The No. 1-ranked Connecticut women's basketball team did not need its full-court pressure defense or its impressive offensive firepower to beat Georgetown last night at McDonough Arena.
Just putting the players on the court was enough for the Huskies, who routed the Hoyas, 87-48, before an announced crowd of 1,175.
"Some games you just have to win because you're just better," Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma said. "We won the game because we're just better. We've got better players than [Georgetown Coach] Pat [Knapp] does."
Georgetown (7-5, 1-1 Big East Conference) fell to its second top 15 opponent in six days. The Hoyas lost to then-No. 15 Duke, 68-53, on Thursday. They will play two more highly ranked opponents, Notre Dame and Rutgers, in the next eight days.
Junior guard Katie Smrcka-Duffy, the Big East's leading scorer at 19.5 points per game, was held to two points by Connecticut (11-0, 2-0). Smrcka-Duffy has struggled against the Huskies in the past, scoring just 10 and 13 points against them last season despite averaging 20 points per game overall.
But Smrcka-Duffy was noticeably wheezing on the court and had reportedly suffered from a cold this past week. However, Knapp refused to confirm that she had been ill.
"Her health is confidential," he said.
Knapp did not make his players available to comment after the game.
Connecticut started sluggishly, lulled by Georgetown's zone defense. But after the Hoyas took a 7-6 lead, the Huskies answered with an 18-5 run.
Georgetown fought back. Sophomore guard Lesley Walker, the 1998 All-Met player of the year from Wheaton, sank a three-pointer and made a layup with 3 minutes 55 seconds remaining until halftime to narrow the Huskies' lead to 29-24.
After that, Connecticut took control. The Huskies closed out the first half with a 16-4 run. Georgetown scored two quick field goals to open the second half, but then went scoreless for a stretch of 7:19.
Walker finished with a season-high 13 points to lead the Hoyas. However, all her points came in the first half. Freshman guard Shawntese Charles, a 1999 All-Met from St. John's, was the most productive player in the second half. The reserve scored seven of the team's 20 second-half points.
Georgetown's Suzy Bendegue, a 6-foot-10 freshman who is the tallest player in the Big East and was playing an average of 5.9 minutes per game, played 28 minutes last night. Bendegue presented a formidable presence in the low post that gave the Huskies fits as they were forced to alter their shots.
"This is a tough stretch," Knapp said. "[Complaining] won't get it done. Hard work on the basics will. We have work to do. This is very demoralizing."
ILLINOIS 80, WISCONSIN 74: Tauja Catchings had 19 points and 13 rebounds as No. 15 Illinois beat host Wisconsin. The Illini (12-4, 2-0 Big Ten) led by 21 points at halftime by holding the Badgers (5-5, 0-2) to 9-for-29 shooting.
UNLV 74, NAVY 56: The Lady Rebels shot 50 percent and defeated the Midshipmen (2-7) in Las Vegas. Erica Hayes went 10 for 19 to lead the Midshipmen with 23 points and Jennifer Bombinski had 11 points.
BOWIE ST. 75, VIRGINIA ST. 59: In Bowie, Tiffany Moss scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds and Sharna' Gray added 12 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. They improved to 11-2, 2-0 in the CIAA's Eastern Division; Virginia State is 3-6, 0-1.