BERKELEY, Calif. -- After waiting 17 years to make it back to the NCAA tournament, Georgetown needed less than a half to find its groove.
Monica McNutt hit consecutive 3-pointers to start the second half and fifth-seeded Georgetown rolled to a 62-42 victory over No. 12 Marist on Saturday night to win the opener in its first NCAA tournament trip in 17 years."I told them at halftime that if you don't come out in the first five minutes of this game and knock Marist off their feet that we were going to allow them to stay in the game," Hoyas coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "A team like Marist, you can't let them stay in the game and keep them close because they are a really good team."McNutt scored 14 points and Tia Magee added 11 for the Hoyas (26-6), who were making just their second trip to the NCAA tournament and first since 1993.After getting off to a sluggish start, Georgetown put the game away by scoring the first 13 points of the second half, sparked by the two 3-pointers from McNutt, to take a 15-point lead.The Hoyas advanced to play fourth-seeded Baylor in the second round of the Memphis Regional."We've been through adversity," Magee said. "We overcome a lot, a lot of crazy situations. It was just a matter of calming down. Everybody's excited and the jitters were going -- stuff like that. Once we calmed down, we were fine. But the start was a little surprising, but we held it together."Corielle Yarde scored 15 points to lead Marist (26-8), which was held to a season low in points and shot just 22 percent for the game."Basically, you're spending time trying to figure out what type of play you can run to get an easy basket, and obviously there weren't many easy baskets to be done," Marist coach Brian Giorgis said. "They did a really good job of really closing and getting to shooters and really taking away the inside game. They rotated hard and Rachele [Fitz] had a tough time getting the ball inside. Basically we took what they gave us and unfortunately we didn't make shots."The Red Foxes were unable to duplicate their memorable run to the regional semifinals in their last trip to the Bay Area in 2007. That year, they came into Stanford and knocked off fourth-seeded Ohio State and fifth-seeded Middle Tennessee to become just the third No. 13 seed to make it to the round of 16.It looked as though they might have some more of that magic early. They scored the first seven points of the game and led for much of the first half because of Georgetown's poor shooting.But Marist struggled to get into any sort of offensive rhythm against the Hoyas' aggressive pressure defense. So when Georgetown's outside shots started to fall, the game quickly turned into a mismatch.McNutt played only 9 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. But she immediately made the long baskets."Coming into the second half, my coaches joked but they were dead serious, 'You should be well-rested," McNutt said.Sugar Rodgers followed with a 3-pointer and Magee and Jaleesa Butler scored on jumpers to make it 38-23.By the time Erica Allenspach hit a 3-pointer to end the run, Marist had gone more than 9 minutes without a basket. Marist never threatened after that, missing 22 of its first 25 shots in the second half as the frustration mounted. The Red Foxes shot 22 percent for the game.Fitz, the all-time leading scorer and rebounder for Marist, ended her brilliant career with a dud. She shot 2 of 10 from the field and scored 10 points.