CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Georgetown and Georgia Tech proved they can win in the women’s NCAA tournament without big games from their stars.
Now that they’re facing each other, they’d like for their top scorers to get going again.
The fourth-seeded Yellow Jackets (25-8) play fifth-seeded Georgetown (23-8) on Tuesday night in the second round of the Des Moines Regional.
Said Hoyas standout guard Sugar Rodgers: “I don’t have to score 20 and 30 points a game for us to win.”
No, but it sure helps.
Both teams’ best players were oddly quiet — by their standards, anyway — in the first round. Rodgers finished with 11 points in a 61-56 win over Fresno State.
Not bad, but consider this: The only team since November to hold her to fewer points was No. 1 seed Connecticut. Rodgers came to Chapel Hill averaging nearly 19.
“Usually, we win by a lot if I score 20,” Rodgers said Monday. “But a win is a win, (whether) you win by 30 or you win by one.”
Meanwhile, Tyaunna Marshall gave Georgia Tech even less.
She managed a season-low two points on 1-of-7 shooting in a 76-50 rout of Sacred Heart. Coach MaChelle Joseph indicated afterward that Marshall might have been too content to sit back and watch freshman Sydney Wallace put up a season-high 28 points.
“We don’t even pay attention to (the fact that) she didn’t play well yesterday,” Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “Sugar Rodgers didn’t play well yesterday. So just as MaChelle is hoping that Ty doesn’t play like she did yesterday, we’re hoping that Sugar doesn’t play like she played yesterday.”
Marshall, who averages 14.9 points and had three 20-point performances during Georgia Tech’s three-day run at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, hadn’t scored fewer than six points this season.
She and Rodgers are familiar with each other. Marshall scored 17 points to Rodgers’ 11 the only other time they went head-to-head, but the Hoyas won 67-58 in a holiday tournament in the Virgin Islands in November 2010.
“They have seven seniors, we have five seniors, so they’re virtually the same teams,” Joseph said.
A similar result would bring the best season in Georgia Tech history to what the Yellow Jackets would consider a premature end.
Georgia Tech already has taken care of a handful of firsts this season, setting school records for most wins, most ACC wins (12) and best seed in an NCAA tournament.
But the Yellow Jackets have never made it to the NCAA’s second weekend, and without question, this represents their best chance to do so.
“We set goals for ourselves, and as a senior class and as a team, we wanted to finally come in and get over this hump,” said guard Metra Walthour, who said she will start out guarding Rodgers. “I think we’re prepared and we’re willing to do it. We have a great opportunity to get over that hump and get to where we want to be ... and we’re going to go after it.”
Conversely, Georgetown has reached the final 16 in two of its three NCAA tournament appearances — including last year, when the Hoyas won their first two games as a No. 5 seed before falling short in a 68-63 loss to top-seeded UConn.
“I feel like we’ve done it before, and it’s nothing that’s out of reach,” Georgetown guard Rubylee Wright said. “We already played them, so we already know what we have to face. ... I think (Tuesday night) we’ve just got to go out there and do what we do, and we always get the W when we play like we play.”