Jacket Women Face 'Make or Break' Game with Florida State

ATLANTA (Feb. 14) — Looking to keep pace in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings as the regular season winds to a close, Georgia Tech’s women’s basketball team faces a critical game against Florida State this week.

The Yellow Jackets (12-11 overall, 5-8 ACC) host the Seminoles (10-13 overall, 3-9 ACC) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

With a 5-8 record in ACC play, the Jackets are tied with North Carolina for fifth place in the conference standings with three games remaining.

After losing on the road to No. 14 Duke and North Carolina, Tech will look to finish strong as the Jackets jockey for ACC Tournament seeding and potentially a postseason berth in the NCAA Tournament or Women’s NIT.

“I think this is absolutely our biggest game of the season,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “This is a make or break game for us. We’re tied with Carolina for fifth place and we want to keep pace with that.

“It’s been unbelievable that we have managed to maintain fifth place. That is where we were picked at the beginning of the year when we had Niesha Butler (New York, N.Y.), and now without her, we’re still in fifth place. I think that says a lot about our program.”

The Seminoles enter Thursday’s contest having downed Maryland, 66-52, at home Sunday. Three FSU players are averaging double figures, led by senior Latavia Coleman’s 16.6 points per game, which ranks second in the ACC. Sophomore April Traylor averages 12.8, and junior Brooke Wykoff contributes 10.6.

Traylor burned the Jackets with 22 points and eight assists in the first meeting between the two schools, a 93-64 Seminole win.

“They spanked us when we played down there,” Berenato said. “They spanked us right from the get-go. We were never really in the game. We were came out flat, and it was a horrendous game for us. That can’t happen when they come here Thursday. They are a very good team, and I am surprised that they haven’t won more games.”

The biggest key for the Jackets this week will be putting together a complete game. Against 14th-ranked Duke, the Jackets trailed 33-26 at halftime and cut the Blue Devil lead to four early in the second half before Duke went on a 20-2 run to break the game open.

Against North Carolina, Tech dug themselves an early hole as the Tar Heels opened the game on a 10-0 run en route to a 47-25 halftime lead. The Jackets played even with the Tar Heels in the second half and cut a 30-point North Carolina lead in half in the final 10 minutes. After a lopsided first half, the Tar Heels only outscored Tech by one, 38-37, in the final 20 minutes.

“I was disappointed in the second half of our Duke game, and I was disappointed in the first half of our Carolina game,” Berenato said. “The key for us is to play a total game. We need to play for an entire 40 minutes.”

SERIES VS. FLORIDA STATE
Georgia Tech and Florida State meet for the 21st time Thursday in the series dating back to the 1974-75 season.

The Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series with the Seminoles 11-9 and have won two of the last three meetings. Georgia Tech also holds a 10-8 advantage in the series since Florida State joined the ACC for the 1991-92 season.

Florida State won the first meeting between the two schools earlier this season, taking a 93-64 win on Jan. 16 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Either Georgia Tech or Florida State has swept the two regular-season meetings in each of the past three seasons. The Yellow Jackets took both games from the Seminoles in 1997 and 1999, while FSU won both regular-season meetings in 1998.

DONEHEW CONTINUES TO CLIMB ACC THREE-POINT SHOOTING CHARTS
With 225 career three-pointers, senior Danielle Donehew (Canton, Ga.) ranks fifth on the ACC career list. Donehew moved is three threes away from passing North Carolina’s Stephanie Lawrence, who ranks fourth in ACC all-time with 227 career threes. NC State’s Tammy Gibson is third with 230. NC State’s Jennifer Howard is the ACC career leader with 315 threes.

Donehew also ranks fifth all-time in the ACC with 596 career three-point attempts. She moved past Clemson’s Tara Saunooke, (587) in the Yellow Jackets’ 83-51 loss to Duke Friday, Feb. 11. Donehew is three attempts away from passing NC State’s Tammy Gibson, who is presently fourth with 598 career three-point attempts. NC State’s Jennifer Howard is the all-time ACC leader with 717 career attempts.

Donehew also ranks 10th on the ACC career list for three-point shooting at 37.8 percent. Duke’s Jen Scanlon ranks ninth at 37.9 percent. NC State’s Jennifer Howard is the ACC career leader at 43.9 percent.

Barlin AMONG TECH’S FROSH ASSIST, STEALS LEADERS
Georgia Tech point guard Nina Barlin (Katrineholm, Sweden) already ranks among the Yellow Jackets’ top-10 for assists and steals by a freshman.

Through 23 games, Barlin has 81 assists, which is the sixth highest season assist total by a freshman in school history. Barlin also has 41 steals to date, which ties with Mary Rucker for the eighth-best steal total by a Tech freshman.

MOST ASSISTS BY A TECH FRESHMAN

Rk.     Player (Year)            G       Ast.    Avg.1.      Carmen Davis (1989-90)   30      173     (5.8)2.      Niesha Butler (1998-99)  27      120     (4.4)3.      Kisha Ford (1993-94)     27      108     (4.0)4.      Ida Neal (1985-86)       27      97      (3.6)5.      Tory Ehle (1983-84)      28      91      (3.3)6.      Nina Barlin (1999-2000)  23      81      (3.5)7.      Tiffany Martin (1993-94) 23      77      (3.4)8.      Mary Giambruno (1979-80) 25      70      (2.8)9.      Carla Munnion (1994-95)  30      67      (2.2)10.     Anita Malone (1981-82)   24      65      (2.7)11.     Kate Brandt (1980-81)    26      63      (2.4)

MOST STEALS BY A TECH FRESHMAN

Rk.     Player (Year)            G       St.     Avg.1.      Kisha Ford (1993-94)     27      92      (3.4)2.      Tiffany Martin (1993-94) 23      56      (2.4)3.      Anita Malone (1981-82)   24      52      (2.2)        Aimee Weiss (1989-90)    30      52      (1.7)5.      Kate Brandt (1980-81)    26      47      (1.8)        Niesha Butler (1998-99)  27      47      (1.7)7.      Carmen Davis (1989-90)   30      46      (1.5)8.      Mary Rucker (1979-80)    25      41      (1.6)        Nina Barlin (1999-2000)  23      41      (1.8)9.      Allison Echols (1988-89) 27      39      (1.4)        Ida Neal (1985-86)       27      39      (1.4) 

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