By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 21, 2010; D09
Perhaps the most stunning aspect of Georgetown's 76-66 victory over No. 4 Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon was not that the No. 14 Hoyas knocked off the Irish -- a team that had been ranked in the top five all season -- but how this young team won.
With two of its top three scorers having off days, Georgetown turned to two sophomores and a freshman to pull off the biggest win in program history in front of the largest crowd to see a women's game at McDonough Arena. Freshman guard Sugar Rodgers scored 24 points and sophomore forwards Adria Crawford and Latia Magee added 18 and 17 points for the Hoyas (22-4, 11-2 Big East) who played one of their most complete games of the season to remain unbeaten at home.
This win "means a whole lot," Magee said. "We haven't been playing as well as we could these past two games, so for this game, getting this win and playing as good as we did, it mean a whole lot, a whole, whole lot. It's a boost."
Despite a sizable Notre Dame contingent in the overflowing crowd of 2,417 that filled the bleachers and the mezzanine, Georgetown had its own enthusiastic and energetic cheering section that included Jack the Bulldog. The fans were eager to show their support, and the Hoyas gave them plenty of reasons to cheer.
After a shaky start, likely because of the first lineup change of the season, the Hoyas righted themselves and imposed their will on this game. Rodgers, who had started every game this season, gave way to reserve Kenya Kirkland, who was honored prior to the game along with the other seniors on the team.
Georgetown opened up with back-to-back air balls followed by back-to-back turnovers, and Notre Dame (23-3, 10-3) surged to a 12-6 lead.
Rodgers, who entered a little more than two minutes into the game, sparked the Hoyas with a three-pointer that began a spurt that put them in the lead. Rodgers, who has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, went 9 of 16 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from three-point range.
"I just went to the basket as hard as I can," she said. "That's what I do."
The Hoyas took their first lead of the game when Rubylee Wright, all 5 feet 3 of her, spotted an opening and drove to the basket for a layup that made it 13-12.
It remained a tight game until Rodgers made three-pointers to start and end a 12-1 run that gave the Hoyas their biggest lead of the game, 54-43. The lead didn't last long, however. Notre Dame scored six points in 41 seconds to pull to 58-53. But the Irish were never able to seize the lead.
"We did what we do," Georgetown Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "There's two things we have to do: We have to be able to score in transition and we have to be able to turn people over, and I think this game this is what we did."
Notre Dame was without senior guard Lindsay Schrader, its best rebounder and third-leading scorer, for the second consecutive game, both losses. But although Georgetown had Monica McNutt, its second-leading scorer, and Jaleesa Butler, its best rebounder, on the court at times, neither contributed much to the victory. McNutt scored one point on 0-for-5 shooting, while Butler, hampered by fouls, grabbed two rebounds in seven minutes.
With those two struggling, Magee and Crawford filled the void, particularly underneath the basket. Magee had seven rebounds and Crawford had six rebounds to help Georgetown outrebound Notre Dame, 36-31. The Hoyas turned 19 offensive rebounds into 22 points.
"I thought the difference in the game was that their role players stepped up and nobody stepped up for us," Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw said. "I thought Magee and Crawford really were the difference in the game."