Big East Women’s Notebook

Player of the Week: Sugar Rodgers

After a disappointing blowout loss to Notre Dame 80-58 last week, Georgetown had lost two of its three conference matchups. Its one win came in a less-than-stellar performance against Providence, 49-45.

Its Big East record sat at 2-3, and the team appeared in need of a spark to save it from falling out of conference title contention. The Hoyas got that spark from sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers in two pivotal home matchups against Villanova and then-No. 8 West Virginia.

Against Villanova, Rodgers ensured the Wildcats would not get their first Big East win of the season, putting up 17 points, including four three-pointers, and collecting three rebounds.

The best was yet to come from the young star, however, as she led her then-No. 19 squad to an upset of the Mountaineers, 65-60 Tuesday night. Rodgers posted 30 points, including 10 clutch free throws, grabbed four rebounds and added three assists.

Game of the Week: No. 3 Duke vs. No. 2 Connecticut, Jan. 31

Connecticut made headlines in undesirable fashion this week as freshman forward Samarie Walker transferred to Kentucky. Despite her youth, she played in 17 games and averaged 6.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Other than a historic loss to Stanford that ended a 90-game winning streak, Connecticut has been outstanding this year, posting an 18-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking, both of which will be at stake Monday against No. 3 Duke.

The Huskies have the home court advantage, but the Blue Devils have yet to taste defeat. Walker’s contributions down low will be sorely missed against Duke’s 6-foot-5-inch senior center Krystal Thomas and her 7.8 rebounds per game.

Connecticut will also have its hands full guarding senior guard Jasmine Thomas and her team-leading 15.1 points per game. This game will determine if the Huskies can retain their nearly untouchable status over the past few years.

After the streak ended, they dropped to No. 2, and right now their focus is to get back to being the best team in the nation. The road there starts by ending another team’s unbeaten streak.

As holds true with most non-conference showdowns, Connecticut is also representing the Big East against another powerhouse, the ACC, and the reputations of both conferences are on the line.

Surprising Frontrunner

While Connecticut’s top spot in the Big East standings doesn’t surprise many, its competition at the top of  the conference does.

The No. 12 DePaul Blue Demons sit right alongside the Huskies (18-1, 7-0) with a 20-2 record overall and 7-0 mark in the Big East.

Averaging 77.8 points per game, the Blue Demons have downed the likes of Pittsburgh, South Florida and Cincinnati already this season to shockingly rise from obscurity.

Junior forward Keisha Hampton is averaging 15.6 points per game and pulling down 5.2 rebounds per game to lead DePaul. Senior guard Sam Quigley has tallied 97 assists.

With the tougher half of their conference schedule ahead of them, however, the mettle of this (so far) astonishing squad will be tested. Sunday, former top-10 power West Virginia will visit Chicago, followed by a showdown with conference co-leader Connecticut.

Head of their CLASS

Three Big East seniors are currently nominated for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top senior and this year features a field of ten total players. Connecticut’s Maya Moore, DePaul’s Sam Quigley and West Virginia’s Liz Repella represent the Big East and each have been pivotal to their team’s success so far.

Moore averages a league-leading 24.3 points per game and currently stands as the nation’s active scoring leader with 2,628 points in her career.

Quigley has helped guide the upstart Blue Demons to their No. 12 ranking, averaging 10.9 points per game and collecting 30 steals this season.

Repella leads the Mountaineers with 14 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, 45 steals and 46 assists.