March 3, 2016
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (19-11, 8-8) used last second heroics from senior Roddreka Rogers to defeat Wake Forest (16-15, 6-10) 67-65 in the second round of the ACC Tournament on Thursday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“First of all, I just want to say that I’m really proud of this team. We’ve been on a journey all season long. We started with a really tough ACC schedule. We had three of four on the road to open up our ACC schedule, and we have three upperclassmen. To start out that way, it’s really tough, and we got banged around a little bit, but this team never gave up and they continued to work and get better and better every day.”
How it Happened
In the opening minutes of the contest, Wake Forest went up 7-2 on the Jackets but Georgia Tech scored back-to-back baskets to make it 7-6 at 6:11 in the first period. However, the Demon Deacons would jump ahead 10 points, 19-9, and finish out the first 10 minutes of play ahead of the Yellow Jackets, 25-13.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Aaliayh Whiteside and sophomore Antonia Peresson would spark a 12-3 run for the Yellow Jackets in the second period. Peresson sank a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the first half at the end of the run to put the Yellow Jackets within three, 34-31, of Wake Forest’s lead heading into halftime.
Wake Forest went up again by 10, 41-31, after scoring seven unanswered points. The Yellow Jackets made a run at the Demon Deacons, outscoring them 8-2, to cut its deficit to four points, 48-44, with 2:56 left in the third period.
The Yellow Jackets inched closer and closer the Demon Deacons in the fourth period. Graduate student Irene Gari drained her third 3-pointer of the second half to tie up the score at 56-56 with 7:30 left on the clock. Whiteside then showed why she is the leading scorer in the ACC, scoring five unanswered points to put Tech ahead 61-56 and give the Yellow Jackets its first lead since 13 seconds into the game when the Jackets led, 2-0.
The Demon Deacons tied up the score again with just one minute left at 65-65. A 3-point attempt from Peresson hit the rim but Gari was there to grab the offensive board and the Jackets called a timeout with 22.9 seconds left.
As seconds ticked off the clock, sophomore Imani Tilford drove hard to the basket and dished the ball to senior Roddreka Rogers who made one of her signature layups to give Georgia Tech the 67-65 advantage with just 5.6 seconds left. Tech’s tough defense held off Wake Forest’s attempt to come back and the Yellow Jackets pulled off the fourth quarter comeback to win.
Whiteside Carries the Jackets
Senior Aaliyah Whiteside led the Yellow Jackets with 19 points, marking the 20th time this season she has led Tech in scoring. Whiteside also gave out a team-high four assists and tied for the team lead with three steals. The Memphis, Tenn., native also tied for the team-high with eight rebounds. She has scored in double figures in 35 of the past 37 games, dating back to last season.
Fourth Quarter Heroics
Georgia Tech’s upperclassmen led the Yellow Jackets in a wild comeback in the fourth period. Senior Roddreka Rogers scored eight of Georgia Tech’s 18 points in the final frame. Senior Aaliyah Whiteside scored five unanswered points which gave GT its first lead since the first 13 seconds of the game. Graduate student Irene Gari scored three 3-pointers in the second half to help Georgia Tech win its fifth-straight game.
Georgia Tech’s eight made 3-pointers had a huge impact in tonight’s victory. Peresson led the Yellow Jackets with three made 3-pointers and tallied 11 points. She has scored in double figures in four out of the past five games and nine times this season. She is averaging 12.2 points over the past five games. Gari, who has played limited minutes the past three games because of a broken nose, drained three key 3-pointers for Tech, including one at 37 seconds left in the third quarter that got the Jackets within three points of the Demon Deacons and one that tied up the score 56-56 in the fourth period.
- This was the 66th all-time meeting against Wake Forest and the second-straight. Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 42-24 and has won four-straight against the Demon Deacons. The Yellow Jackets won the regular season-finale against Wake Forest 66-51 on Feb. 28 at home.
- The Yellow Jackets are 17-36 overall in the ACC Tournament and are 12-12 under Coach Joseph.
- Tech is now 2-1 in the second round of the ACC Tournament.
- This was Georgia Tech’s fifth-straight win.
- Tonight’s win was the 251st win of head coach MaChelle Joseph’s career. She is Tech’s all-time winningest coach and is 251-160 in her career.
Moving Through The Record Book
- With her eight rebounds against Wake Forest, Roddreka Rogers has 933 career rebounds and is in third on Georgia Tech’s all-time rebounding list. She is the third Yellow Jacket in women’s basketball history to have at least 900 career rebounds. Dolores Bootz is second on the all-time list with 978 career rebounds.
- After scoring 19 points against the Demon Deacons, Aaliyah Whiteside has 1,518 career points and is ninth on Georgia Tech’s all-time scoring list. Whiteside needs 39 more points to tie Joyce Pierce for eighth with 1,557 career points.
- Whiteside became the all-time leader in career free throws against Boston College. Tonight she went 1-for-2 from the foul line and has 476 career made free throws. Heading into tonight’s game, Whiteside ranked second in the nation in career free throws made and was eighth in career free throws made among active players in the NCAA.
- Whiteside is also 10th on Georgia Tech’s all-time 3-pointers made list with 106 made 3-pointers in her career.
The Yellow Jackets advance to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament and face No. 2-seed Louisville on Friday at 6 p.m. on RSN/ESPN3.