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Photos from Flickr
Hoyas gray-out Terrapins with backcourt barrage
While many students know of only one basketball team with dominating guard play, this Tuesday night the Georgetown women’s basketball team showed that there is a plethora of backcourt talent on their squad. Fans were treated to a show on a rainy evening as the No. 13 Hoyas defeated their local rival, the No. 21 Maryland Terrapins 53-45, thanks to virtuoso performances from a pair of Georgetown guards.
Junior point guard Rubylee Wright and sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers anchored a monumentous effort from the Hoyas, bringing the team’s record to 2-0 with an impressive early-season win.
The atmosphere on Tuesday was electric, with nearly 2,000 fans packing McDonough Arena to see the much-anticipated matchup. Even before the game started, the fan presence was palpable, with gray-clad Georgetown students out in force. The many Maryland fans who made the short journey from College Park were seated directly across from the students, creating an electric dynamic that fed the game’s energy.
As the action started, it immediately became clear that defense would rule the day.
After both teams jostled for the lead, the Terps made the first run of the game. Thanks to a huge size advantage inside, Maryland out-rebounded the Hoyas early and on both ends of the court, leading to a 21-14 lead with about six minutes to go in the first half.
“It’s no secret, rebounding is going to be our Achilles heel,” head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We’re a small team, so we have to play with a lot of defensive intensity.”
The Hoyas took the ball for the last possession of the half with the score tied at 23-23. Sugar Rodgers, who had already asserted herself in the game as the offensive catalyst behind the tying run, drove the ball to the top of the ark, broke the defender’s ankles with a lightning-quick move, and launched a nothing-but-net three pointer just as time expired. Rodgers held her follow-through for an extra moment as the crowd erupted.
“That was huge for us,” Williams-Flournoy said. “It really gave the girls the confidence and momentum we needed going into the locker room and into the second half.”
The energy from Rodgers’ shot carried over to the start of the second half and the Hoyas played relentless defense. The Terrapins had no answer for Georgetown’s full-court zone press, which resulted in six straight turnovers on their first six possessions.
“They sped us up and got us to take a lot of uncharacteristic shots,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “That’s a credit to Georgetown’s defense and how hard they come at you.”
The Hoyas were able to parlay the Terrapin turnovers into a 9-0 run to start the half, giving Georgetown a 35-23 lead early in the half.
A crucial moment in the second half came around the 11-minute mark, when Wright came down with a huge rebound, and fell to the floor with a severe hamstring cramp.
Georgetown played without their floor general for the next several minutes, which allowed the Terrapins to bring the score to within one point with just over three minutes remaining.
Although Wright came back into the game, Maryland completed the comeback and took a two-point lead with just under two minutes to go. With the Maryland fans in a frenzy, the Hoyas took the ball down the court as Wright signaled for a sub as her cramp returned. Instead of subbing out of the game, though, a wide-open Wright found the ball at the shoulder of the arc and drained the biggest shot of the game, putting Georgetown back on top.
“When she shot that I was thinking no, no, no,” Williams-Flournoy said. “She had been cramping so much I didn’t think she had the strength to get the ball to the basket.”
Fortunately, Wright did have the strength the hit the big shot, even though she had been 0-3 from behind the arc in the game.
“Coach always says to be confident,” Wright said. “I knew I missed some shots early, but I didn’t let that bring me down.”
After forcing a turnover on the defensive end, the Hoyas came back down the floor and slammed the door shut on the Terrapins. with another Rodgers three.
While Rodgers and Wright provided the heroics that won the game, sophomore Sidney Wilson asserted herself down low at crucial points in the game, scoring tough buckets that started runs for the Hoyas and getting important defensive rebounds.
In the end, the Hoyas sent their rivals—and Maryland fans—home with their first-ever loss to Georgetown.
“We’re gonna enjoy this win,” senior Monica McNutt said. “Maryland brought their crowd into our house. Come on now. We take it a little personal. It’s a respect issue.”
Recently, the Georgetown women have not taken kindly to any opponent coming into McDonough—the Hoyas now have a 17-game home winning streak. The Blue and Gray will look to extend their home winning streak this Friday when LaSalle University come to town. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at McDonough Arena.