (12-8, 3-4 Big East), coming off of a 55-47 loss at the hands of Rutgers, outplayed the Panthers (9-10, 0-6 Big East) for a majority of the game but struggled down the stretch as they watched their lead diminish.
“Hopefully [this game] takes us on a little run. Our next game is home against Cincinnati. We need that [win],” Head Coach Keith Brown said. “Winning is contagious. If we can start doing it and get on a run, then I think it will help us down the road.”
Led by senior shooting guard Sugar Rodgers and junior forward Andrea White, Georgetown opened with a 16-6 run that put Pittsburgh on its heels from the opening tip.
The Hoyas’ energetic first-half defense not only forced 12 Panther turnovers but also caused numerous poor shots, which allowed the Blue and Gray to get out on the break. With White and her teammates cleaning up on the boards — outrebounding their counterparts 25-18 in the period — those fast-break chances came early and often.
“I think they are starting to get it and are starting to play with a sense of urgency,” Brown said of his players. “And when you play with a sense of urgency, you have the opportunity to see how we can truly be a good defensive team.”
In contrast with previous games, the Hoyas closed out the half strong, going on 14-7 run giving them the 33-19 halftime lead.
Georgetown’s momentum continued into the second half, extending their lead to 43-25 out of the locker room. The Hoyas quickly established their dominance as they went inside to senior center Sydney Wilson on three consecutive trips.
But the Blue and Gray began to get sloppy as time wound down. The Hoyas forced shots, were slow getting back in transition and failed to crash the defensive boards, which drove the Panthers’ 17-11 run.
“I think we were winning by too many points and they just got sloppy. They stopped playing hard. You never want that as a coach, but it happens sometimes,” Brown said. “We played a lot of kids that don’t play as many minutes as they usually play, but you want to give some of the younger kids an opportunity to play.”
Although Georgetown saw its 23-point lead dwindle to just 10, strong free-throw shooting and more fast-break layups proved to be enough to walk away with the 69-57 victory.
“It was a physical game, but I think since we were up, we stopped playing and then they came back. … We have to play hard all of the time,” Rodgers said. “We gave up a lot of rebounds and second-chance points.”
The Hoyas dominated scoring in the paint to the tune of a 38-16 advantage, but a spectacular second-half rebounding effort by Pittsburgh gave the Panthers a 48-39 final edge in rebounds.
Rodgers led all scorers with 25 points and added nine assists, while White chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds. Pittsburgh sophomore guard Brianna Kiesel led the way for the Panthers with 22 points.
“I told the girls that I don’t know what our standing is in the Big East — I don’t know how we are going to finish the season,” Brown said. “But if we just play one game at a time, we have a better opportunity of doing some good things.”
“I think that the win gives us a lot of momentum going forward,” White echoed. “We have to get wins, so this will build up our confidence.”