Georgetown women’s basketball beats George Washington with second-half burst

December 1, 2012

The Georgetown women’s basketball team overwhelmed George Washington with a decisive run to open the second half, forcing a flurry of turnovers with its trademark full-court press and surging ahead in rebounding to complete a 70-54 victory on Saturday afternoon at Smith Center.

With the game tied at intermission, the Hoyas scored 19 of the next 23 points, including seven from junior guard Samisha Powell and five from senior guard Sugar Rodgers, to forge a 52-37 lead with 13 minutes 21 seconds to play. The second part of that burst featured 10 consecutive points capped by Powell’s only three-pointer.

“We came out, I’m not going to say flat, but we weren’t prepared,” Rodgers said. “Once we went in [the locker room], we were rejuvenated, and we just came out ready to play. [Coach Keith Brown] told us to defend, rebound, share the ball, and that’s what we did.”

Rodgers finished with a game-high 22 points to lead four Hoyas in double figures. It was the seventh time this season Rodgers has collected at least 20 points, and Georgetown’s all-time scoring leader also went 10 for 10 from the line with eight rebounds, six steals and four assists.

Junior forward Andrea White added 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals before being ejected along with GW senior forward She-Heria Shipp after both players exchanged shoves and words with 29 seconds left in regulation.

Georgetown (6-2) forced 30 turnovers, the most the Colonials have committed this season, shot 50 percent and made 19 of 21 from the free throw line. The Hoyas also outrebounded their crosstown opponent 18-10 in the second half and 30-27 overall and held a 32-6 margin on points in the paint to help offset 25 turnovers.

“I think we just got more out of our turnovers than they did,” said Brown, who is in his first season as head coach after five years as an assistant with the Hoyas. “Of course Sugar hit a couple shots, but anytime we get four players in double figures, we hope to win.”

The Colonials (4-3) got a team-high 20 points from graduate student Tara Booker, who made four of her game-high six three-pointers in the first half to help build a 10-point lead with 6:27 to go until the break. But the Hoyas countered with a 12-2 run to tie it, and they took their first lead, 31-30, since the opening minutes when Rodgers connected on a three-pointer with just over a minute to play.

Georgetown never trailed thereafter, creating havoc in the back court with its stifling press that twice this season has forced at least 30 turnovers. George Washington was able to get within 10 points on a Booker three-pointer and two foul shots by senior guard Danni Jackson, but the Hoyas reeled off 10 in a row to move ahead, 62-42, with 8:21 to play.

Rodgers figured in the final six points of that surge, starting with a steal that led to an uncontested layup. She then delivered an assist to White before making both ends of bonus free throws.

“It’s two teams that rely on their defense to score,” said GW first-year Coach Jonathan Tsipis, who came to the Colonials after nine years as an assistant at Notre Dame. “I think from that aspect, when you don’t score, we can’t get into our pressure defense and try to turn things up and produce easy baskets for ourselves. I just think we did get on our heels, and we weren’t in that same attack mode even off the dribble against the press.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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