By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 24, 2010; D07
Nothing seems to bother 19th-ranked Georgetown this season, not even the suspension of two of its players. Tri-captain Kenya Kirkland and reserve Tia McBride were not on the bench for the Hoyas in their 74-65 victory over DePaul on Saturday afternoon at McDonough Arena. The two players were serving a one-game suspension for their part in a pregame altercation with Louisville a week ago.
The school and the Big East refused to disclose the identities of the players when the suspensions were announced this week.
"I think that there's a privacy right that those kids should have," Georgetown Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "They're kids. They're children. Their names shouldn't be put out there like that."
Kirkland, a senior guard from Brooklyn, played in the Hoyas' first 17 games, averaging 7.5 minutes per game. McBride, a sophomore forward from Cincinnati, played in all 18 games prior to Saturday, averaging 7.4 minutes per game.
"They're my players. They're my kids. I'm supposed to take care of them," Williams-Flournoy said. "But in the end, they're still getting disciplined for [the incident]. . . . They had to sit out a game. That's the worst thing that a player would want to do is sit out a game. They couldn't even be on the bench."
According to Williams-Flournoy, the players also met with interim athletic director Daniel R. Porterfield and will do community service as part of their punishment.
"Everybody on our team is incredibly important," junior guard Monica McNutt said. "We were able to stay focused, which was important. They'll be there for the next game, and we're excited to have them back."
According to McNutt, it was less the distraction of her teammates' suspensions than a poor pregame shoot-around that led to Georgetown's early funk Saturday. The Hoyas (17-2, 6-0 Big East) missed five of their first seven shots to fall behind 15-5 to open the game.
Then Georgetown picked up its swarming defense and, all of a sudden, DePaul (13-7, 2-4) was struggling to hold on to the ball. The Hoyas, whose defense often leads to their offense, capitalized on six consecutive DePaul turnovers to go on a 14-0 run.
Georgetown's constant trapping, along with the Hoyas' active hands that routinely intercepted well-intended passes, completely flustered DePaul. The Blue Demons went from up 10 to down 15, a 25-point swing in Georgetown's favor.
Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers continues to lead the Big East in scoring (18.4 points per game), but the sensational freshman guard had struggled offensively lately. Rodgers, the reigning Big East rookie of the week, went 10 for 31 overall and 1 for 12 from behind the arc in the Hoyas' previous two games.
Rodgers put her slump behind her early on Saturday, swishing a three-pointer 66 seconds into the game, one of three she made against DePaul. She finished with 18 points and four steals.
As is becoming their trademark, the Hoyas went through another of their swoons, allowing their lead to dwindle to 46-45 with 13 minutes 19 seconds to play. Georgetown made only two baskets the first 10 minutes of the second half.
DePaul failed to seize the lead, however, and the Hoyas eventually pulled away to extend their program-best winning streak to 16 games. They remain one of three Big East teams without a conference loss, with Connecticut and West Virginia the other two.
"To me as a senior, [the win streak] means a lot because we've come so far," said Jaleesa Butler, who recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. "But as far as a team as a whole, we're really not thinking about it. We're looking to get the next one. We're focusing on the next game."