Starting Five: Georgia Tech (11-3, 1-0) at #5 Maryland (14-0, 1-0)

Jan. 5, 2012

Follow Georgia Tech women’s basketball on Twitter – @GTWBB

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Red-hot Georgia Tech faces a stern test tonight in attempting to go 2-0 in ACC play when they visit No. 5 Maryland. Tip-off at the Comcast Center is at 8:30 p.m.

The Jackets began 2012 the way they finished 2011, with a victory, topping NC State, 76-66, Monday night at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C. Tyaunna Marshall scored 22 points, Dawnn Maye finished with a career-high 17 and Chelsea Regins grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds as the Jackets won their sixth straight. A 12-2 run broke open a 15-14 game, as Tech led 40-29 at the half and by as much as 19 in the second half.

The Terrapins are coming off a successful ACC debut, crushing Florida State, 91-70, at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee on Monday. Guard Laurin Mincy had 23 to lead three Maryland 20-point scorers. Forwards Alyssa Thomas (21, 10) and Tianna Hawkins (20, 13) had double-doubles for the Terps, who used a 10-0 run to take the lead for good midway through the first half. They led by 12 at intermission and by 22 in the second half.

Tonight’s game will be televised on RSN, with Tom Werme doing the play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli doing the color. Tech fans can catch tonight’s game on WREK, 91.1 FM or online at www.WREK.org with Kurt Hoyt and Michele Van Gorp on the call. It can be streamed through NC State All-Access (GoPack.com). Fans can get live stats on RamblinWreck.com and also can get instant updates by following the team on Twitter at @GTWBB and can get more information on the team by liking them on Facebook, GTWomensBasketball.

Now, the Starting Five for tonight’s game.

The Last Time We Met: The Yellow Jackets got a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds from Sasha Goodlett and 17 from Alex Montgomery in knocking off Maryland, 70-64, in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. Tyaunna Marshall (16 points), Metra Walthour (14) and Deja Foster (a season-high 10 rebounds) helped Tech overcome an 11-point, second-half deficit. The Jackets shot 54.2 percent in the final 20 and used a 9-0 run via baskets from Goodlett, Marshall, Walthour (a three) and Foster to break a 47-47 tie. With 1:11 to play and leading by 64-62, Montgomery’s three-point play gave Tech breathing room and the game was never closer than four.

Close Calls: One thing you pretty much can count on when Georgia Tech and Maryland get together is that the game will be close. In the MaChelle Joseph era, 11 of the 13 games between the schools have been decided by eight-or-fewer points, including all five games since 2007-08. Tech is 2-3 in those games. Last year, their three meetings were decided by a total of 10 points, with Tech taking two of three.

Regins Bank: Senior forward Chelsea Regins kicked off her final ACC season in grand style, nearly recording her first double-double of the season. Regins grabbed a game- and season-high 11 boards against N.C.State — five on the offensive glass (also a season-high) — and chipped in nine points on 4-for-7 shooting. Her 11 rebounds were four more than she grabbed in any conference game last season and three better than any single game in ’10-11.

Testing the Defense: The Yellow Jackets have played Coach Joseph’s signature stalwart defense thus far, holding opponents to 34.5 percent shooting and 24.7 from three (tops in the ACC), while limiting them to 56.0 points per game, but Maryland presents a formidable challenge. The Terps are the ACC’s top-ranked scoring team (85.4 ppg), the best shooting team (50.2 percent), and second-best three-point shooting team (35.6). Only one opponent has hit for 70 points against Tech — Georgia, which scored 75. The Terrapins have been held below 75 twice and have hit 90 on four occasions. They’re also the top rebounding team (plus-19.7).

Dueling Sophomores: Two of the ACC’s best freshmen last year, Georgia Tech’s Tyaunna Marshall and Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas, are now two of the conference’s best sophomores and will go at each other today. Marshall and Thomas lead their respective squads in scoring, averaging 16.4 points (third in the ACC), and are separated by one point (Thomas has 230, Marshall, 229). Marshall has three 20-point games, including two straight, and hasn’t been held to single-digits scoring since opening night, when she played 15 minutes. Thomas also has sizzled, with four 20-point games and has hit for double-figures in 10 straight games.

The Sixth Man: Dawnn Maye matched her career-single-game high with her six FGMs against N.C. State. Maye shot 6-for-10 and had 17 points in the victory. It was Maye’s second 6-for-10 game of the year (her first came on Opening Night) and third six-field goal game of the year (the other was a 6-for-7 on Dec. 9 against SIU-Edwardsville). Her 17 points were only three fewer than she scored in the entire ACC slate last season.

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 16.4 ppg
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Sasha Goodlett, 6.4 rpg

MARYLAND LEADING SCORER: Alyssa Thomas, 16.4 ppg
MARYLAND LEADING REBOUNDER: Tianna Hawkins, 9.9 rpg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 73.9 ppg
OPPONENT: 56.0 ppg

MARYLAND SCORING: 85.4 ppg
OPPONENT: 55.9 ppg

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH: Alyssa Thomas – The 6-2 sophomore forward is picking up where she left off last season when she was named ACC Rookie of the Year. Thomas has been a force on both ends of the floor, averaging 7.4 rebounds to go along with her team-leading 16.4 points and 3.0 assists per game. She had her second double-double of the season (21, 10) in the Terps’ ACC opener against Florida State, has scored in double-figures in 13 of Maryland’s 14 games and is shooting 49.5 percent on the season.

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