Instead of sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner in their homes across the country, the Georgetown women’s basketball team feasted on the Georgia Bulldogs and the UNLV Lady Rebels, earning the championship title in the Lady Rebel Round-Up tournament. After a tough start to the season, the No. 20 Hoyas have since attained a laudable record of 5-2, especially considering the caliber of their opponents.
The first win in Vegas came against the No. 10 Bulldogs. The Hoyas out-rebounded Georgia and capitalized on their quickness, scoring 9 fast break points and 11 on second-chance attempts.
Head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy says that this game had some added pressure.
“We needed to beat a top-ten, a top-ranked team,” she said. “That’s the confidence we needed to really keep us going.”
The team certainly needed the confidence boost, feeling pressured to improve away from home going into the tournament after having lost their only two road games. When they came out strong against the Bulldogs, and were able to make some big defensive stops at the end to snag the win.
Rodgers missed the previous game against Monmouth due to an ankle injury, the first time she’s missed a game in her career. She said she was glad to be back on the floor.
“We’re just fighting for our spot back,” she said, referring to their preseason top-ten ranking.
She took off almost a week, which she says helped her to get back on track. In the three games leading up to Monmouth, Rodgers was limited on the offensive end, but she doesn’t want to attribute all of that to the injury.
“Good players have bad games. I happened to have three bad games,” she said matter-of-factly.
Rodgers came up big in the Round-Up, scoring 23 against Georgia and 16 against the Lady Rebels, earning her the title of tournament MVP. Williams-Flournoy believes that Sugar’s return to form helped the team turn things around, but doesn’t think that it was the deciding factor. Instead, she attributes the wins to their key point of preparation—defense.
“I think our defensive intensity really picked up,” she said. “Defense is how Sug scores.”
Rodgers said that, because their offense comes organically, defense comprises the vast majority of what the team works on during practice. But she does believe that her own offensive performance ramped up the team, adding that “it just motivates you in the best way.”
She’s been playing a similar role with freshman Taylor Brown, who has stepped up as a key offensive contributor under Rodgers’s guidance. Both Rodgers and Williams-Flournoy characterize her as “quiet Taylor Brown,” but she’s just letting her performance speak for itself.
“She’s a magnet to score right away,” says Williams-Flournoy.
Brown posted 18 points in the two tournament games, consistently providing a stable option for the squad on offense. Seniors Tia Magee and Alexa Roche contributed heavily over the weekend as well, as Magee scored 26 points over the course of the tournament while Roche scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
With Rodgers back on the floor, the Hoyas are firing on all cylinders. The guard drained seven threes in the first seven minutes of the game, scoring 26 points in a 70-54 victory over Coppin State.
The Hoyas look to continue their winning ways and validate their preseason ranking as they face Rider on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m at McDonough Arena.