This past weekend, the Georgetown women’s basketball team (4-2) experienced a change in scenery, leaving behind the plummeting temperatures of D.C., for the sunshine of California. The Hoyas, playing in the 2012 Cal Classic, had their hands full for the duration of the trip, playing two games against pesky Cal State University Fullerton (2-4) and powerhouse California (5-0).
First up for the Hoyas was a Friday night clash with the Titans of CSUF, a member of the Big West Conference which entered the game with a middling 2-2 record. The first half was a familiar sight for Hoya fans; Georgetown overwhelmed the Titans with their relentless full-court pressure, forcing them to turn the ball over 11 times. At the half, the Hoyas held a comfortable 35 -16 lead, anchored by star senior guard Sugar Rodgers’ 18 points.
Whatever comfort the Hoyas felt at the close of the first half quickly turned to chaos in the second, as the Hoyas squandered their lead, allowing the Titans to claw back to within two points and have possession of the ball with 36 seconds left in the game. The Hoyas, however, were able to force a quick turnover and run out the clock, holding on to win 53 to 51. Rodgers led all scorers with 22 points in the game, also adding 8 rebounds and 4 steals.
“We didn’t play with enough energy in the first game,” first-year head coach Keith Brown explained. “What I was able to do is put freshmen on the floor because we had a big lead, and, of course, they dwindled the lead.”
“We won the game,” he continued. “We probably should have won by more…but they pulled it out and a win’s a win.”
Next up for the Hoyas was a date in the championship against the No. 11 Golden Bears of California, who were coming off a 91-58 beatdown over Eastern Washington.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Hoyas trailed by just 5 points, paced by 12 from Rodgers and 9 from junior forward Andrea White.
The Golden Bears, however, were too much for the Hoyas in the second half. A 9-0 run in the half pushed California’s lead to 10, and though Georgetown continued to fight back, additional runs by the opposition proved insurmountable, and the Hoyas suffered their second loss of the season, falling 72-56.
A concern for the Hoyas following the loss was their inability to protect the paint, allowing repeated dribble penetration en route to 20 team assists for the Golden Bears, statistics Brown was not pleased with.
“In that game we just gave up too much penetration, because their point guard must have had 14 or 15 assists,” he said. “It wasn’t that we [weren’t] physical enough, it was that we gave up so much penetration that they had dump-offs.”
Brown also explained the effect that inexperience had on his team’s defensive struggles. He feels their age is betrayed by their unrefined technique.
“Freshmen swing, upperclassmen move their feet. I tell them, ‘Baby, you gotta stay out The Matrix.’ They’re swinging their arms just like they’re in The Matrix.’ I say, ‘Baby, you gotta move your feet!’”
Despite the loss, Brown remained pleased with his team’s overall performance in the tournament, highlighting his squad’s nonstop effort.
“I was so proud of the girls,” he added. “Actually, Cal gave them a standing ovation, commending how hard they played. So overall, it was a good trip for us.”