Georgia Tech Hosts No. 2 North Carolina Thursday

Jan. 21, 2009

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ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team returns home for the first time in two weeks when it hosts No. 2/3 North Carolina (17-1, 3-0 ACC) Thursday. Tipoff at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Fans can listen to Richard Musterer and Kurt Hoyt call all the action on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org), Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station, as well as XM Radio (Channel 190). Fans can also watch the game live on ACC Select (www.ACCSelect.com).

The Yellow Jacket women (13-4, 1-2) fell 59-49 at Florida State last Sunday in a hard-fought game. Tech came from eight back to take a one-point lead with five minutes remaining but were unable to hang on. Alex Montgomery leads the team with 13.8 points a game, while averaging a team-leading 6.9 rebounds. Montgomery has registered two straight double-doubles and four this season.

The Tar Heels, who had won 17 straight games, lost their first game of the season Monday against No. 1 UConn in Chapel Hill. Rashanda McCants is averaging a team-leading 13.2 points and Jessica Breland is grabbing a team-high 6.8 rebounds.

North Carolina leads the all-time series 49-11 and has won 11 straight against the Yellow Jackets. Tech’s last win over the Tar Heels came on Jan. 17, 2002 at Carmichael Auditorium.

TECH VS. NORTH CAROLINA
• North Carolina leads the all-time series, 49-11, and has won 11 straight meetings.
• Yellow Jacket junior Tiffany Blackmon hails from Gastonia, N.C. No Tar Heels call Georgia home.
• Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph and FSU head coach Sue Semrau faced each other as assistant coaches in the Big Ten. Joseph was at Purdue, while Semrau was coaching at Wisconsin during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.

NEXT UP: A TRIP TO DUKE
The Yellow Jackets scheduled will not get any easier as they travel north for a meeting with No. 4 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday. The game will be televised on the Atlantic Coast Conference Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Atlanta) beginning at 1 p.m.

LOOKING BACK: NO. 24 TECH FALLS ON ROAD TO SEMINOLES, 59-49
Alex Montgomery registered her fourth double-double of the season but the No. 24/25 Georgia Tech women’s basketball team fell on the road to Florida State (16-4, 4-0 ACC), 59-49, Sunday night at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

Montgomery finished with a team-high 14 points and grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds. Jacqua Williams added 12 points for the Yellow Jackets (13-4, 1-2) but was limited due to foul trouble.

PICK A POCKET OR TWO
After three-plus seasons on the Flats, senior Jacqua Williams has earned the reputation as one of the best defenders in the nation. The speedster from Seattle, Wash., recorded her 279th career steal on Nov. 22, 2008 against Mississippi Valley State for a new school record, surpassing Kisha Ford and Tiffany Martin on the all-time steals list. Williams plans to obliterate the previous record during the remainder of the season.

Last season, Williams finished with a single-season school record 118 steals, leading the ACC and ranking fourth in the nation with 3.8 per game. She has registered at least one steal in 56 straight games and even held the ACC single game record for steals with 11 (later broken by former Yellow Jacket Jill Ingram with 14). This season she leads the Jackets with 71 steals and has 332 on her career. She currently leads the ACC and ranks second in the nation in steals with 4.2 per game.

NOT JUST A DEFENDER
Jacqua Williams has been known as a defensive-specialist since she came to Georgia Tech but those have come to an end. Not only has she become one of the best defensive players in the ACC but she is just as strong on the offensive side of the ball. Williams is averaging 13.7 points per contest and has scored in double-figures in 15 of Tech’s 17 games. She also leads the team with 68 assists on the year and has grabbed 3.4 rebounds a game.

SENIOR CLASS PILING UP WINS
Georgia Tech’s 2008-09 senior class of Tabitha Turner and Jacqua Williams have been a part of 70 wins since beginning their careers on the Flats. The two Jackets have helped Tech to back-to-back record-setting seasons and are now the most successful class in the history of the program. The pair has accumulated the most wins by any senior class to ever play for the Yellow Jackets. Last year’s seniors finished with a then school-best 69 wins in their careers.

This season’s junior class (Brigitte Ardossi and Tiffany Blackmon) have been a part of 56 wins and should move into the top five by the time the two are seniors.

SHE CAN DO IT ALL
Anyone who watched Alex Montgomery play last season knows she can really do it all. She is not only the team’s top returning scorer (10.8) and rebounder (5.4), Montgomery has also shown she can dish it, steal it, block it or even win a jump ball. A starter of 26 games as a freshman, Montgomery has become the center of the Yellow Jackets offense. She is averaging 13.8 points and has grabbed 6.9 rebounds a game.

