No. 10 Georgetown 56, Longwood 45

Sugar Rodgers and Alexa Roche looked a bit sheepish as they

leaned on the podium following Georgetown’s first game as a Top 10

team.

”I’ll just say,” Roche said, ”it’s not a good indicator of

how we’re going to play on Sunday.”

Over and done was a sputtering, closer-than-expected 56-45

season-opening win over Longwood for the No. 10 Hoyas. Sunday

refers to another grudge match with No. 11 Maryland, whom

Georgetown beat twice last season – including an easy win in the

second round of the NCAA tournament.

So were the Hoyas looking ahead?

”We attribute everything we did wrong today to early season

rust,” Roche said. ”We’ll be fine on Sunday.”

The words ”early season rust” were so much of a theme that

Rodgers and Roche said them in unison. Preseason Big East

first-team guard Rodgers, followed relentlessly by Longwood’s Mina

Jovanovic, went only 2 for 10 from the field but made all eight of

her free throws to score 13 points

”Early season rust,” Rodgers said again with a laugh. ”And

she followed me everywhere. She was like a little shadow, but I’m

getting that all season.”

The Hoyas have their highest ranking ever after returning four

of five starters from the team that lost by only five points to

Connecticut in the Sweet 16. They love to play fast and furious,

but they shot only 32 percent as the Lancers (0-1) kept trying to

slow the game down.

”Do you want to come out and look absolutely perfect your first

game? Sure,” Terri Williams-Flournoy said. ”But I don’t think

I’ve ever seen that happen. … You can call it whatever you want:

rust, first-game jitters. It’s a `W.”’

Erin Neal and Brittanni Billups scored 14 points apiece to lead

the Lancers (0-1), whose coach, Bill Reinson, took over early last

season after Kristin Caruso was fired. Longwood went 7-23 last

season and has never beaten a ranked team or a team from the Big

East.

”Moral victories? No,” Reinson said. ”But I told the girls in

the locker room just now that they need to feel as good as they

possibly can about losing a game because they came out and they

battled from beginning to end.”

The Hoyas led only 29-23 at halftime despite forcing 13

turnovers, and even though Longwood didn’t take a free throw until

2:30 to go before the break.

Georgetown opened the second half cold and foul-prone, scoreless

for the first 4:12. The score was only 31-27 approaching the

14-minute mark when Rodgers made two free throws to start a 6-0 run

that pushed the lead back to double digits.

The Lancers stayed in it, though. Neal’s three-point play cut

the deficit to six with 7:03 remaining, but Longwood couldn’t get

any closer the rest of the way and finished with 23 turnovers.

Longwood is the type of soft-schedule team the Georgetown men

are notorious for scheduling early in the season, only with a bit

more buildup. The men practiced in the McDonough on-campus facility

until 6 p.m., leaving only an hour to set up the bleachers and

otherwise prepare the gym for the Top 10 women’s game. Not that

there was exactly a rush to get in: The attendance was 673.

There will be a lot more attention paid to the game at College

Park on Sunday.

”Ask them the questions,” said Rodgers, referring to the

Terrapins. ”We beat them last year. Twice.”

Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP