Georgetown beats Maryland in women's basketball for the first time, 53-45

Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers goes up for a shot against the defense of Maryland's Tianna Hawkins in the second half of the Hoyas' victory at McDonough Arena. (Photo by Richard A. Lipski/For The Washington Post)
Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers goes up for a shot against the defense of Maryland's Tianna Hawkins in the second half of the Hoyas' victory at McDonough Arena. (Photo by Richard A. Lipski/For The Washington Post)
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By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 17, 2010; 12:01 AM


A big-game atmosphere can sometimes get the best of young teams as it did Tuesday night at McDonough Arena. Despite the talent on No. 13 Georgetown and No. 21 Maryland, neither team played particularly well.

When the aggressive, fast-paced style both teams prefer was combined with the desire for local bragging rights, the result was a game of too many turnovers, too many fouls and too many missed layups and jump shots.

The Hoyas ultimately prevailed, 53-45, when the smallest player on the court, 5-foot-3 junior point guard Rubylee Wright, hobbled by cramps, sank a three-point shot with 1 minute 40 seconds to play that helped give Georgetown (2-0) its first win over Maryland (1-1) in school history.

With the win, the Hoyas extended their home winning streak to 17 games and served notice that last season's success was no fluke.

"We're darlings of the city, and we have something to prove," said senior guard Monica McNutt (Holy Cross). "We enjoy winning. Maryland brought their crowd into our house. Come on now. We take it a little personal. It's a respect issue."

In a classic matchup that pitted Maryland's potent offense against Georgetown's relentless defense, the Hoyas provided further proof that defense wins.

Georgetown forced the Terrapins into 29 turnovers and held them to 17.5 percent shooting. Maryland did outrebound the Hoyas, 63-44, but 25 of its rebounds came on the offensive end after it had missed shots.

"Just lack of concentration and just finishing, the lack of concentration that we displayed tonight," Maryland's Lynetta Kizer (Potomac) said of why the team missed so many shots. Kizer finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds.

Maryland's strategy was to attack the basket early and often, and the Terrapins quickly found success, scoring seven of their first nine points off free throws.

But it didn't take long for Georgetown's press to heat up. The Hoyas held the Terrapins scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the first half while going on a 21-2 run that spanned the first and second halves.

"They sped us up, got us into taking shots that are very uncharacteristic of us, forcing shots that we didn't really need to take," Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said.

The second half started disastrously for Maryland. The Terrapins turned the ball over six times before they attempted their first shot nearly four minutes into the half. They went on to make only four field goals in the second half.

Yet Maryland stayed in the game. The Terrapins kept finding ways to get to the free throw line and eventually retook the lead with 1:56 to play when Alicia DeVaughn (10 points, 11 rebounds) sank a pair of free throws to put them up, 45-43.

Wright, who had been in and out of the game with cramps, could barely get up and down the court, her face permanently fixed in a grimace. Every time out, the trainer was pouring fluids down her throat trying to abate the cramping. No one in the gym, not even her teammates and coaches, thought she had anything left in her legs to make a three-pointer, but she did. "They're leaving me open and Coach always says, 'Be confident,' " Wright said. "I missed a couple shots earlier, but I wasn't letting that bring me down."

Though Georgetown can celebrate its first victory over Maryland in nine tries, Hoyas Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said it would be a mistake to make more out of this than just a nice early-season win.

"It's so early in the year," she said. "We're making this seem like the biggest game in Georgetown history when it's only our second game of the year. . . . We've just got so many more tough games ahead of us. All this game does is get us ready to continue to play in the tough games."

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