Georgetown buries Princeton in early hole, storms into 2nd round

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- On defense, Georgetown used a collective effort to frustrate Princeton.

On the other side of the court, Hoyas guard Sugar Rodgers pretty much took care of things on her own.

Rodgers outscored Princeton in the first half, and the Hoyas used a smothering press to take control Sunday in a 65-49 victory in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Rodgers scored 16 before halftime to help stake the Hoyas to a 34-14 lead. Just as significant was a tenacious Georgetown defense that forced 14 turnovers and limited the Tigers to 29 percent shooting.

"I would never have thought in a million years that I'd be up here telling you what beat us was their pressure, because that's what we focused on for six days," Princeton coach Courtney Banghart said. "So I guess that's my fault."

The Tigers didn't have an answer for Rodgers, either. The 5-foot-11 sophomore finished with 26 points and led the Hoyas in rebounds (eight) and assists (four).

"When Sug is on, we're in a zone. It helps our defense; it helps everything," said teammate Tia Magee, who scored 14. "Me, personally, when I get the ball I'm looking for Sug if she's hot."

Fifth-seeded Georgetown (23-10) will face No. 4 seed Maryland on Tuesday night. Maryland defeated St. Francis (Pa.) 70-48.

The second-round clash, between two schools located 15 miles apart, is a rematch of a Nov. 16 game in which the Hoyas forced 29 turnovers in a 53-45 victory.

Addie Micir led Princeton (24-5) with 13 points. Bidding to become only the second Ivy League team to win an NCAA tournament game, the Tigers were no match for their Big East foe.

"To say I'm disappointed is a gross understatement. That was not the version of Princeton basketball I have seen all year," Banghart said. "Give all the credit to Georgetown. They got us completely unraveled."

Banghart indicated the Tigers let down the entire Ivy League.

"Our league is better than that," she said. "Our job was to represent them well. As always, we represented them with class. We will fight hard to get back here and have more success."

Micir, however, will not get another chance. The senior broke down in tears during her postgame interview, saddened her career ended on such a down note.

"We worked on beating their press all week, and we thought we were prepared for it," she said. "But we kind of folded in the first half."

Georgetown took control with an 18-3 run that made it 22-5. Rodgers contributed eight points and an assist.

"Defense, I got a couple of steals," Rodgers said. "They found me when I was open, and I just knocked down the shots."

Georgetown's defense set up the offense.

"I thought we came out and set the tone immediately with our pressure defense," Hoyas coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said.

Princeton went 6 for 21 from the floor in the first half, including 1 for 9 from 3-point range.

The Tigers closed to 54-39 with 6:17 left, but Georgetown cruised to the finish without difficulty.

Princeton finished with a 33-31 edge in rebounding and outscored the Hoyas 13-11 at the foul line, but Rodgers was clearly the best player on the floor.

She went 8 for 18 from the field, 4 for 9 from beyond the arc, and made all six of her free throws.

"We tried to get her to take contested 3s," Micir said, "but she knocked them down."

Georgetown came in with four losses in five games, but now it's within a win of reaching the round of 16.