A big-game atmosphere can sometimes get the best of young teams as it did Tuesday night at McDonough Arena. Despite the talent on both No.13 Georgetown and No. 21 Maryland, neither team played particularly well.
When the aggressive, fast-paced style of play both teams prefer was combined with the desire for local bragging rights, the result was a game of too many turnovers, too many fouls and too many missed layups and jump shots.
The Hoyas ultimately prevailed, 53-45, when the smallest player on the court, 5-foot-3 junior point guard Rubylee Wright, hobbled by cramps, sank a 3-point shot with 1 minute, 40 seconds to play that gave Georgetown (2-0) its first win over Maryland (1-1) in school history. With the victory, the Hoyas extended their home winning streak to 17 games and served notice that last season's success was no fluke.
"We're darlings of the city, and we have something to prove," Georgetown senior guard Monica McNutt said. "We enjoy winning. Maryland brought their crowd into our house. Come on now. We take it a little personal. It's a respect issue."
The Hoyas forced the Terps into 29turnovers and held them to 17.5 percent shooting.
"Just lack of concentration and just finishing, the lack of concentration that we displayed tonight," the Terps' Lynetta Kizer said. Kizer finished with 10 points and 16rebounds.
Maryland attacked the basket early and scored seven of its first nine points off free throws, but Georgetown's press heated up and the Hoyas held the Terrapins scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the first half while going on a 21-2 run that spanned the first and second halves.
"They sped us up, got us into taking shots that are very uncharacteristic of us, forcing shots that we didn't really need to take," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.
The second half started disastrously for Maryland. The Terrapins turned the ball over six times before they attempted their first shot nearly four minutes into the half. They would go on to make only four field goals in the second half.
Yet, somehow, Maryland stayed in the game and retook the lead 45-43 with 1:56 to play when Alicia DeVaughn (10 points, 11rebounds) made two free throws.
Wright, who had been in and out of the game with cramps, could barely get up and down the court, her face permanently fixed in a grimace. Every timeout, the trainer was pouring fluids down her throat trying to abate the cramping.
No one in the gym, not even her teammates and coaches, thought there was a chance in the world she had anything left in her legs to make a 3-pointer, but she did.