Score: No. 11 Georgetown 81, No. 14 Providence 61
Stars: Georgetown: Sugar Rodgers 26 Pts, 10 Reb, 6 Ast. Providence: Tori Rule 35 Pts,10-20 3-Pt FG (tournament record)
Story: Georgetown usually relies on Sugar Rodgers from start to finish, needing the First Team All-Big East selection to score in order for the Hoyas to win.
Georgetown scored 28 points before its star player got on the board, and still cruised to a 81-61 victory over Providence in the first Catholic 7 battle of the Big East Tournament, despite a record-breaking performance from Providence’s Tori Rule.
Rodgers was cold from the floor in the first half, shooting 0-7 before finally scoring her first points on a 3-pointer out of the under-four media timeout. However, the senior guard was active in a variety of ways throughout the half, grabbing four rebounds and providing four assists. After getting on the board, Rodgers scored five of the last nine points of the half for Georgetown.
“I don’t think I had a slow start,” Rodgers said after the game, “but I think I had to get my teammates involved. I get involved once they get involved.”
After digging itself a sizable hole early, Providence cut the deficit to single digits at the half, when it trailed Georgetown 37-28.
Tori Rule stole the show for Providence. The Friars’ second-leading scorer scored 20 points in the first half, providing damage control as Symone Roberts, Providence’s Second Team All-Big East guard, only managed four points on 2-of-8 shooting.
She only got hotter in the second half.
By the under-eight timeout in the second half, Rule had eclipsed her career high of 32 points, and broke the tournament’s single-game record on her ninth three-pointer (she had 10 at the timeout).
At game’s end, Rule had 35 points and was 10-20 from three.
“It was fun,” Rule said of her performance. “I was just fortunate enough to have teammates, you know, pass me the ball and keep looking for me in the offense and running the floor, spreading the defense, kind of getting wide. I feel really happy about my performance, but I’m really sad about the loss also.”
Despite Rule’s unbelievable performance, Providence was unable to overcome the Hoyas once Rodgers got going.
The killer for Providence was Georgetown’s inside presence. The Hoyas outrebounded the Friars 47-33 and outscored them 50-4 in the paint.
“Their size really hurt us inside, which has kind of been our nemesis all year, just in lack of size and lack of depth,” Providence Coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl said. “They did a good job on the boards, you know, 50 points I think in the paint is just too much for us to overcome, so hats off to them.”
Rodgers ended the game with a double-double, her sixth of the season, scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, adding six assists in the winning effort.
Georgetown will return to the floor on Saturday at 8 p.m. against No. 6 Villanova, another member of the Catholic 7.