FILE PHOTO: SARI FRANKEL/THE HOYA Senior point guard Rubylee Wright has been a solid distributor for the Hoyas, averaging almost 5 assists per game.
Senior point guard Rubylee Wright has been a solid distributor for the Hoyas, averaging almost 5 assists per game.

Some may be superstitious about the number seven, but there was nothing lucky about No. 19 Georgetown’s 67-39 victory at Marquette Tuesday night — the Hoyas’ first-ever triumph over the Golden Eagles in the seventh all-time meeting between the teams.

Marquette (12-7, 3-3 Big East) entered the matchup a winner of three straight conference games and seven of its last eight, but a trademark defensive performance by Georgetown (15-4, 4-2 Big East) allowed Head Coach TerriWilliams-Flournoy and company to check another item off of their to-do list.

“It’s wonderful,” Williams-Flournoy told reporters. “We have seven seniors that have never beat Marquette.”

Out to avenge last season’s double-overtime 75-73 home loss, the Hoyas never allowed the Golden Eagles to take flight. Holding a 6-5 lead slightly under five minutes into the game, the Blue and Gray erupted for a 20-3 run and entered the break with an 18-point advantage.

Georgetown’s quick and aggressive press prevented Marquette’s offense from finding a rhythm and had 12 steals in the first half alone, resulting in 18 points off turnovers. The rout continued after the intermission, with the Hoyas building a lead as large as 32 and the Golden Eagles never getting closer than 16. The Blue and Gray pushed the Golden Eagles into 29 turnovers, including 22 steals, and held a 30-10 advantage in points off turnovers.

“In the past we’ve gone up on Marquette and then let them back in the game,” Williams-Flournoy said. “So at halftime I told them to make the score 0-0 and pretend like we were starting over so they came out with the same intensity.”

Encouraging for the Hoyas were 31 points off the bench, including 14 points in 15 minutes for senior forward Tommacina McBride. This was not to say that the starters lacked in point production, however. Junior guard and the Big East’s leading scorer Sugar Rodgers led the Blue and Gray with 18 points on the evening, including a pair of deep three-pointers that contributed to her 10 points in the opening 10:02 of the second half.

Despite finishing with a 43.3 field goal percentage, the Hoyas — whose opponents’ average field-goal percentage is fourth lowest in the conference — did little to make their hosts’ comeback bid any easier. The Blue and Gray’s pesky defenders forced Marquette into difficult, contested shots with their half-court press, resulting in a mediocre 27.3 shooting percentage from the field.

“It all starts with defense for us,” Rodgers said. “We’ve been focusing on defense in practice and it really paid off for us tonight.”

“[Georgetown’s defense] got us back on our heels. … It was contagious,” Marquette Head Coach Terri Mitchell said. “We played right into Georgetown’s hands. It really taught us a lot.”

Georgetown finished with just four made three-pointers, but compensated with a 34-6 advantage in the paint. The Hoyas also won the battle on the boards, hauling in 48 rebounds to the Eagles’ 35. Hard-working senior forward Adria Crawford collected 10 boards, while classmate and fellow forward Tia Magee had five to complement her eight points.

Georgetown will return to the hardwood on Sunday, when it hosts No. 15 Louisville (15-4, 4-2 Big East) in a crucial conference matchup. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. at McDonough Arena and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

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