Rodgers scores 34 as Hoyas beat Maryland

Rodgers scores 34 as Hoyas beat Maryland
March 23, 2011, 1:25 am
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011 9:28 p.m.

By Milton Kent
CSNwashington.comCOLLEGE PARK Georgetown womens basketball guard Monica McNutt talked so much before the Hoyas second round meeting with Maryland that even her father said she had diarrhea of the mouth.

McNutt told anyone with a microphone, camera or notebook that Marylands tradition in womens basketball, including a national title, meant little to her and Georgetown, which had only two previous NCAA tournament appearances, none past the first round.

Then she and her teammates, namely backcourt mate Sugar Rodgers spent 40 minutes, channeled their inner Muhammad Ali by booting the Terps all over Comcast Center, 79-57, to advance to a Sweet 16 meeting Sunday in Philadelphia against top-ranked Connecticut.

I hope he (her father) is proud. We backed it up, said McNutt, a 6-foot senior.

The Hoyas (24-10), the fifth seed in the Philadelphia region, thoroughly dominated Maryland from start to finish, opening the game on a 13-1 run, then starting the second half with an 11-2 to finish any hope the Terps had of staying with them.

In the center of it all was Rodgers, who posted a career-high 34 points, hitting seven three-pointers, to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.

Afterwards, Rodgers, a 5-foot-9 sophomore from Suffolk, Va., and a first-team All-Big East selection, downplayed the significance of her red-hot night, as just another in a blossoming career.

I dont remember how many (great) games Ive had. Its been quite a few, said Rodgers, who shot better from behind the three-point line (7-for-10) than inside it (3-for-6).

The Terps, meanwhile, were left shell-shocked by the shooting display the Hoyas put on in their building, leading to the worst home NCAA tournament loss in the programs history.

We felt like the percentages were going to even out, said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. We understood watching enough game film and stats that its a game of runs. We said at halftime either the percentages were going to even out or were going to get beat pretty badly.

And when you look at the percentages 52 percent from the three-point line and 86 percent from the free throw line thats a hell of a night shooting the basketball.

As if that werent enough, the Georgetown pressure attack humbled Maryland in much the same way it had in November, when the Hoyas beat the Terps 53-45 at McDonough Arena.

On that night, Georgetown forced 29 Maryland turnovers, and the Terps held on to the hope that their young roster with 10 freshmen and sophomores would have grown and matured enough to withstand the pressure Tuesday.

In sheer numbers, Maryland (24-8) did come out a little better than November, with only 20 turnovers, but the Hoyas harassed the Terps right off the opening tip, when McNutt took the ball away from Marylands Anjale Barrett and fed to Rodgers for the first three-pointer of the night.

I really emphasized that we had to get a good start, that we were playing on Marylands home court, said Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. In order for us to feel confident in what we were doing and to be able to play as well as we needed to play, we had to come out extremely confident and jump on them right away.

From there, the rout was on. Maryland tied the score five minutes in, before the Hoyas closed the half with six straight three-pointers, the last of which was a Rodgers trey over two Terps defenders that banked in off the glass as the shot clock expired.

I think at the beginning, she got hot and she didnt really cool off, said Barrett. Sometimes, we lost her, but she was on fire (Tuesday).

After the Georgetown run to start the second half, Maryland got no closer than 16 the rest of the way, leaving the Terps, who finished tied for fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference and return all of their roster for next year, to ponder what theyll need to do to take the next step.

Weve just got to put the pieces together, said Maryland center Lynetta Kizer. Earlier, there were glimpses of a great Maryland basketball team and we definitely need to put that together. So, its getting back in the weight room, its getting back in the gym, its watching film. Its doing anything we have to go to put this puzzle together and be successful and protect our legacy.

The Terps lost sophomore forward Diandra Tchatchouang, three minutes into the game when the French native, while reaching to steal a pass, suffered an injury. Frese said a preliminary medical report indicated that Tchatchouang had injured her anterior cruciate ligament of her left knee, but that she didnt know the severity of the injury.