No. 14 Georgetown 76, No. 4 Notre Dame 66

It’s been a season of firsts for the Georgetown Hoyas. A record

16-game winning streak, and at No. 14, their highest ranking ever.

Now, there’s a new superlative: Biggest win in school history.

On Saturday, the Hoyas (22-4, 11-2 Big East) knocked off No. 4

Notre Dame 76-66 before a record crowd of 2,417 at McDonough Arena.

The win might have been a stunner nationally, but there was no

enormous celebration. No rushing the court, no players jumping up

and down.

Freshman Sugar Rodgers, a shy young woman who’d previously been

shielded from the media, had 24 points and was allowed into the

post-game interview room for the first time.

“It’s big, but a ranking is just a number,” Rodgers said.

Adria Crawford added 18 points and Latia Magee had 17 for the

Hoyas.

Georgetown took a 45-42 lead with 14:51 remaining on a 3-pointer

by Rodgers and built a 58-47 lead with 8:17 remaining. They

withstood a late rally by the Irish (23-3, 10-3), who closed to

62-60 on Natalie Novesel’s two free throws with 5:21 to play.

Georgetown scored the game’s last seven points to secure the

win.

After reeling off the 16-game run, the Hoyas had lost twice in

the last six games and experienced several meltdowns even in their

wins.

“Our coach told us to stop panicking,” Crawford said. “We’re

going to be OK.”

Notre Dame won the NCAA championship in 2001, and before this

season Georgetown had been ranked for just one week in their

history, but the players downplayed the significance.

“Notre Dame was kind of like another team and another game that

we had to win,” Crawford said.

Hoyas coach Terri Williams-Flournoy recognized how enormous the

win was.

“I do. I do. It’s not only a big game because it’s a ranked

opponent, because we’ve never beaten Notre Dame before,”

Williams-Flournoy said. “We’re supposed to beat opponents who are

supposed to be better than us.”

The Irish lost for just the third time in 26 meetings with the

Hoyas and the first time since Jan. 7, 2004, shortly before

Williams-Flournoy arrived on campus.

Ashley Barlow led Notre Dame with 21 points. Leading scorer

Skylar Diggins was held to nine.

Rodgers didn’t start for the first time because it was senior

day, and Williams-Flournoy started seldom-used senior captain Kenya

Kirkland instead. By the time Rodgers reported in, Notre Dame was

leading 9-2, and then she got to work, quickly scoring 13 points

and giving the Hoyas a 22-17 lead with 9:54 to play in the

half.

Georgetown surrendered the lead late in the half, but Magee’s

layup with 1:26 to go in the half gave them a 31-30 lead, and they

were ahead 33-30 at the break.

The Irish were playing their second straight game without

Lindsay Schrader, the team’s third leading scorer and leading

rebounder, who is out because of a sprained left ankle. Without

Schrader, they lost 76-71 at No. 25 St. John’s on Tuesday.

After that loss, longtime coach Muffet McGraw implored her

players to get mad in order to avoid the Irish’s first two-game

losing streak of the season. Notre Dame hasn’t lost three straight

games since the 2006-07 season.

“This week was critical for us, and we obviously blew it.”

McGraw said. “It’s not where you want to be.”

The Irish turned the ball over 21 times to the Hoyas’ 10.

“I don’t know what happened,” McGraw said. “We were

incredibly careless with the ball.”

When the rankings come out on Monday, there’s a chance for yet

another first. The Hoyas could crack the Top 10 for the first

time.

“It is just a number,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Anything that

helps us get to where we want to go, we’ll take it.”