Georgetown women defeat Louisville in fight-marred game

By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 17, 2010

The 24th-ranked Georgetown women's basketball team finally beat Louisville, winning 60-56 at McDonough Arena on Saturday afternoon. But the Hoyas' first win over the Cardinals will be remembered less for what happened during the game than for what happened before it.

A pregame melee involving players from both teams is being reviewed by the schools and the Big East conference. The fight was filmed by the television crew broadcasting the game.

The incident occurred during warmups. About an hour before the game, Louisville was running a lap around the court when one of the Georgetown players reportedly stuck out her foot and tripped a Louisville player. Words were exchanged and soon several players from both teams were throwing punches. Eventually, the sides were separated and order was restored.

Because the altercation took place more than 15 minutes prior to tip-off, the officials did not have jurisdiction over the event at the time. No technical fouls were assessed. Neither coach wanted to comment on the incident until talking to players and viewing the tape. Georgetown also refused to let its players talk about it.

"It's a Big East game. Emotions are high," Georgetown Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "It got to a situation where it shouldn't have gotten to. . . . I don't know exactly what happened. I was doing [a TV interview]. I turned my head and saw it happening, both teams just kind of going at each other."

None of the contentiousness seemed to carry over into the game. Nonetheless, the officials blew their whistles early and often. Louisville (10-7, 2-2 Big East) reached seven fouls 8 1/2 minutes into the game. Georgetown (15-2, 4-0) was at seven three minutes later. The teams combined for 52 fouls and 59 free throws. Nine players finished with three or more fouls and three Louisville players fouled out.

The fouls, combined with poor shooting by both teams, made it an unsightly contest. Georgetown missed six of its first seven field goal attempts and 20 of its first 28. Aside from Shanice Fuller's short jumper that made it 27-21, the Hoyas scored all of their points off layups and free throws. They missed their first 10 shots from behind the arc and didn't make a three-pointer until Monica McNutt's long-range shot put them in front, 37-25. Georgetown made 30.4 percent of its shots overall and just 7.1 percent from three-point range.

Freshman guard Sugar Rodgers, the Big East's leading scorer at 19 points per game, led the Hoyas with 13 points on 6-for-20 shooting.

Louisville, last year's NCAA tournament runner-up, was undone by its carelessness with the ball. The Cardinals had 30 turnovers, which led to 33 points for Georgetown.

After the Hoyas took a 41-25 lead on McNutt's free throws, Becky Burke made three three-pointers and Louisville turned over the ball just once during a six-minute period to pull to 52-48 with just less than five minutes remaining.

A three-point play by Monique Reed (15 points) and a layup by Keshia Hines (15 points, 12 rebounds) gave Louisville its first lead since early in the game. It lasted only 34 seconds. Georgetown's Jaleesa Butler was fouled trying to put back an errant shot and made both her free throws to put the Hoyas back in front.

Trailing by two with 3.6 seconds remaining, Louisville tried to inbound the ball but threw it out of bounds. Georgetown threw the ball into Latia Magee, who was fouled and sank both her free throws to seal the Hoyas' first win against the Cardinals in five tries. The victory also extended their winning streak to a program-record 14 games.

"I think it's just exciting winning, period," Magee said. "We've done a lot of big things this year. We've beaten a lot of teams. . . . Just to get the win, period, is really exciting."

© 2010 The Washington Post Company