Starting Five: Georgia Tech (8-7, 1-3, ACC) at No. 11/20North Carolina (16-1, 4-0, ACC)

Jan. 12, 2013

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech looks to get back to .500 when it takes on No. 11/20 North Carolina this afternoon. Tip-off at Carmichael Arena is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets, who have dropped two of their first three in ACC play, will try to stay perfect on the road in Conference play. Tech fell, 62-51, Thursday night against Virginia at McCamish Pavilion. Freshman Brittany Jackson led the Jackets with 20 points, nailing five three-pointers, and Ty Marshall and freshman Aaliyah Whiteside also chipped in with 12. Tech never led, shooting only 20 percent (7-for-34) in the first half (12.5 percent from three, 2-for-16) and fell behind by as much as 18. They’d pull to within 11 at the half and got to within seven early in the second 20, but Virginia answered with a 9-0 run and kept the game in double-digits the rest of the way.

The Tar Heels stayed unbeaten in conference play and continued to walk the tightrope in its last game, Thursday night, topping NC State, 70-66, at the Reynolds Coliseum. Brittany Rountree led the ‘Heels with 17 points and Waltiea Rolle added 16, while guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had nine points and a game-high seven assists. As they’ve done in three of their last five games, all wins, Carolina trailed at the half. They trailed by as much as 10 in the second half against State but tied the game with 12:30 to go and the game stayed within a basket, until the final minute, when UNC hit two free throws for the final margin of victory.

Today’s game will be the 69th meeting in a series that dates back to 1980. The Tar Heels hold a 51-17 overall edge and a 23-7 advantage in games played in Carmichael. But the Yellow Jackets have controlled the series recently, having won five straight.

The game can be heard on WREK, 91.1 FM, or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and LaQuananisha Adams on the call. 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.

And now, the Starting Five for today’s game.

The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech and North Carolina hooked up in a dandy in the first round of the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum, with the Yellow Jackets escaping with a 54-53 victory. Ty Marshall led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points and four assists and senior guards Metra Walthour and Mo Bennett each hit for 11. Sasha Goodlett led the team with eight rebounds, four on each end. Bennett hit a pair of threes less than a minute apart put the Jackets up five. They’d lead 31-25 lead at the half. The lead would grow to seven in the second half before Carolina stormed back the second half, Carolina came storming back and over the last nine minutes, the teams were no more than a basket apart. Marshall’s layup with 1:35 left gave Tech the lead 54-53, and the Jackets held off UNC, as Brittany Rountree’s game-winning three attempt hit the rim and bounced away.

Close Calls: While Georgia Tech has won five straight against North Carolina, those wins have been anything but easy. Four of those five games have been decided by seven-or-fewer points, and the total margin of victory in those games is 10 points. The teams’ two meetings last year were decided by a total of three points — 56-54 at Carmichael on Feb. 12, and then 54-53 in the ACC Tournament. The only game in the last five decided by more than seven was Feb. 24, 2011, when Tech won 67-54. This season, the Tar Heels have been cardiac kids, as their four ACC wins have been decided by seven or less and their last three have been decided by a total of 10 points.

The Jackson Five: Brittany Jackson’s five three-pointers against Virginia on Thursday night marked the second time this season that she’s hit five three-point field goals in a game. The first time came Nov. 18 against Marquette. Since the 0-for-5 from three at Duke, her ACC debut, Jackson is hitting at 42.1 percent from three, (8-for-19). She’s starting to find her range and her confidence, as she’s shooting 46.7 percent (14-for-30). In fact, her seven field goals and 19 attempts against Virginia are season-highs, breaking the six and 13 set against Marquette.

Be Careful Out There: Georgia Tech is right in the middle of the pack in taking care of the basketball — their minus-.25 ranks sixth in the conference. It’s a facet of the game in which they’ll need to be at their best today, as they’ll be facing the best team in the ACC in steals. North Carolina averages 14.8 thefts per game, 2.5 more than the nearest ACC team. The main suspects are Xylina McDaniel, who leads the conference with 3.8 per game. Not too far behind are Brittany Rountree, whose 3.0 tie her for court, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, whose 2.8 tie her for fifth.

Dependable Dawnn: Dawnn Maye has been outstanding in assist-to-turnover ratio for the Yellow Jackets in ACC play, with a 2.5:1 (30 assists vs. 12 turnovers). She hasn’t dished fewer than six assists in a conference game and has yet to turn the ball over more than three times. She’s had positive games in six of the last seven games and only once all season has had back-to-back negative games.

The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech has won two-thirds of the time against North Carolina in the MaChelle Joseph era (8-4)…Georgia Tech and North Carolina are actually fairly evenly matched offensively, as the Yellow Jackets are sixth in the conference, averaging 65.5 ppg, five more than seventh-place North Carolina (60.8). Tech also is better from three (27.8 percent, sixth to 24.6, ninth) and field goal percentage is almost even as Carolina is eighth at 37.9 percent while Tech is ninth at 37.7. The biggest difference comes defensively, where the Jackets are uncharacteristically 10th in scoring defense (72.8 ppg), while UNC is third (56.5). Tech also is eighth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (43.2 percent), while UNC is fourth at 37.0….Danielle Hamilton-Carter is having a solid senior season and has turned things up in ACC play. Hamilton-Carter is averaging 30.5 minutes per game and is shooting 56.0. Defensively, she leads the team in blocks (six) and is third on the team in steals (six)…Brittany Jackson is hitting 33.3 percent from three in ACC play (8-for-24). The rest of the team is shooting 25.4 percent (14-for-55).

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 15.6 ppg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING SCORER: Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, 14.0 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Tyaunna Marshall, 14.5 ppg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING SCORER (ACC): Tierra Ruffin-Pratt/Waltiea Rolle, 12.8 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Tyaunna Marshall, 8.2 rpg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING REBOUNDER: Krista Gross, 9.6 rpg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER(ACC): Tyaunna Marshall, 6.5 rpg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Krista Gross, 7.0 rpg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 66.7/65.5 ppg. OPPONENT: 65.0/72.8 ppg.

NORTH CAROLINA SCORING: 68.5/60.8 (ACC) ppg.
OPPONENT: 54.9/56.5 (ACC) ppg.

NORTH CAROLINA PLAYER TO WATCH: Xylina McDaniel – The 6-2 freshman forward is the daughter of the “X Man,” former NBA star and national scoring champion Xavier McDaniel. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Xylina is second on the team in scoring (12.7 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg), steals (40), and is third in blocked shots (15). She is a four-time ACC Rookie of the Week, who leads all freshmen in scoring, rebounding and steals. She’s led or shared the team lead in scoring five times and rebounding five times, has three double-doubles, 11 double-figure scoring games (10 in her last 11 games) and four double-figure rebounding games.

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