March 5, 2011
HARTFORD, Conn. - The eighth-seeded Georgetown University women's basketball squad (22-9) notched its first BIG EAST Tournament win since 2001 and the first for Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. The Hoyas defeated ninth-seeded Syracuse (22-9), 61-60, to advance to the tournament quarterfinals on Sunday at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
Georgetown hit nine free throws in the final four minutes of the game to escape with the victory even as the Orange sank a three at the buzzer.
Syracuse went up by as much as 11 in the second half, as early GU threes were matched by a trio on the other end. The Georgetown defense was what made the difference as the Hoyas began to force turnovers leading to buckets in transition.
Trailing, the Blue & Gray hit four-consecutive threes, including two from Tommacina McBride (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame), to cut the lead to one. A pair of free throws by Sugar Rodgers (Suffolk, Va./King's Fork) gave the Hoyas their first lead of the second half, 54-53, at 3:58.
The Hoyas opened the game with an 11-0 run looking sharp at the beginning. Syracuse came back to take a five-point lead as the Blue & Gray went cold going scoreless for almost seven minutes.
Georgetown was within two in the closing minute of the half, but a foul on a desperation three with less than a second remaining made it 27-22 at the break.
Rodgers led all scorers with 18 points as well as four steals, while point guard Rubylee Wright (Latta, S.C./Latta) added 11 points including a 4-of-4 performance from the charity stripe. Tia Magee pulled down a squad high seven boards.
The Blue & Gray was outrebounded 33-31, but forced 19 Syracuse turnovers on 12 steals.
The win was the first BIG EAST Tournament victory since 2001 when eighth-seeded Georgetown downed ninth-seeded Syracuse, 82-75, in overtime in the tournament quarterfinals at Gampel Pavilion. GU is now 12-25 all time in the BIG EAST Tournament.
Georgetown will face first-seeded Connecticut tomorrow in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPNU with Beth Mowins and Brooke Weisbrod calling the action.