Women's Basketball Opens the Season on Friday in Preseason WNIT

Andrea White

Nov. 8, 2012

WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University women's basketball team will open the 2012-13 season this weekend hosting the Sacred Heart University Pioneers in the opening round of the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament on Friday at McDonough Arena. A win on Friday would mean playing on Sunday either hosting Sam Houston State or at the University of Delaware.

The Hoyas are currently receiving votes in both the AP Preseason Poll and the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Coaches Poll. They were selected eighth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll after a run to the NCAA Second Round a season ago, but losing seven seniors to graduation.

Last year, the Blue & Gray posted a solid season with a record of 23-9 and a mark of 11-5 in BIG EAST play. Georgetown spent the entire year in the national rankings moving as high as No. 10 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. GU finished the season with an RPI of 26, as well as being ranked 18th and 17th on the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Polls, respectively.

GU finished the regular season tied for fourth in the BIG EAST. Georgetown was awarded an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament receiving the five seed for the third-consecutive year. The Hoyas downed No. 12 Fresno State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 4 Georgia Tech in the second round.

Georgetown returns two starters including Preseason All-BIG EAST senior Sugar Rodgers (Suffolk, Va./King's Fork) who is a three-time All-American. Rodgers is the only player in Georgetown history to earn First Team All-BIG EAST three times in her career and was a unanimous decision the past two years. She led the Hoyas in points in 25 of 32 games this past season with a high of 39 points in the win over Dartmouth University at the Blue Sky Classic.

She averaged 18.5 ppg, to lead the BIG EAST during the regular season, 5.4 rpg to rank third on the team and had a squad-high 71 steals. Rodgers also shot a team-high 81.9 percent from the free throw line and ranked second in assists with 54.



Rodgers earned three BIG EAST Player of the Week honors, tying the most in the conference, and had seven nods to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. She was also named to a number of watch lists for national awards including the Naismith Award, the Wooden Award and the WBCA's "Wade Watch" List.

She was an honorable mention WBCA All-American and an AP All-American for the third-consecutive season.

In her career, Rodgers holds the record for career 3-pointers, points in a season, 3-pointers in a season and ranks in a number of additional categories. She is also second on Georgetown's all-time scoring list.

Rodgers was named to the WBCA "Wade Watch" List earlier this fall marking her third consecutive year on the list.

Also returning is senior center Sydney Wilson (Silver Spring, Md./St. John's College Prep) who averaged 3.2 ppg as well as 3.8 rpg a season ago.

First-year Head Coach Keith Brown will look to fill the void left by the seven seniors with a mix of talent that knows the system including juniors Andrea White (Lancaster, Va./Lancaster) and Samisha Powell (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) as well as senior center Vanessa Moore (Hackettstown, N.J./Pope John XXIII). With only ten available players, he will rely on the full bench including a talented freshman class.

The Hoyas were 6-0 at home against non-conference opponents last season, and Georgetown looks to continue their success in McDonough Arena where they were 10-4 overall a year ago.

Sacred Heart was selected to finish second in the Northeast Conference 2012-13 Preseason Coaches' Poll as the defending champs were behind only Quinnipiac. The Pioneers were picked third last season and went on to defeat Monmouth for their third NEC Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth where they fell to Georgia Tech, 76-50. The team finished the season 25-8 overall and 15-3 in NEC play.

2012 NEC Rookie of the Year Gabrielle Washington was honored with a spot on the Preseason All-NEC Team. Last year, Washington topped all rookies in the league averaging 12.5 ppg, while her 45.8 three-point shooting percentage led the league. She will be joined by junior Erica Norman who averaged 8.7 ppg and started in all 33 games a season ago.

The Blue & Gray is 2-0 all-time against the Pioneers. GU defeated Sacred Heart at home on December 6, 1999 by a score of 82-54 and beat the team a year later in Connecticut, 70-52.

Georgetown's last appearance in the Preseason WNIT was during the 2000-01 season. The Hoyas defeated James Madison, 75-70, at home, before falling to Purdue, 81-67, on the road. This is just the second appearance in the Preseason WNIT for the Blue & Gray.

Tipoff against Sacred Heart is scheduled for 7 p.m., at McDonough Arena. Live stats and a webcast featuring Ryan Sakamoto and women's basketball alum Monica McNutt will be available at www.GUHoyas.com.

Information for the next round will be available following Friday's contest.

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