No. 19 Georgetown (16-5, 4-3 Big East) will ride a wave of momentum into Saturday afternoon’s away date with Seton Hall (7-13, 0-7 Big East), who have lost all the wind from their sails as of late.
The Lady Hoyas turned some heads by storming past No. 8 West Virginia on Tuesday night in what was easily one of their most impressive performances of the season. Sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers led the effort with a season-high 30 points, and the Hoyas surprised everyone by outrebounding the Mountaineers, 32-17.
“It’s something we’ve been working on every day in practice. They know that in order to rebound, everyone needs to get a body on someone and box out,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “We got into trouble when only three people would box out so if all five on the court commit, we know we’ll have more opportunities on the boards.”
The Blue and Gray are likely to have another strong outing on the glass come Saturday, seeing as Seton Hall’s average rebounding margin ranks 15th in the 16-team Big East. Seton Hall also ranks 14th in scoring offense and dead last in scoring defense among a laundry list of other less-than-inspiring statistics.
One of the Hoyas’ main causes for concern is their alarming tendency to turn the ball over after they registered an uncharacteristic 28 giveaways on Tuesday night, many of which were unforced.
“The way we play, we are going to have turnovers, but I want them to be aggressive instead of careless,” Williams-Flournoy said.
However, the turnover problem has been a mere blip on the radar in what has been a very successful week for Georgetown. The Blue and Gray warmed up for Tuesday night’s upset with a 16-point win over Villanova last Saturday.
In stark contrast, the reeling Pirates’ ship has run aground in Big East play this year. Seton Hall most recently fell to South Florida on Tuesday night in a clash of winless conference foes, and the Pirates have not tasted victory since Dec. 29. They have dropped nine of their past 11 games while Georgetown has won nine of 11 games and is quickly moving up the standings.
But despite recent successes and the apparent disparity between the Hoyas and their opponent, Williams-Flournoy is intent on not letting her team take its collective foot off the gas pedal.
“We’re the same team we’ve always been and we’re going to continue to play our game,” she said. “Win or lose, we focus on what we do, not on the opposition. We’ll prepare for Seton Hall the same way that we prepare for any other opponent, regardless of ranking or record.”
The Blue and Gray may be taking on the conference cellar-dwellers, but when they take the court Saturday, the visitors will be sure to remember what league they compete in.
“The Big East is a tough conference and no matter where you are in the conference standings, you can win on any given night,” Williams-Flournoy said. “We need to continue to play our game and to focus on what we do. If we do that, I believe we will be successful.”
Rodgers leads Georgetown with 18.5 points per game, second-best in the conference. Senior guard Monica McNutt adds a steady 11.3 points per game, and the Hoyas have been pleased by the overall strong play of the surrounding cast in recent games. Junior forward Tia Magee has emerged as an inside presence with 8.1 points per game, and junior guard Rubylee Wright leads the team with 5.5 assists per game.
Junior forward Kandice Green leads Seton Hall with 12.4 points per game, followed by junior guard Jasmine Crew’s 10.4 points per game. Unless either can summon an extraordinary effort in the upcoming game, however, the Pirates will likely find themselves walking the plank for a seventh straight time.
The Blue and Gray will visit Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tip-off in South Orange, N.J.