Starting Five: No. 10 Maryland (14-3, 5-1, ACC) at Georgia Tech (8-9, 1-5, ACC)

Jan. 19, 2013

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech will count on a little home cooking and a big home crowd to get on track in the ACC as they take on No. 10 Maryland this afternoon. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets battled Miami in their last game, Thursday night at the BankUnited Center, but dropped a 71-65 decision. It was Tech’s fourth loss in five games in ACC play. Freshman Brittany Jackson had another huge game, scoring a game- and career-high 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting (5-for-11 from three), and Ty Marshall chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds. After leading by as much as seven in a first half that saw five ties and seven lead changes, the Jackets took a 31-30 into the half. Tech trailed by as much as eight in the second half, but fought back to take the lead with 7:30 to play on a Jackson three. They would make only one field goal over the next 5:06, however to fall behind by five, which was too much to overcome.

The Terps made it four in a row and 10 out of 11 on Thursday night, shooting 54.5 percent in walloping NC State, 82-62, at the Comcast Center. Tianna Hawkins was unstoppable, scoring a game-high 26 points with a game- and season-high 17 rebounds, and keyed Maryland’s domination of the paint, where it held a 51-22 edge. After allowing State to come back from a very early eight-point deficit, Maryland went on an 18-6 run and took a 34-23 lead into halftime. It was all Terrapins in the second half, as they pushed the lead to 21 within the first 3:30 and to 31 midway through the half.

Today’s game will be the 65th meeting in a series that dates back to 1979. The Jackets trail 46-18 overall but only a 16-12 in Atlanta. This is the teams’ first game at McCamish Pavilion. The Yellow Jackets, who are 4-12 against Maryland under head coach MaChelle Joseph have played the Terrapins close, but have lost four of five and seven of nine.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2, with Pam Ward and LaChina Robinson calling the action. It also can be heard on WREK, 91.1 FM, or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and LaQuananisha Adams at courtside. 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 went right down to the wire with Maryland in the ACC Championship Game last March 4, coming up on the short end of a 68-65 decision. Ty Marshall was valiant, leading the Jackets with 25 points, while Sasha Goodlett was superb in the paint, scoring 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds, handing out two assists, blocking two shots and making two steals. The Jackets trailed 29-27 at intermission, despite Maryland shooting 48 percent to Tech’s 39.3. In a wild, back-and-forth second half, Tech grabbed a four-point lead, fell behind by seven, then fought back to even with 1:42 to play. But the Jackets went 0-for-5 the rest of the way, including a miss on an attempted game-tying three by Marshall with one second remaining, and the Terps escaped. Alyssa Thomas had a game-high 29 for Maryland, which was outscored 24-18 in the paint and 11-3 on second-chance points.

Sweet 16: From the day she arrived on the Flats it was obvious that Ty Marshall was going to be one of Georgia Tech’s all-time great scorers. She’s continuing to work her way up the school’s all-time scoring list. Marshall enters today’s game with 1,237 points, 16th all-time. She reached 16th place on Thursday, passing Marielle Walker, who had 1,230 points from 1985-88, then later moved past Walker’s teammate Ida Neal, who scored 1,235, from 1986-89. Up next is Sonja Mallory, who sits in 15th, having scored 1,254 points from 2000 through 2003. Marshall is averaging 15.2 ppg, 13.8 in ACC play.

20-20-20 Vision: Freshman guard Brittany Jackson has been getting some pretty good looks in 2013. With her career-high 23 points Thursday night, Jackson has now hit for 20 points in each of her last three games. She had one 20-point game all season prior to this most recent stretch, that coming back on Nov. 18 against Marquette. Over her last three games, Jackson is shooting 20-for-49 (40.8 percent). She’s been even better from three, where she’s become Tech’s biggest threat, having nailed 14 of her last 33 attempts (42.4). She’d made 15 in her previous 11 games. She’s also become one of the ACC’s top three-point shooters, as her 2.8 threes per game rank second in the conference, while her 38.6 percent shooting (17-for-44) ranks 10th. Jackson has made at least four threes in each of the past three games, something she did once in her first 11 college games. She also been money at the foul line, converting 82.4 percent (14-for-17) in ACC play, fourth in the conference.

