On a night when its most prolific scorer missed all but one field goal attempt and finished with her second-lowest point total this season, the Georgetown women’s basketball team managed to push 23rd-ranked Syracuse to the wire Tuesday night before falling, 69-60, at McDonough Gym.
After trailing by 10 points with just less than 61 / 2 minutes to play, the Hoyas rallied to get within four in the final minute, but turnovers and missed shots down the stretch conspired to send them to a third consecutive loss and allowed their arch rival to sweep the season series for the first time since 1995-96.
“I’m not a person to make excuses. I tell it like it is, but we’re young, too many injuries,” Hoyas Coach Keith Brown said of his team, which had just eight available players, including five freshmen and sophomores. “But you’ve still got to play the game, and I thought that we really had a chance to do something.”
It didn’t help that Sugar Rodgers, who entered as the country’s second-leading scorer (23.2 points per game), shot 1 for 12 and committed five of Georgetown’s season-high 27 turnovers. Rodgers (eight points) was one of three Hoyas with five turnovers, although the senior had seven rebounds, four assists and a team-high four steals.
Freshman forward Dominique Vitalis had 15 points for Georgetown (13-11, 4-7 Big East) to reach double figures for a second straight game. The Big East rookie of the week made 7 of 9 shots and added eight rebounds, and freshman guard Katie McCormick scored 14 points before leaving the game in closing minutes with a left knee injury.
“I kind of feel like we beat ourselves this time,” said senior center Sydney Wilson, who had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a game-high four blocks. “I think we definitely were capable of beating them. We just made these little mistakes over and over and over again.”
Syracuse (20-3, 8-2), meantime, won its fourth in a row and triumphed at McDonough for the first time since 2005-06 despite shooting 27 percent and missing 27 of 36 three-pointers. The Orange was able to compensate by making 24 for 33 from the foul line, and it had three players score in double digits.
Freshman guard Brianna Butler led the way with 16 points even though she missed 11 of 17 shots, and senior guard Elashier Hall had 14 points and eight rebounds. Center Kayla Alexander chipped in 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Orange.
After going without a field goal for 10 minutes bridging the halves and trailing by eight shortly after intermission, Syracuse unleashed 15 points in a row beginning with Hall’s jumper with 16 minutes 53 seconds left.
Georgetown called timeout, but it did nothing to stem the tide. The Orange came out of the break with a three-pointer by Hall for the lead to stay and another from Butler to make it 41-35 with 14:34 to play. Alexander sank a free throw to close the flurry.
The Hoyas had to weather a lengthy stretch without Rodgers in the second half after the school’s all-time scoring leader picked up her third personal foul with 12:59 to play. While Rodgers sat on the bench, the Orange built a 56-46 lead.
Rodgers re-entered with 5:56 to play, and the Hoyas promptly scored six consecutive points. It was 59-54 when Syracuse called timeout with 2:01 to play to prevent losing possession when Butler was trapped. Soon after Georgetown lost McCormick, and Syracuse made 5 of 6 foul shots in the final minute to escape.