So here we are - Georgetown vs. UConn Round 3. As many have said, it is very hard to beat a team three times in a season. But that statement isn't the only reason why Georgetown could and should win on Sunday. It's because if there is ever a time and place for this UConn team to lose, it is in Philadelphia this weekend.
The Lady Hoyas are white hot going into the City of Brotherly Love after big first and second round NCAA wins over Princeton and Maryland (in their famously tough home arena). Sugar Rodgers has yet to meet a defense that could even slow her down let alone stop her and every single member of the team has risen to the occasion along with her. All four other starters (Monica McNutt, Tia Magee, Rubylee Wright and Adria Crawford) have all been spectactular so far and we've also seen some clutch bench performances from Alexa Roche and Sydney Wilson among others. The Hoyas made a higher seeded Maryland team in their home arena look like, well, not even a WNIT team and if there was ever a time to play your best ball of the season, late March is it.
Repeat after me - this UConn team is beatable. Yes, I'm well aware of their record and score differentials. But if you look closer, you would know that they've played many more close games this season then they have in years and the Hoyas contributed to two of those. If it weren't for a cold shooting streak in the 2nd half in McDonough in February, the Hoyas' 10 point deficit could easily have been reversed. The biggest key to the Hoyas winning Sunday is Maya Moore. When she has an off day, the rest of the team is not as capable of picking up the slack as once thought. In that McDonough game, she only had 20 points which is shocking to say but when she often drops 15-20 points more in a game, it's a big deal. Without that extra boost from her, the other Huskies did not look up to the task.
Besides the Maya Factor, the Hoyas need 3 things to go their way to win:
1. A good shooting game and not just by Sugar.
Yes, Sugar has been other-worldly the past few games but we need strong shooting days from Monica and Tia among others to combat the Huskies' potent offense.
2. The press needs to work.
It is the key to the Hoyas' defense. When it works, we are invincible. The majority of our first half points against Maryland came off of turnovers, most caused by our press.
3. Staying out of foul trouble.
We were lucky that this didn't bite us in the behind against Maryland. 4 of 5 starters had 2 fouls well before halftime but we managed to survive. We cannot afford for that to come even close to happening against UConn. The officiating will be tight so we can't afford fast break ticky tacks and we MUST be set to take charges because even the slightest shuffle will be called a blocking foul on us and not the offensive foul it should be.
Truth is, I'm not scared. The Hoyas aren't scared. Why should you be? I don't want to say this is the biggest game in school history but it very well could be. This is our 2nd Sweet Sixteen ever and win or lose, this is one of the best teams in school history. I could not be more proud of these women who fight for 40 straight minutes regardless of whether they're down 20, tied or up 20. It doesn't make a difference to them as long as there are seconds on the clock. It saddens me that it took the men losing early and 2 NCAA wins for the team to get noticed, but better late than never. I hope as many of you as possible can make it to Philly on Sunday to cheer them on. If you know UConn fans and how well they travel, you know we need every single fan and voice we can get.