|Georgetown forward Adria Crawford (5) chases after the ball against Longwood guard Chelsea Coward (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)|
Longwood hangs tough, falls 56-45 to No. 10 Hoyas
WASHINGTON—A school like Longwood, trying to build a program under a new coach, is only going to get big-time attention when it's playing a big-time team.
Friday night was one of those rare spotlight moments for the Lancers, facing the No. 10 school in the country in the opening game of the season.
And by no means did they embarrass themselves.
Longwood hung with Georgetown most of the game and trailed by only six with 7 minutes to play, but the Hoyas were just good enough to hang on for a 56-45 win.
"Moral victories? No," coach Bill Reinson said. "But I told the girls in the locker room just now that they need to feel as good as they possibly can about losing a game because they came out and they battled from beginning to end."
Reinson took over early last season after Kristin Caruso was fired after being suspended over an undisclosed personal matter. The Lancers finished 7-23 and have never beaten a ranked team or a team from the Big East. They are playing only nine of their 30 games this season at their home in Farmville, Va.
But the lineup is laden with upperclassmen, including senior Mina Jovanovic, who held preseason Big East first-team guard Sugar Rodgers to 2-for-10 shooting from the field.
"For the first game, it was fun," Jovanovic said. "It's especially fun playing against a Top 10 team. We stick to the plan, I hope."
The plan was to slow down the fast-and-furious Hoyas (0-1), who shot only 32 percent. Rodgers finished with 13 points, helped by her 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line.
"Early season rust," Rodgers said with a laugh. "And she followed me everywhere. She was like a little shadow, but I'm getting that all season."
Erin Neal and Brittanni Billups scored 14 points apiece to lead Longwood.
The Hoyas led 29-23 at halftime despite forcing 13 turnovers, and even though Longwood didn't attempt 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 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. 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 and finished with 23 turnovers.
"We followed the game plan for the first 32 minutes perfectly," Reinson said. "We were within striking distance."
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP