No. 22/22 Georgia Tech Looks to Rebound at Miami

Jan. 11, 2009

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ATLANTA – The No. 22/22 Georgia Tech women’s basketball team will play its first Atlantic Coast Conference road game this season Monday at Miami (10-6, 0-2 ACC). Tipoff at the BankUnited Center is set for 7 p.m.

The game will be televised live on the ACC Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South in Atlanta). Rich Waltz and Debbie Antonelli will call all the action. Fans can also listen to Richard Musterer and LaChina Robinson describe the play-by-play on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org), Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station.

The Yellow Jacket women (12-3, 0-1) dropped its ACC opener for the fourth consecutive year when Mickel Picco laid in a last second lay-up against Tech in overtime last Thursday. The basket snapped Tech’s eight-game win streak. Alex Montgomery and Jacqua Williams are tied for the team lead with 13.5 points a game, while Montgomery is averaging a team-leading 6.2 rebounds.

The Hurricanes, who are coming off a 73-58 loss at No. 5/10 Duke, are led by Shenise Johnson. The freshman forward is averaging a team-leading 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds.

The series is tied at seven apiece, with Tech winning six of the last seven meetings.

NEXT UP: FLORIDA STATE
Georgia Tech will travel to Florida State on Sunday, Jan. 18 for a 6 p.m. matchup. The game will be televised live on the ACC Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South in Atlanta. Tech leads the all-time series 18-17 after snapping a three-game losing streak to the Seminoles last season with a 83-73 win in Atlanta.

NEXT HOME GAME IS TAKE A KID TO THE GAME DAY
The Jackets will return home on Thursday January 22nd when they host No. 2 North Carolina at 7 p.m. The UNC game is Take a Kid to the Game day, where fans will be able to buy one ticket and get one free. There will also be a giveaway provided by the NCAA.

TECH VS. MIAMI
• The series between the two teams is tied at 7-7, with Tech winning six of the last seven meetings.
• The Jackets and Hurricanes have met nine times in the last three seasons and 11 times over the past four seasons.
• Tech senior Tabitha Turner, who hails from Miami, Fla., is returning home for the last time as a Yellow Jacket.
• Miami lists three players from the state of Georgia; Damisha Moore, LaToya Drake and Charmaine Clark.

LOOKING BACK: LAST SECOND LAY-UP SPOILS YELLOW JACKET ACC OPENER
Mickel Picco scored on a lay-up with less than a second left in overtime to give Boston College a 65-64 victory over No. 22 Georgia Tech in the ACC opener for both teams.

Georgia Tech (12-3) had gone ahead on a driving basket by Jacqua Williams with 3.4 seconds remaining. But Picco, who had 14 points, got loose down court for a long pass against the press and scored just before the buzzer. The scoreboard read 0.3 seconds, but that wasn’t enough time for the Yellow Jackets to get off a shot.

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 54 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 66 steals and has 327 on her career. She currently leads the ACC and ranks second in the nation in steals with 4.4 per game. Let’s not forget Williams also is scoring a team-high 13.5 points 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 69 wins since beginning their careers on the Flats. The two Jackets have helped Tech to back-to-back record-setting seasons and are on pace to become the most successful class in the history of the program. With one more win this season, the pair will accumulate the most wins by any senior class to ever play for the Yellow Jackets. Last year’s seniors finished with a school-best 69 wins in their careers.

This season’s junior class (Brigitte Ardossi and Tiffany Blackmon) have been a part of 55 wins and should move into the top five by the time the two are seniors.

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 80 straight games, every game since coming to the Flats, and has started 41 of those games.

Ardossi, who has elevated her game to a new level, is scoring 8.5 points a game and is grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. She is also knocking down her free-throw attempts at an 82% clip. 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).

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 13.5 points, has grabbed 6.2 rebounds a game and is shooting 36 percent from beyond-the-arc.

Montgomery has registered two double-doubles this season. She recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds against Winthrop and had 12 points and 10 rebounds in win over Florida A&M.

BIG SHOT MONTGOMERY
With under 10 seconds remaining on the clock and the Jackets need someone to knock down a big shot, Alex Montgomery has not shied away from taking it. Last season, Montgomery hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Tech past Miami at home (1/15/08). Montgomery has continued to show no fear when a big shot is needed, knocking down a three-pointer as time expired before halftime in three straight games (Michigan State, Georgia and Oregon) earlier in the season.

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 11.5 points and is registering 4.7 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 24.0 minutes and started her first career game on Nov. 30, 2008 against Tennessee Tech.

Foster is scoring 7.6 points a game and is averaging 4.4 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 13.9 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 96-69 (.582) records. She has led Tech to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournaments.

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