Jan. 8, 2015
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (12-5, 2-1 ACC) held off Boston College (8-7, 0-2), 80-77, in an exciting game that featured 10 lead changes at Conte Forum on a chilly Thursday night.
With the score knotted at 76-76 with 2:08 remaining, a jump shot by sophomore Kaela Davis gave the Jackets a two point lead, 78-76. Roughly 34 seconds later, freshman Imani Tilford fouled Nicole Brodreau, who went made her first foul shot, but missed her second. Junior Aaliyah Whiteside was there to grab the rebound and drew a foul. Whiteside missed her first shot of her one and-one but freshman Zaire O’Neil grabbed the offensive board and put it back to give the Jackets an 80-77 advantage.
The Jackets were able to hold off the Eagles in the final 1:02 and Kelly Hughes’ 3-point game-tying attempt went wide to secure the Yellow Jackets second ACC victory.
“I’m just really proud of the way our players played in the second half,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “I thought we got up early and we showed a lot of aggressiveness in the first half. Then we kind of relaxed and they got back in the game. I thought we did a great job down the stretch.”
The victory was the 600th win in Georgia Tech women’s basketball program history. Tech is now 600-566 all-time in women’s basketball. Joseph also recently hit a milestone in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history. Joseph became the all-time winningest coach in Georgia Tech history after recording her 224th win against Clemson to move into first all-time in wins as a head coach on Sunday, Jan. 4th. Joseph’s career record is 225-139 in 12 seasons at the helm of the Jackets.
“I thought Zaire O’Neil, our freshman, was key,” Joseph said. “I thought Kaela Davis took over in the second half. I thought she showed up and showed what a special player she is. Zaire O’Neil, to get that offensive rebound and put back on the free throw line, was a game changer.”
After her 27 points against the Eagles, Davis now has 946 career points, putting her just 54 points away from becoming the 28th Yellow Jacket to score 1,000 career points. Davis, who has played in 49 career games, is on track to become the fastest player to reach the 1,000 point milestone. Dolores Bootz (1985-88) and Joyce Pierce (1991-93) both reached the milestone in 55 games. She is currently averaging a team-best 20.7 points per game.
Her 27 points marked the ninth time this season that Davis has scored at least 20 points in a game. She scored 18 of her team-best 27 points in the second half.
Whiteside hit double-figures before halftime, scoring 12 points and leading the Jackets on the boards with four in the first 20 minutes of play. Her 20 points marked her 10th double figure game of the season and her second 20 point game of the year. Both Whiteside and fellow junior Roddreka Rogers led the Jackets on the boards, grabbing seven rebounds apiece.
O’Neil also scored in double-figures, recording 15 points and a team-high two blocks. Tilford led the Jackets in steals with five.
The Yellow Jackets started off with a quick 7-2 lead but the Eagles climbed within two points of Tech’s 9-7 lead at 16:16. The Yellow Jackets drew six fouls in the first 7:25 minutes of the game and went 9-for-10 during the span from the charity stripe on its way to a 20-11 lead at 12:35.
Tech would extend its lead even further on a 7-0 run that spanned just 52 seconds to go ahead 14 points at 9:34, 27-13, its largest lead of the game. The Eagles chipped away at the Yellow Jackets’ lead with their own run, scoring 12 unanswered points to come within two points of Tech, 27-25.
The Yellow Jackets let their lead slip away and trailed by 39-34 with 2:24 to go until halftime. A 3-point basket from Whiteside pulled Tech within one point of the Eagles, but sophomore Katarina Vuckovic’s 3-point attempt in the final seconds of the first half fell short and Georgia Tech headed into the locker room down by a point, 39-38.
The two opponents, who were meeting for the 13th time in school history, traded baskets in the beginning two minutes of the second half until the Eagles pulled away by four again, 50-46.
A quick 6-0 run put Tech back ahead, but the Eagles stayed close, 54-52, and made it a tie ball game at 56 all with 12:58 remaining. Davis went on a 9-6 run on her own to push the Yellow Jackets ahead, 65-63 with 7:31 on the clock.
The Eagles caught up with the Jackets again and tied it at 69-69 with just 5:41 to go. The lead bounced back and forth between the two teams for the remainder of the game until O’Neil’s put back sealed the victory of the Yellow Jackets.
Next up the Yellow Jackets stay on the road, traveling to #8/6 North Carolina on Sunday at 3 p.m. on RSN/ESPN3.