High-scoring Rodgers will have Huskies' attention
From the time that she practiced for the first time as a freshman it was pretty evident that Sugar Rodgers was going to impact the Georgetown women's basketball program in a significant way.
Rodgers has not disappointed as she has been the Hoyas' leading scorer in every season. With Georgetown beset by heavy graduation losses, Rodgers has stepped things up in her final season as she heads into tonight's game against UConn leading the nation in scoring.
Rodgers' average of 26.1 points per game have come from the perimeter, in half-court sets, in transition and at the foul line. Kelly Faris figures to get the call on Rodgers and considering how disappointed Faris was in her performance against Notre Dame's Kayla McBride on Saturday, I have a hunch it should be an entertaining matchup.
Although Rodgers is 13 of 50 with 14 turnovers in her last three games against the Huskies, UConn coach Geno Auriemma isn't expected to completely shut Rodgers down,
"The fact that she can get that many shots in every game that she has played means she is probably going to get a lot of them against us too," Auriemma said. "What you have to make sure of is they are more difficult shots than she is used to taking and that every time they miss there is a consequence down at the other end. I think any time you have a kid who can get off that many shots against a defense most of the think you have a natural-born scorer. Not only that but for her to score that many points and take that many shots and still lead the team in assists, that is a hell of a thing."
The game will be the first time the Hoyas will face UConn with Keith Brown as the head coach. Brown was a major AAU figure in the Washington D.C. area before a five-year stint as an assistant coach on Terri Williams-Flournoy's staff with the Hoyas. When Williams-Flournoy left to take over the Auburn program, Brown was promoted to the top spot at Georgetown.
Auriemma hasn't seen a major difference in the way the Hoyas go about their business with Brown calling the shots.
"It's different because of personnel, they lost four seniors from last year's team so they are different because those guys are all gone," Auriemma said. "Even though they are doing a lot of the same things it doesn't look like it is the same thing, it is not as successful but playing them in their place, you know what it is going to be like. You now it is going to be close quarters, it is going to be a difficult shooting environment for the visiting team because there is nothing behind that one basket so it is not an easy environment to play in. You go from playing at Oregon or here and then you are what used to be called McDonough Gymnasium."
I spoke to Brown at Big East media day and asked him about who Georgetown might play differently than they did under Williams-Flournoy.
"Our style of defense will always be the same," Brown said. "We will pressure the basketball and we will get up and down the floor I think offensively we will probably be a little more free flowing. I believe in letting them go a little bit more."
MATER DEI REMAINS NO. 1
The latest USA Today poll came out and three of the top four spots are held down by teams with players being recruited by UConn.
Mater Dei from Santa Ana, Calif., featuring Class of 2015 UConn recruiting target Katie Lou Samuelson, remains in the top spot. The Windward School out of Los Angeles, which is led by junior point guard and UConn target Jordin Canada is ranked third while UConn commit Courtney Ekmark's St. Mary's of Phoenix squad comes in at the No. 4 spot. The No. 23 spot is held down by Incarnate Word out of St. Louis while features Class of 2015 UConn recruiting target Napheesa Collier.
Speaking of big-time high school girls' basketball, one of the top high school seniors in the country will be at Springfield, Mass. in nine days when Tennessee signee Mercedes Russell leads her Springfield (Ore.) squad against Braintree in the HoopHall Classic on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. Russell and Springfield will face undefeated Braintree (Mass.) in one of four girls' games in the event which features the top slate of boys' basketball games of any tournament in the country.