Continued from page 1

To make it work, Williams-Flournoy had to have athletes. It’s a scheme that works only if everyone is in tiptop shape. The prize recruit is Rodgers, who has been called Sugar practically since birth and was a very good golfer by the time she was 12 before discovering her talent for basketball.

Rodgers played in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia for Williams-Flournoy’s brother and renowned AAU coach Boo Williams and would have her game critiqued by the person she lovingly calls “Momma Boo” _ Terri and Boo’s mother. With that kind of comfort level, it was an easy choice to spurn the offers from more established women’s programs and head to Georgetown.

Rodgers was a five-time Big East rookie of the week last season and has been conference player of the week twice this season. She’s the type of star who can draw bigger crowds to McDonough and, perhaps one day, get the women a game at the Verizon Center as part of a doubleheader with the men.

Should that ever happen, it would be easier for Williams-Flournoy and the current men’s coach, John Thompson III, to exchange pregame best wishes. The two coaches were hired in the same year _ 2004 _ and they often text each other to offer congratulations or compare notes. Williams-Flournoy even runs one backdoor play Thompson taught her from his Princeton offense, a rare crossover between their two distinct styles of play.

“JT3 is a great coach. I would be absolutely stupid not to be able to sit down and talk with him, not to be able to go over stuff with him,” Williams-Flournoy said.

The payoff will come on the day the women have something to put in one of those trophy cases.

“We’re the hidden treasure, right?” McNutt said. “Now, to our credit, you step inside our gym, you have our banner, when we returned to the (NCAA) tournament last year. It’s a little lonely over there, but it’s there. … Achieving something is one thing, but maintaining that success is a whole ‘nother thing. Going forward, that’s going to be the trick to this program.”