A year ago, when Georgetown defeated Maryland for the first time in women’s basketball, the Hoyas displayed enormous confidence — some would say arrogance — proclaiming themselves “the darlings of the city.”
When Georgetown ended the Terrapins’ season last spring, the Hoyas weren’t shy about staking their claim as the best program in the area.
Maryland, however, wasn’t about to let go of that hard-earned designation without a fight. Behind stellar defense and solid ball-handling, the No. 11 Terrapins reasserted their superiority with a 72-53 victory over No. 10 Georgetown on Sunday afternoon at Comcast Center.
Unlike the Hoyas (1-1), the Terrrapins (2-0) seemed reluctant to boast about their accomplishment. Asked if Sunday’s win was revenge for last season’s loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the most forward Alyssa Thomas (19 points, 15 rebounds) would say was, “I know that loss last year definitely motivated us to want to work harder and not let that happen again. Today, we just wanted to protect our house.”
No matter how much members of the media prodded, the Maryland players weren’t about to be goaded into a war of words.
“With both schools being in the DMV area, there’s always, ‘What team is better? Who is going to beat who?’ ” said forward Tianna Hawkins (17 points, 14 rebounds). “I think it is a rivalry. I wouldn’t say bragging rights. I would just say we won tonight.”
With many in the crowd of 4,084 wearing “Beat the Hoyas” T-shirts, the Terrapins gave their fans plenty to cheer about. In the past, Maryland’s teams were known more for their offense while Georgetown was considered the better defensive team. On this day, the Terrapins were formidable on both ends of the court.
Laurin Mincy, with some help from Kim Rodgers, took Hoyas star Sugar Rodgers almost completely out of the game. Having watched the all-Big East player make seven three-pointers and score 34 points against them on their home court eight months ago in Georgetown’s 79-57 NCAA tournament win, the Terrapins were determined to slow her down — and they did.
“They were tremendous,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said of Mincy and Kim Rodgers. “They obviously made [Sugar Rodgers] have to work for every shot that she took.”
Sugar Rodgers didn’t score her first points until 8 minutes 8 seconds were left. She finished with four points on 1-of-12 shooting before fouling out of the game with 20 seconds left.
“I just had a bad shooting night,” she said.
Despite playing only 28 minutes, the guard was the Hoyas’ leading rebounder with six, and Georgetown was out-rebounded by Maryland, 42-31.
Much of the Hoyas’ offense comes from defense, especially their ability to create turnovers. In their two losses to Georgetown last season, the Terrapins averaged 24.5 turnovers a game.
But the Hoyas struggled to force Maryland into turnovers as the Terrapins did a much better job holding onto the ball. Maryland didn’t have a turnover until more than five minutes had expired. By that point, Georgetown had four turnovers. Not only did the Terrapins finish with fewer turnovers — 16 to 18 — they turned the Hoyas’ miscues into 24 points. Georgetown generated only nine points off Maryland’s turnovers.
The Terrapins, who never trailed in this game, took command from the start. They scored on six consecutive possessions to jump out to a 12-4 lead. Georgetown pulled to 22-21 on a scoop shot by Taylor Brown. But after the Hoyas turned over the ball on their next four possessions, Maryland raced to an eight-point lead and then put the game away early in the second half.
Tia Magee led Georgetown with 17 points before fouling out with 1:24 remaining.
“I don’t know if it’s so much that we have to improve on [things],” Georgetown Coach Teri Williams-Flournoy said. “Sugar won’t have these types of nights. It just won’t happen. A lot of things that happened, they just won’t continue to happen.”