WBB : SU’s upset bid against Hoyas falls short as defense can’t contain Rodgers in final minutes

first_imgSugar Rodgers held the ball on the left wing and watched as the clock dipped under 45 seconds. Then she made her move.The Georgetown guard sliced into the lane and elevated, drawing the foul on Syracuse guard Phylesha Bullard as her floater in the lane hit squarely off the backboard and rattled through the basket.‘We were just running a play. I took it in my own hands, take it to the basket and make the layup and got the and-one,’ Rodgers said. ‘… I just saw the opening, took her one-on-one and made the and-one.’Rodgers nailed the subsequent free throw to give the Hoyas their first lead since the 13:56 mark of the second half. No. 15 Georgetown (22-6, 11-4 Big East) never relinquished the lead and the Syracuse  (17-12, 6-9) fell to the Hoyas 65-62 in front of 1,579 in the Carrier Dome Saturday. Rodgers, the Big East’s leading scorer, single-handedly shredded the Orange defense down the stretch, willing the Hoyas back from an eight-point deficit late in the game to earn the victory.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter Rodgers’ three-point play, Rachel Coffey took a contested 3 from the right corner that bounced high off the backboard and was corralled by Rodgers along the left baseline. The Hoyas added two free throws and Carmen Tyson-Thomas missed badly on a 3-pointer from the right wing with four seconds remaining to seal the loss.‘I wish I could say a whole lot, but I can’t,’ SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. ‘I thought we played extremely well today and we lost the game.’While SU crumbled under pressure in the closing minutes, Rodgers thrived. With Georgetown trailing by three with under three minutes to go, she launched a 23-foot 3-pointer from the left wing that plunged through the net to tie the game at 58.She added two free throws on the Hoyas’ next possession and after SU forward Iasia Hemingway converted on a putback off a missed 3 by Coffey, Rodgers put Georgetown on top for good.‘She made a long 3 when we’re draped all over her and she’s going to the basket, jumping off the wrong foot and makes the shot,’ Hillsman said. ‘There’s not a whole lot you can really say about her. She’s a great player and she made two huge plays and won the game for them.’Hillsman used a man-to-man defense all game in an attempt to stop Rodgers. And the Orange defense contained her in the first half.Rodgers shot just 1-of-8 from the field and 0-of-5 from beyond the arc.While the Hoyas’ best player struggled, Hemingway led all scorers at halftime with 10 points and Coffey added nine to give Syracuse a 32-27 lead at the break.‘Defensively, we just found (Rodgers) in transition and Coach wanted us to get her early,’ Coffey said, ‘so wherever she was we were out on her.’But in the second half, the SU offense floundered. The Orange turned the ball over 11 times and the Hoyas capitalized, scoring seven points off those turnovers.Still, Syracuse managed to hang around. Hemingway fueled a 7-0 run midway through the second half, contributing four points during that stretch, to push SU’s lead to 54-46 with under nine minutes remaining.But then Rodgers found her shooting stroke. She shot 5-of-8 from the field in the second half, contributing 15 of her game-high 21 points in the final stanza.And as Rodgers got hot, the Syracuse lead slowly dwindled.‘Sugar Rodgers needed to make a late run because she was playing pretty bad,’ Georgetown head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. ‘She has to understand that when her shot’s not falling that she can’t stop doing other things. She can’t stop playing defense, she can’t stop rebounding and her shot is only a certain percentage of her game.’But her scoring ability is what ultimately doomed the Orange. Rodgers came up with big play after big play down the stretch.It started with a 15-footer to close the gap to 56-53 with six minutes remaining and ended with the three-point play to finish off her stellar performance.In the tense moments, Rodgers closed out the game.‘She just made a play,’ Williams Flournoy said, ‘and that’s what big-time players do.’[email protected] Comments Published on February 25, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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