Georgetown Coach Pat Knapp was plenty worried entering yesterday's game against Syracuse. The Hoyas had several key players suffering through injuries or illness, and they had needed overtime to beat the Orangewomen the last time the teams met.

But even though they nearly blew a nine-point lead late in the game, the Hoyas showed enough resilience to beat Syracuse, 70-66, before 831 at McDonough Gymnasium.

"We gutted it out," Knapp said. "It was a great win in that regard. . . . We hung in there and we've got to be proud of that."

Two of Georgetown's banged-up players, Rebekkah Brunson and Mary Lisicky, went a combined 8 for 8 from the free throw line over the final 1 minute 18 seconds for the Hoyas (14-8, 5-6 Big East).

"That's how you win," Brunson said. "Me and Mary both know that free throws are very important at the end of the game. We try to focus, put those in, get those two easy points."

Sophomore guard Rochelle Coleman, an All-Met from Paint Branch, led Syracuse (8-15, 3-9) with 16 points. Freshman forward Tierra Jackson, an All-Met from Douglass, scored nine.

Three of Georgetown's top scorers came into the game at less than full strength. Brunson, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season and 29th of her career, has a bruised shooting hand. Lisicky is playing on a sore ankle. Nok Duany has the flu. Sarah Jenkins's back is sore. And Shawntese Charles recently had her wisdom teeth removed.

Their various ailments may have accounted for the Hoyas' late-game meltdown. After making three straight three-pointers to take a 62-53 lead, Georgetown did not make a field goal over the final four minutes. In that span, the Hoyas missed three shots and turned over the ball twice.

"We clearly let up," Knapp said. "We're better than that."

Meantime, Syracuse went on a 9-0 run to tie the score at 62 with 1:34 remaining.

"We made a few bad decisions and gave them an opportunity to come down and score," Brunson said.

With the outcome in doubt, Brunson made one of the biggest plays of the game when she grabbed a rebound after Lisicky's three-point miss and was fouled trying to put it back in. Brunson sank both free throws to put Georgetown ahead 66-64 with less than a minute remaining.

"We are sunk if she doesn't get that offensive rebound," Knapp said.

After Duany grabbed the rebound off Coleman's miss, Syracuse was forced to foul down the stretch. Lisicky made two trips to the line, sinking all four attempts.

* AMERICAN 53, LEHIGH 47: Junior guard Katryn Costenbader scored 12 of Eagles' final 14 points at Bender Arena. She finished with a game-high 18 points. American (14-9, 7-3) ended Lehigh's six-game winning streak and defeated the Mountain Hawks for the second time this season.

The Mountain Hawks (11-11, 8-2) went scoreless for a stretch of 8:44 in the first and second halves. Senior Cat Nicholson had 15 points for Lehigh.