The energy level was high on Sunday afternoon in McDonough Arena when the No. 18 Louisville Cardinals defeated No. 19 Georgetown 64-61.
Georgetown's (15-5, 4-3) top scorer Sugar Rodgers led the first half's back-and-forth play with 10 points followed by Louisville's (16-4, 5-2) senior guard Becky Burke who put up nine. However, the Hoyas were fortunate to go into the break down four, 29-25, after shooting 25 percent compared to Louisville's 52.4 percent.
"They've been boxing one on [Rodgers]," said Georgetown senior forward Tia Magee. "They don't think the rest of us can score. We've been having to switch things up a little bit; it's been a little tough. Especially when you have people like me that shoot zero for seven in the first half, it's really hard."
After a slow start, Hoyas coach Terri Williams-Flournoy was once again looking for a shooter to emerge.
"Some of the kids have got to step up and shoot the basketball. If you're not being guarded, you've got to make shots," said Williams-Flournoy.
The second half featured 10 lead changes as Louisville's leading scorer Shoni Schimmel started to look like the shooter Georgetown was expecting.
"I tried to get [Schimmel] a little bit off the basketball so we could get the ball after the first trap to her," said Louisville coach Jeff Walz. "She's making too many jump passes right now, and at this level, you can't leave your feet all the time trying to make a pass, and that really got her in trouble."
Totaling 19 points in the match, Schimmel's 3-point range proved difficult for the Georgetown defense to defend.
"Our defense is good, but at the end of the day, it kind of is a zone, so when you have a team like Louisville that has four shooters on the perimeter, it's really hard," said Magee.
Despite the Cardinals' exceptional range, the Hoyas forced 25 turnovers (compared to 15 of their own) and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. It was Georgetown's unreliable shooting that lost the game.
"You're close enough right there to win the game because our defense is going to keep us in the game, but we're not making the shots to win the game," said Williams-Flournoy. "It comes down to shooting with confidence."
Louisville took the largest lead of the night at 60-50 with just over three minutes left in the game.
But, the Hoyas chipped away, and with less than a minute to play, Georgetown trailed 63-60 when time was stopped to reevaluate the score. It appeared that the Hoyas were given an extra point after a missed free throw. After minutes of deliberation, the official score read 63-59, but ultimately the Hoyas comeback attempt fell short, and their shooting woes cost them.
Georgetown finished shooting 32.9 percent from the field, while the Cardinals shot 47.5 percent. Rodgers was 9 of 26 for 24 points.
"This is no rocket science type stuff," said Williams-Flournoy. "I don't have to go back to the drawing board, I don't have to go in and change everything, we've just got to go into the game with some confidence and make shots."
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