Starting Five: Middle Tennessee State University (7-1) @ Georgia Tech (6-4)

Dec. 2, 2010

Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
Radio Coverage: WREK (91.1 FM)

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

It’s a short turnaround for Georgia Tech, which hosts Middle Tennessee State tonight at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Short turnarounds are becoming the norm for head coach MaChelle Joseph’s squad, as the group is playing its sixth game in nine days.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off an emotional 67-63 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Alex Montgomery’s third three-pointer of the game gave Tech the lead for good with 12.6 seconds left, giving the team its second straight win for the second time this season. It also raised its record to a perfect 4-0 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Blue Raiders are 5-1 and bring a three-game winning streak into AMC. Tonight’s game is their second in a stretch that sees them play seven of nine on the road. MTSU knocked off Tennessee Tech, 71-58, Wednesday night behind a career-high 22 points from freshman Keke Stewart.

Tonight’s game is Georgia Tech’s first ever against MTSU. The Jackets are 4-1 all-time against the Sun Belt Conference.

Here, now, the starting five for tonight’s game!

The Kids Are (More Than) Alright: Tonight’s game features some pretty talented freshmen. Georgia Tech’s Tyaunna Marshall has been electrifying, ranking second on the team with 11.2 points per game, a .452 shooting percentage, and 23 offensive rebounds. She ranks third on the team in total boards, with 47, tied with Sasha Goodlett. Marshall is due to break out, as in the last two games she’s shot only 4-for-16 with a total of 10 points. MTSU has a freshman sensation of its own in Ebony Rowe, who leads the team in scoring (16.5 ppg), and rebounding (10.2) and has pulled down 35 offensive rebounds, nearly four times as many as her nearest teammate (Stewart, has nine).

Keep on Firing: Alex Montgomery took Coach Jo’s words to heart about shooting more and the results speak for themselves. In the four games since Joseph challenged her to be more assertive, Montgomery has led or had a share of the team lead in shots three times. Montgomery has led the team in scoring three times, averaging 15.3 points per game. She’s also had at least three three-point field goals three times and is shooting .444 (12-for-27) over her last four games.

Glass Plus: Junior forward Chelsea Regins had been quite effective her first two seasons despite only being used in small doses. This season, those doses have been greater, and, not surprisingly, so has her production. Regins, who recorded her season high with eight rebounds against Northwestern, is fifth on the team in minutes (26.3), and is fourth in rebounding (4.1). But those stats are expected. Her scoring also is up to 5.5 points a game, sixth on the team. Coming into this season, Regins was averaging 2.7 points a game, and 2.3 rebounds, while shooting .476, in 10.9 minutes per game.

One For All: Rebounding has been a one-woman show for MTSU, as Rowe has grabbed nearly 30 percent of the team’s rebounds (61) and more than 42 percent of the offensive caroms (35). Her 10.2 rebounds per game more than doubles her nearest teammate. Anne Marie Lanning, who is second with 3.8 rpg. Of course, Rowe’s per-game average also is higher than Tech’s rebounding leader, Montgomery, who grabs 9.0 per game. But Montgomery, who has four double-figure-rebounding games this season, has help in Deja Foster (7.0 rpg), Sasha Goodlett (5.9), Marshall (5.2), and Regins (4.1). They would rank second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth on the Blue Raiders.

Three-Ball: Georgia Tech’s modest improvement from three-point range thus far can be traced to a healthy Montgomery, who was 3-for-5 against Northwestern, is shooting .444 over her last four games and .375 this season (33 points higher than her career average), and an improved Metra Walhour, who was 1-for-3 against Northwestern following her 4-for-4 against Missouri. Tech is shooting .309 from three, that’s up .258 last year.

The Sixth Person: Look out for center Sasha Goodlett. The junior center has back-to-back double-figure-scoring games — 10 points against Missouri and 11 against Northwestern — after scoring in double-digits once in the team’s first seven games (of which she played six). Much like with Montgomery, Goodlett’s assertiveness has contributed. She’s taken 26 shots in the last two games. She had 41 in her previous six.

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