Montgomery has registered four double-doubles this season. She recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds against Winthrop, had 12 points and 10 rebounds in win over Florida A&M, finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds at Miami and registered 14 points and 13 rebounds.

FROM BEYOND THE ARC
With the graduation of Chioma Nnamaka, the program’s all-time leader in three’s made, coach Joseph needed someone to step up and knock down a big three for the Jackets. Alex Montgomery has become that threat. She has nailed 43 trey’s this season and 75 for her career, moving her into ninth-place on the Georgia Tech all-time three-pointers made list. She is also shooting 38 percent from beyond-the-arc.

AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE … OYE, OYE, OYE
Junior Brigitte Ardossi started 26 games during her freshman season and helped the Jackets to their first win in the NCAA Tournament. Last season she was regulated to the first big off the bench and made the most of her opportunity by scoring 3.9 points per game and grabbing 2.8 rebounds in 14.5 minutes. Coach Joseph expects big things from her Aussie post-player in 2008-09 and has inserted her back into the starting lineup. She has played in 82 straight games, every game since coming to the Flats, and has started 43 of those games.

Ardossi, who has elevated her game to a new level, is scoring 8.0 points a game and is grabbing 4.5 rebounds per game. She is also knocking down her free-throw attempts at an 82% clip. She has hit 13 straight free-throws going back to the Winthrop game.

Against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 30, 2008, Ardossi scored a career-high 18 points to lead Tech to the win. On Dec. 5, Ardossi helped Tech defeat its archrival Georgia with her first career double-double (15 pts, 10 reb).

MOVING OUT
Sophomore Iasia Hemingway excelled as an undersized post player for the Jackets last season, scoring over 20 points against the likes of Maryland’s Crystal Langhorne and Tasha Humphrey of Georgia. This season, Coach Joseph has added some taller players to the Jackets roster that will allow Hemingway to take her game outside to the wing. Hemingway will now have a chance to not only post up players her height, she will also be able to take the ball to the basket and box out smaller guards for rebounds.

Hemingway is averaging 11.1 points and is registering 4.9 rebounds a game. She recorded her first career double-double against Georgia State (21 pts, 11 reb.) on Nov. 26, 2008. Hemingway has also shown a knack for getting to the free-throw line, with 72 attempts so far and is shooting 67 percent from the charity stripe.

SIXTH (WO)MAN
Most teams are lucky enough to have a solid starting five. This season, Joseph feels she can list six starters on her roster. Sophomore’s Deja Foster has shown the ability to step on the court and make an instant impact for the Jackets. Foster is averaging 24.5 minutes and started her first career game on Nov. 30, 2008 against Tennessee Tech.

Foster is scoring 7.8 points a game and is averaging 4.5 rebounds. Against Michigan State, she sparked Tech in the final five minutes with her first career three-pointer and back-to-back three-point plays on her way to a career-high 13 points.

FULL COURT PRESS
Last season, Georgia Tech finished the season with a school record 456 steals and led the NCAA with 14.3 steals per game. This has to be credited to Coach Joseph’s pressing defense. Joseph will press for 40 minutes with numerous pressing schemes to keep the offensive off-balance. Joseph wants her team to “be an impressive running defensive team that creates opportunities for the offense.” Even though it is early in the season, Tech is averaging a staggering 13.6 steals a game.

WINNING WITH COACH JO
In just her sixth season at the helm, Coach MaChelle Joseph is already has registered the second-most wins in Georgia Tech history. Joseph has registered a 97-70 (.581) records. She has led Tech to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournaments.

TECH VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Yellow Jackets played two top-10 teams in there first six games for the first time since facing No. 3 Georgia and No. 9 Maryland back in 1983. Tech went 0-2 in those games but fell by only 11 points at No. 1 UConn and then lost a tight game by eight points to No. 9 Texas in Florida. These games proved to help the Jackets as they upset No. 21 Michigan State at home on Dec. 3, 2008. This was the first win over a ranked opponent for Tech since it defeated No. 4 Maryland on Feb. 1, 2007.

THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Since Joseph began her tenure, Georgia Tech is 64-21 (.753) at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Last season, Tech finished with a program-best 14-2 mark on the Coliseum floor and is off to a good start in 2008-09, registering a 8-1 mark so far.

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