Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Squeaks Past Richmond

Sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers’ short-range bank shot gave No. 12 Georgetown (6-1) its first lead of the second half with 1:07 remaining, and the Hoyas held on down the stretch for a closer-than-anticipated 65-64 home victory over the Richmond Spiders (4-4).

Expectations were high for the Blue and Gray following an impressive victory over Tennessee on Saturday, but without junior starting point guard Rubylee Wright, who was out due to sickness, Georgetown committed nine first-half turnovers and struggled to find an answer to Richmond’s red-hot perimeter shooting for much of the game.

“We’re growing. We’re going to have some growing pains right now,” senior guard Monica McNutt said. “I’m not so sure where our heads were tonight. We pulled out the win, which was great. . But you can’t turn the ball over and just let teams score.”

omentum swung back and forth throughout the first half. The Hoyas watched as an initial 11-2 lead became a 13-12 deficit, and later a 10-0 run by the hosts was answered quickly by eight consecutive points from the Spiders. Richmond guard Brittani Shells connected on three trifectas as part of on an 11-2 solo scoring run to close out the half, giving the Spiders a 37-33 lead and sending the visitors into the locker-room cheering.

“The scouting report said we couldn’t give [Shells] any open looks,” Georgetown Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “I don’t think we were being smart defensively in finding her and locating her early enough before she got the shot off.”

Shells, an Atlantic-10 all-conference first team selection last year, poured in 20 points in the first half but cooled off in the second half and finished with a game-high 26 points. Rodgers led Georgetown with 22 points, and McNutt added 18, 14 of which came in the first half and kept the Hoyas within striking distance going into intermission.

The 37 points allowed before the break was uncharacteristic for the Blue and Gray, who had conceded an average of 22.5 points in the first halves of their previous two games. The defense found another gear in the second half, though, as the Hoyas constantly harried the Spiders’ backcourt and forced 14 second-half turnovers.

“As time went on, we moved up our pressure a little bit,” Williams-Flournoy said. “When we went man-to-man I thought we sat down and defended a little bit better, just to give them a change of look defensive-wise.”

“The second half we had to be more aware of [Shells]. If we kept letting her shoot like that it definitely would have been a very different story,” McNutt added.

Georgetown pestered Richmond’s ball-handlers throughout the night, preventing them from establishing their half-court offense for key stretches in the second half. The Spiders mustered only 10 points in the final 10 minutes, a stretch during which they committed eight turnovers and found their offensive rhythm repeatedly disrupted by deflected passes and contested shots. Richmond saw its shooting percentage drop from 63.6 percent to 53.8 percent in the half and finished with 25 turnovers.

Even with the improved defense, the Hoyas still trailed by six with 6:28 remaining in the game, but Rodgers sank two from the charity stripe and scored on a layup to bring the Blue and Gray to within two points of the Spiders.

Junior forward Tia Magee then scored from the paint to knot the score at 59 with 4:17 left to play. After exchanging baskets with Richmond, Georgetown took the lead for good on Rodgers’ basket. With a comfortable four-point lead, the Hoyas suffered a brief scare when McNutt fouled Spiders guard Abby Olivia on a three-point attempt with just 2.8 seconds remaining. Olivia’s shot was off, however, and although she converted all three free-throws – despite seemingly attempting to miss the last one – it was too little too late for Richmond.

While the Spiders were disappointed to let the upset slip away, the Hoyas were frustrated by their own performance.

“We need to play harder, play together, play smarter,” McNutt said. “That’s not how we typically want to play. But [we] keep moving forward . We won tonight, thankfully, but by no means are we hanging our hat on this performance.”

The Blue and Gray will not return to the friendly confines of McDonough Arena again until December 19. They travel to take on Wake Forest at 7 p.m. on Saturday for the first of four consecutive road games. “

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