COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Georgetown isn’t interested in Maryland’s NCAA tournament history.
Many of the Hoyas grew up in the Washington area, so they are well aware the Terrapins won a national championship in 2006 and fell one win short of the Final Four in 2008 and 2009.
This is Maryland’s 19th NCAA tournament appearance — Georgetown has made just three.
And none of that means a darn thing to the Hoyas.
“As far as Maryland is concerned, I don’t know if guys know, but we beat Tennessee earlier this season. And we’ve played UConn three times already,” Georgetown guard Monica McNutt said Monday. “I don’t think we’re very concerned in terms of the legacy of a team, what a team has done.”
What matters to McNutt is 2011 — period. And specifically Tuesday night when the No. 4 seed Terrapins host the No. 5 seed Hoyas in the second round of the Philadelphia Regional.
“We’re playing the five girls that step out on the floor to match up with our five girls in uniform,” she said. “I’m a local kid, so I had a chance to watch those championship teams. Marissa Coleman is not there anymore. Things have changed.”
Although both schools are located only 15 miles apart, the teams have faced each other only once since 2003 — in November, when the Hoyas forced 29 turnovers in a 53-45 victory. The fifth-seed Hoyas would love nothing more than to duplicate that performance in the rematch.
“I think it’s good we have these local matchups. We’re fighting to be the darlings of the city,” McNutt said.
Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy insisted that the significance of this game is solely to get to the round of 16, but she took a stand when a reporter made note of the Hoyas’ aura of confidence.
“You want us to be scared because we’re at Maryland? We’re not scared,” the coach said. “We play Tennessee. We play Georgia Tech. We play UConn. We play tough opponents. I think this team is well prepared to handle anything that’s thrown at it.”
Georgetown’s success is based on a pressing defense and the soft touch of guard Sugar Rodgers, who scored 26 in the Hoyas’ first-round victory over Princeton.
“It’s no secret, we’ve got to be able to take care of the basketball to be successful in this game,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.
“We’re just hoping we can contain them and hold her under 30 points,” Frese said.
Frese and the Terrapins insisted their incentive to win had nothing to do with knocking off a neighborhood rival and gaining a measure of revenge for that defeat in November.
“This is the next team we play to be able to advance to the Sweet 16,” Frese said. “Like I told our team, having been the only person (in the locker room) to get a Sweet 16, it’s an unbelievable feeling. This is the next opponent in our way in terms of our progression to be where we want to be.”
Maryland junior Kim Rodgers said, “For us, it’s about getting through to the next round. In this case, it just happens to be Georgetown.”
The Terrapins have the advantage of playing on their home floor, where they went 13-2 this season.
“We’re playing on a neutral court right now, so that should help us,” Williams-Flournoy said, quite sarcastically. “The only advantage that we have is we’ve played them before and our kids are confident because we did beat them the first time.”
The winner faces a potential matchup with two-time defending champion Connecticut.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)