Close But…: Georgia Tech has played Maryland a lot tougher in the series’ last 10 meetings than its 3-7 record reflects. Only one of Tech’s seven losses was by more than 10 points, and the close losses include a double-OT 99-95 loss on Jan. 20, 2008 in College Park, and three of the last four meetings, which were decided by four-or-fewer points — 56-53 on Feb. 3, 2011 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, 74-77, at the Comcast Center, and last year’s 68-65 heartbreaker in the ACC Championship Game at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Jackets three wins also have been close — 77-72 at AMC on Feb. 1, 2007, 61-60 at Comcast Center on Feb. 5, 2010, and 70-64 in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals on March 4, 2011.

Get Her To the Line: It’s no secret that Georgia Tech has struggled at the free throw line this season. They come into today’s game hitting 65.6 from the line, eighth in the ACC. But against Miami on Thursday, the Jackets may have found an answer to that trouble in Nariah Taylor. The 6-5 freshman center nailed 5-of-6 against Miami. The five FTMs were the team-high (one more than Ty Marshall, who made 4-of-5) and her career-high, as she’d never made more than one in a game. The six attempts matched her total for the season, while the five makes nearly doubled her season output — she had made three prior to Thursday. For Taylor, it was her first free throws made or attempted in ACC play. She hadn’t attempted a free throw in her previous seven games.

The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech will look to avoid its first three-game losing streak at home since the end of the 2005-06 season. That year, the Jackets lost 59-54 to Florida State on Feb. 2, 75-56 on Feb. 5 to No. 1 North Carolina, then to Virginia Tech, 70-54, on Feb. 19… Look for a big game from point guard Dawnn Maye. The junior point was held to a season-low one assist against Miami. Her previous low this season was two, which happened three times, the season-opener against Tennessee, then in back-to-back games against Syracuse and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in San Juan. She bounced back with five assists after the Tennessee game, then had a seven-assist game at No. 14/13 Purdue once coming back to the mainland…Georgia Tech will have its work cut out today against Maryland’s big front line of forwards Alyssa Thomas (6-2) and Tianna Hawkins (6-3) and center Alicia DeVaughn (6-4). Points in the paint has been a difficult area for Tech, as they have been outscored in four of its six ACC games, by a 210-168 margin…Center Danielle Hamilton-Carter ranks fourth in the ACC in field goal percentage, shooting 56.8 percent in conference play. Her 1.0 blocks per game (six in six conference games) rank 12th in the ACC. and ahead of the Terps’ shot-blocking leader, Alyssa Thomas, who is tied for 15th with 0.8 bpg (5).

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 15.2 ppg
MARYLAND LEADING SCORER: Tianna Hawkins, 19.1 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Brittany Jackson, 14.5 ppg
MARYLAND LEADING SCORER (ACC): Tianna Hawkins, 19.7 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Tyaunna Marshall, 8.0 rpg
MARYLAND LEADING REBOUNDER: Alyssa Thomas, 10.4 rpg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER(ACC): Tyaunna Marshall, 6.5 rpg
MARYLAND LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Alyssa Thomas, 12.5 rpg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 66.1/64.2 ppg.
OPPONENT: 66.2/73.5 ppg.

MARYLAND SCORING: 76.4/74.5 (ACC) ppg.
OPPONENT: 52.4/58.0 (ACC) ppg.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH: Tianna Hawkins – While everyone knows to watch Conference Player of the Year Alyssa Thomas, her front court partner is worth taking a look at as well. The 6-3 senior forward is hard to miss, as she’s the one dominating in the paint. Hawkins, the reigning ACC Player of the week, is the conference’s leading scorer and second-leading rebounder. With nine double-doubles, almost half of the team’s total of 20, and 16 double-figure-scoring games out of 17 — she’s had only one game with fewer than five FGMs — Hawkins also is among ACC leaders in field goal percentage (76.4, 3rd, 8th in the nation), offensive rebounds (4.5 ORB per game, first in the ACC) and defensive rebounds (5.7, fourth). Last season the Jackets held her in check, limiting her to 10.6 points on 62.5 percent shooting (15-for-24) and 6.3 rebounds (3.3 on offensive glass). She had 23 of those points and 11 of those field goals in one game.

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