File Photo: MARISSA AMENDOLIA/THE HOYA Sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers took a team-high 17 shots and scored 13 points on Saturday at Seton Hall.
Sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers took a team-high 17 shots and scored 13 points on Saturday at Seton Hall.

No. 19 Georgetown (17-5, 5-3 Big East) continued its climb up the Big East standings on Saturday afternoon, cruising by Seton Hall (7-14, 0-8 Big East) on the road, 59-41, for its third straight win.

The Blue and Gray were expected to prevail against the Pirates, who entered the game on a seven-game winless streak and have yet to taste victory in 2011. Fresh off an impressive triumph over No. 8 West Virginia, Georgetown squashed any chance of a letdown early on, taking a 37-17 lead into halftime.

The Hoyas held the hosts scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the game, keeping the Pirates in single digits until 7:02 remained in the half. Seton Hall’s 17 first-half points were the fewest scored by a Big East opponent against Georgetown this season.

“We just played our defense. We’ve really gotten our players to buy into the fact that defense creates everything else,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “So when we are focused on defense we tend to do well in other areas like rebounding.”

Indeed, the Blue and Gray dominated on the boards all evening, outrebounding the Pirates, 41-27 — a statistic indicative of the Hoyas’ success in the post throughout the game. Junior forward Adria Crawford led Georgetown with 14 points and nine rebounds while junior forward Tia Magee chipped in 13 points, including seven of the Hoyas’ final nine points in the first half.

“We forced them to spread their defense allowing us opportunities inside. We made an effort at the wing and the high post to look low, and it paid off,” Williams-Flournoy said. “I think a number of our posts had good games because we looked for them where they had chances to score.”

While the visitors seemed in firm control going into the break, the Pirates began the second half with a 7-0 run. The Hoyas’ offense was inexplicably silenced, held without a second-half point for over six minutes, prompting Williams-Flournoy to substitute her starters.

“We just didn’t come out as intense and focused as we needed to be,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Credit to Seton Hall because they took advantage, but we just weren’t focused.”

Despite the rough stretch, Georgetown was able to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the half. A 9-0 run for the Hoyas, beginning with 7:16 remaining, defused any chance of a Pirates comeback and stretched the Georgetown lead to 21 points.

Even considering the underwhelming beginning to the half, the Hoyas performed well in an always-tough Big East victory. Standout sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers pitched in 13 points to the cause and senior guard Monica McNutt added 11, including the first six points of the game. Only one Pirate reached double-digit scoring figures: off the bench, sophomore guard Terry Green converted a trio of treys on her way to an 11-point outing.

“We had some good moments but we didn’t put 40 minutes together,” Williams-Flournoy said. “I’m happy that we didn’t let their run hurt us and we showed resilience.”

The Blue and Gray will look to continue their recent run of success on Tuesday at Louisville in a clash of teams who are both 5-3 in the Big East. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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