Dec. 18, 2011
By Jon Cooper
– Georgia Tech looks to stay on a roll as it heads to Nassau, in the Bahamas to participate in the Bahamas Sunsplash Shootout. Their first of two games is tonight against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, with tip-off set for 6:00 p.m. They’ll play Central Arkansas on Wednesday.
Tech made it two straight on the road Friday night, crushing Georgia State, 85-50. The Jackets got another strong effort from center Sasha Goodlett, who scored a game-high 16 and added two blocked shots and a steal. Ty Marshall chipped in 15, and Mo Bennett pulled down a game-high seven rebounds. Marshall scored six straight points as the Jackets raced out to a 9-0 lead, then used a 14-0 run late in the first half to take a 36-19 lead into the locker room. Tech would lead by as much as 38, as its smothering defense held the Panthers to 29.6 percent shooting.
The Cougars, who are playing their first game in eight days. have lost two of three and four of last six, but won their last game, 72-57, at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Freshman guard Katie Hampen came off the bench to score a game-high 17 with seven rebounds (both career-highs) and sophomore guard Jazmin Hill added 14, including her 100th career three-pointer. SIUE led 34-27 at the half and appeared to pull away after going on a 15-3 second-half run but the stubborn Mastodons cut the lead to six, before Hill hit her milestone shot and the Cougars were on their way to their second road win in five tries.
Tech fans can catch tonight’s 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 Last Time We Met: The Jackets are making their second trip to the Bahamas Sunsplash Shootout, as they went during the 2008-09 season. That year they went 2-0, thrashing Winthrop, 65-27, behind sophomore Alex Montgomery’s double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), then edging UT-Arlington, 63-56, led by Jacqua Williams’ 20 and 16 by Montgomery. Today’s game will be the first between Georgia Tech and SIU-Edwardsville, but the Yellow Jackets are 3-0 against the Ohio Valley Conference (2-0 vs. Tennessee State, 1-0 vs. Jacksonville State) and haven’t been challenged in any of the games. The Jackets beat Tennessee State, 93-61, to open the 1989-90 season, then last year met TSU and JSU in back-to-back games. They ended the 2011 portion of their schedule, humiliating the Tigers, 82-11 on Dec. 29. Four days later, Tech kicked off 2012 with a 79-57 rout of the Gamecocks. All three games were played at AMC.
Getting Board: Guard Mo Bennett is becoming a force on the boards, as on Friday night at Georgia State, she pulled down seven rebounds. That gave her 17 rebounds in two games — she grabbed a game-high 10 at Middle Tennessee State on Dec. 11. Bennett, who had a total of 24 rebounds coming into the MTSU game, was two rebounds shy of becoming the second Yellow Jacket to lead the team in rebounds in back-to-back games this year. Ty Marshall holds that distinction, leading the team against Green Bay and Nebraska.
Hot Night in Georgia (State): Freshman Sydney Wallace broke out of her shooting doldrums in a big way Friday night. The freshman hit five of her seven shots, hitting 3-for-4 for 13 points against Georgia State. Wallace had scored two-or-fewer points in three of her previous four games, shooting 4-for-18, 1-for-6 from three in that span. The three three-pointers are a career-best, while the 13 points and five field goals match her career-highs, set opening night against Alabama A&M.
TJ Max: Freshman Tjasa Gortnar had a career night on the glass Friday night. The rugged 6-2 freshman forward pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, four of them on the offensive end. Heading into the Georgia State game, Gortnar had a total of 11 rebounds on the season, five of them offensive rebounds, but had only two rebounds in her last four games. Her 20 minutes also were a season high.
Zero Tolerance: Metra Walthour has always been careful with the ball, but over the last two games she’s taken extreme caution with it. Over the last two games, she’s committed one turnover, including a clean effort against Georgia State. It was the second time this season that Me-Me was clean on the game — the other time came Nov. 13 against Old Dominion. In addition to not turning the ball over, Walthour handed out seven assists, one off her season high, set Nov. 30 against Nebraska and two away from career best set Jan. 13, 2011 against Virginia. She now has 20 assists to only eight turnovers over the last five games.
The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech refused to give up on it’s three-point shooting after a miserable first half Friday night and it paid off handsomely in the second half. The Jackets were 0-for-6 from three in the first 20 minutes but then nailed a season-high six three pointers in second 20. Sydney Wallace had three of the three-point field goals, Frida Fogdemark added two and Metra Walthour had one, as the Jackets shot 6-for-12 in the half.
SIUE LEADING SCORER: Michaela Herrod, 12.3 ppg
SIUE LEADING REBOUNDER: Raven Berry, 9.6 rpg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 73.8 ppg
OPPONENT: 56.2 ppg
SIUE SCORING: 66.6 ppg
OPPONENT: 65.9 ppg
SIUE PLAYER TO WATCH: Raven Berry – The 6-1 junior center is a potential double-double machine, having recorded three in the team’s first nine games and coming within two points and/or two rebounds in four others. Only the 15th player in school history to grab 500 rebounds, Berry is a 56.1 percent shooter, who averages 10.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game and her numbers increase away from home, where she’s scoring 12.6 points on 57.1 percent shooting with 10.4 rebounds.