CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Tia Magee apparently woke up Sunday and decided her college basketball career wasn’t going to end that day.
Georgetown’s 6-2 senior forward led the way with 17 points, including 7-of-8 from the free throw line, and grabbed six rebounds in a 61-56 victory over scrappy Fresno State in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament at Carmichael Arena.
The fifth-seeded Hoyas (23-8), who never trailed, will take on No. 4 seed Georgia Tech (25-8) in a second-round game Tuesday night at 7 with that survivor advancing to the Des Moines regional next weekend.
The Hoyas will be playing for a chance at their second straight appearance in the Sweet 16.
“The fact that we were able to hold our composure and hold them off is great,” Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “At this time, you’ll just take the win. Had it been one point, 30 points, regardless, it’s a win, and you just move on to the second round.”
Sugar Rodgers and Adria Crawford added 11 points each for Georgetown, which snapped a two-game losing streak.
“This is my last go ‘round, and it’s really hitting me right now,” Magee said. “Today I was so full of energy I had no idea what to do with it. I just wanted to do well for my team. My teammates have all taken the time to talk to me and just tell me what I need to do, so I just went out and played hard.”
Rodgers was held to six points under her season average, but said she was glad to see her teammates pick up the scoring slack.
“Fresno played great defense, and my teammates stepped it up,” the All-Big East junior guard said. “I didn’t take too many shots [she hit 4 of 7] because coach said to get the ball inside. We got the ball inside, and that made it easier on everybody.”
Ki-Ki Moore had 22 points and Rosie Moult 12 with 10 rebounds for the No. 12 seed Bulldogs (28-6), champions of the Western Athletic Conference. Madison Parrish added 10 points on 10-of-10 free throw shooting for Fresno State, which was in its fifth NCAA tournament in the past five years and still is looking for its first victory in the event.
“Georgetown made the plays in the end, and I wish them luck in the tournament,” FSU coach Adrian Wiggins said. “That said, I’m very proud of our team. They made plays, they responded to adversity, they shared the ball, and they rebounded hard. We just couldn’t find that weakness that could get us over the top.”
Georgetown shot 37.3 percent to FSU’s 34.0, but the most important statistic was the Hoyas’ 5-of-10 3-point shooting compared to the Bulldogs’ 7-for 29. Fresno outrebounded the Hoyas 41-35 but committed 19 turnovers to Georgetown’s 14.
Magee scored the Hoyas’ first five points, putting them ahead for good on a layup that made it 5-3 with 18:18 left in the first half.
Georgetown led by as many as 17 points, 46-29 on a Rubylee Wright 3-pointer with 15:45 to go, before the Bulldogs started a long comeback that almost got the job done.
They had the ball down by just three points three times over the final three minutes. But following a Taylor Thompson turnover with the Hoyas up 59-56 and 17 seconds left, Morgan Williams hit the second of two free throws with 16 seconds to go to make it a two-possession game. Rodgers hit the second of two with 2 seconds left to complete the scoring.
“I’m really proud of [my team],” Moult said. “We had a really good effort today. I think we’ve got the confidence that we can play ‘up’ with teams like Georgetown, and this gives us confidence for next year.”
Fresno State had won the teams’ only previous meeting, a 57-56 decision at Minnesota’s Regal Classic in 1999.