Starting Five: Georgia Tech (5-3) at Middle Tennessee State (6-4)

Dec. 10, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Having had a week off to recharge their batteries, the Yellow Jackets look to get back in the win column as they take on Middle Tennessee State University. Tip-off at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., is set for 2:00 p.m.

Tech dropped a 75-68 decision last Sunday to rival Georgia in Athens in its last time out. Sasha Goodlett had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Ty Marshall had 19 with nine rebounds for the Jackets, who forged a furious rally to cut a 12-point deficit with 6:43 left down to two in the final minute before falling short.

The Blue Raiders won their second straight in their last game, winning at Xavier, 65-49, on Tuesday night. Forward Ebony Rowe dominated the proceedings scoring 24 points, grabbing 13 rebounds (10 off the offensive glass), and making five steals, all game highs. Rowe and KeKe Stewart combined for 13 points in a 19-3 second-half run that broke open what was a two-point game.

Today’s game can be seen on ESPN3.com, with Chip Walters calling the play-by-play and Kyle Turnham providing the color. Of course, Tech fans can listen to the game on WREK, 91.1 FM or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and Michele Van Gorp on the call. It can be streamed on Ramblinwreck.com, where fans also can get live stats.

Now, the Starting Five for today’s game.

The One and Only: Today’s game is the second ever between Georgia Tech and MIddle Tennessee and is the second of the home-and-home series. In the only previous meeting, last Dec. 10, Tech took care of business, 68-48, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Alex Montgomery put on a show, scoring 16 and grabbing 10 rebounds. She also had a game-high three steals and five assists (tied for game high). Ty Marshall added 13, while LaQuananisha Adams made the most of her 14 minutes of play, scoring nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, with five rebounds. The Raiders pulled to within five early in the second half but a 6-0 spurt in a 2:50 span pushed the lead back to double-digits and Tech was safe the rest of the way.

Pulling Rank: While Georgia Tech comes into the game having lost three of its last four, all three losses came against ranked teams (No. 13 Rutgers, No. 18 Green Bay and No. 15 Georgia) and all of them were away from home (Rutgers and Green Bay in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and UGA in Athens). The rugged non-conference slate is typical for Head Coach MaChelle Joseph’s squads. The Jackets 12 teams that saw postseason play last season on their ’11-12 schedule, 10 of them played in the NCAA Tournament. That includes MTSU, which was 23-8 last season (14-2 in the Sun Belt Conference) and reached the NCAA Tournament, where they fell, in the first round.

Very, Very Goodlett: Sasha Goodlett has come alive over her last three games. Since the 1-for-9, 5-point effort against Rutgers, Goodlett has averaged 15.7 points and has shot 63.3 percent (19-of-30) and nearly 70 percent (9-of-13) from the free throw line. The senior center has been as strong on the defensive end of the floor, as in those games she is pulling down 7.3 rebounds, has five blocked shots and five steals. In her previous five games Goodlett had averaged 8.4 points, on 45.0 percent shooting (18-for-40), with 5.2 rebounds, six blocks and four steals. She is coming off a monster effort against UGA, in which she had her first double-double of the season (19, 12), shot 8-for-16, had 12 rebounds (six on each end) and three blocks.

Block Party: Everyone knows Ty Marshall can score and rebound. But teams also are beginning to find out she can block shots. Marshall has blocked a shot in back-to-back games, her first two swats of the season. With a block today she can match her career-high for consecutive games with at least one block. Marshall had blocks in three consecutive games last season — getting one on Jan. 13 against Virginia, her career-high three Jan. 17 at Wake Forest, and one against Duke on Jan. 21 at Cameron Indoor. She finished her freshman season with 13 blocks on the year, second only to Sasha Goodlett (26).

No Threes for You…or Me: It’s no secret that Georgia Tech’s strength is not its three-point shooting. But playing without the three hasn’t been a problem. The Jackets have shot below 30 percent from three six times yet are 4-2 in those games. When they’ve shot over 30 percent from behind the arc, they are 1-1. It helps that they also are holding opponents under 30 percent shooting, as they are 4-2 in those games. When opponents hit 30 percent or better from three, the Jackets are 1-1.

The Sixth Man: Looking for a magic number for Georgia Tech? Try 70. The Jackets are 5-0 in games where they’ve scored at least 70 points. They are 0-3 in games they’ve managed under 70. Conversely, opponents might want to draw the line at 59. Tech’s opponents are 4-1 in games they have scored fewer than 60 points, while they are 1-2 in games scoring at least 60, 0-1 when scoring at least 70.

TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 17.0 ppg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Tyaunna Marshall, 7.3 rpg

MTSU LEADING SCORER: Ebony Rowe, 15.9 ppg
MTSU LEADING REBOUNDER: Ebony Rowe, 10.5 rpg

TECH SCORING: 74.4 ppg
OPPONENT: 58.1 ppg

MTSU SCORING: 61.5 ppg
OPPONENT: 60.5 ppg

MTSU PLAYER TO WATCH: Ebony Rowe – The sensational sophomore guard is a dominating presence at both ends of the floor for the Blue Raiders. A preseason pick for Co-Sun Belt Player of the Year, Rowe, has 22 career double-doubles, including six this season. She has hit 10 field goals in each of the last two games (20-for-39 in those games) and over the last three, has grabbed 35 rebounds, 24 of them coming on the offensive glass.

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