WASHINGTON — Georgetown's first game as a Top 10 team was hardly Top 10-caliber, with the Hoyas' uptempo game sputtering at times Friday night through a closer-than-expected, 56-45 season-opening win over Longwood.
Preseason Big East first-team guard Sugar Rodgers went only 2 for 10 from the field but made all eight of her free throws to score 13 points for the No. 10 Hoyas, who return four of five starters from the team that beat Maryland in the second round of the NCAA tournament last season before losing by five points to Connecticut in the Sweet 16.
Georgetown visits No. 11 Maryland in what promises to be another grudge match between local rivals vying for attention and supremacy in the D.C. area, making it tempting for the Hoyas to overlook the Lancers from Longwood, a school that went 7-23 last season and has never beaten a ranked team or a team from the Big East.
The Hoyas, in fact, 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. Erin 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.
Georgetown shot only 32 percent. Longwood shot 37 percent but committed 23 turnovers.
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 is the type of soft-schedule team the Georgetown men are notorious for scheduling early in the season, only with a bit more build-up. 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 game attracted only a few hundred fans.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP