With identical records at 15-4 overall and 4-2 in Big East play, the No. 19 Hoyas will host 18th-ranked Louisville on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The Hoyas enter the match coming off back-to-back wins against unranked Syracuse and Marquette. In those games, Georgetown took the lead early in the first half and then never trailed. In the game against Syracuse on Jan. 15, Georgetown led 25-10 at the half and against Marquette two days later, had a 35-17 advantage at the break.
“Our approach is always just to get a good start,” said senior guard Rubylee Wright. “If we don’t start out good, we don’t usually end up good, so as long as we come in the first half and play hard and continue that throughout the game, then we won’t struggle with anybody.”
Preparing to take an early lead against the Cardinals, Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy knows that defense is key. She wants her squad force turnovers and create offensive opportunities.
“The first thing we want to do is start with our defense,” said Williams-Flournoy. “We have to be able to defend their guards.”
With scoring threats Becky Burke and Shoni Schimmel leading Louisville, Georgetown is going to have to locate the Cardinals’ guards early on in both its man-to-man and zone defense.
“We’ve got to know that Becky Burke is going to shoot it, we’ve got to know that Shoni Schimmel’s going to shoot it,” said Williams-Flournoy. “[Schimmel] can run the team, she can put the ball on the floor, [and] she can shoot the 3 with range.”
In their meeting last season in Kentucky, the Cardinals took the early lead and extended it to a 30-19 first-half advantage. However, Georgetown mounted a 10-point run at the start of the half en route to scoring 57 to win 76-52.
“We don’t go into the game thinking, ‘Ok we need to get 57 points in the second half,’” said Williams-Flournoy. “We always hope that we can score right away.”
Georgetown’s leading scorer Sugar Rodgers agrees.
“We’ve been getting out to a quick start early in the past two games, so we’re going to try to continue that throughout the season,” said Rodgers.
Two years ago at McDonough Arena, a “scuffle” broke out between the squads during pre-game warm-ups when a Georgetown player allegedly tripped a Louisville player during her jog around the court. Williams-Flournoy assures that there is no lingering tension between the teams today and does not foresee any trouble.
“They’re going to stay at their end of the basket, we’re going to stay at our end of the basket,” said Williams-Flournoy.
“I don’t know if they think about it,” said Wright, “but we don’t think about it. We treat every game like any other game. We’re just going to go in and do what we do.”