Starting Five: No. 22/23 Georgia Tech (17-7, 7-4) @ No. 22 North Carolina (17-7, 7-4)

Feb. 11, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

No. 24/22 Georgia Tech plays an important game for position within the ACC when it faces off with No. 22 North Carolina at Carmichael Arena this afternoon. The teams come into the game tied for fourth place in the ACC with identical 17-7 and 7-4 conference records. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets will try to bounce back from a tough loss to Maryland Monday night at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. The loss snapped Tech’s four-game winning streak. Sasha Goodlett had a team-high 15 but the Jackets had no answer for Maryland’s front court of Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins, who both went for 23 points. A dramatic 10-0 run gave Tech a two-point lead, before Hawkins’ jumper with 2:09 left gave the Terrapins the lead for good. The game saw 12 ties and eight lead changes.

The Tar Heels have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak and will be looking to avoid matching a season-high three-game losing streak. In its last game, UNC scored a season-low 37 points, falling 61-37, at Miami on Wednesday. Laura Broomfield led UNC with seven points, making a team-high three field goals, as the Heels shot 26.8 percent for the game and only 17.9 percent in the second half.

Today’s game is the 67th in the series, which began in 1980. The Yellow Jackets trail 51-15 in the series, 6-24 in Chapel Hill, but have won three in a row and four of the last six meetings, including the unforgettable 71-70 victory over the then-No. 8 Tar Heels last Jan. 6, 2011 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech trailed 70-63 with 1:31 to go but closed the game on an 8-0 run to steal the victory. Metra Walthour’s three with :25 to play provided the winning points. Deja Foster set up Walthour’s heroics with a basket with 28 seconds left followed by a steal off the inbounds pass, feeding Walthour, who hit from the left corner.

Today’s game will be televised on ESPN3, with Walter Storholt and Julianne Viani doing the broadcast. Fans can always catch the action on WREK, 91.1 FM or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and Michele Van Gorp 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: Alex Montgomery had a game-high 22 points, with four three-pointers, and Sasha Goodlett scored 13 points, all in the second half, as Georgia Tech ruined Senior Night, beating No. 13/16 North Carolina, 64-57. Metra Walthour added 14 points, with three assists and three steals as the Jackets made 13 thefts and forced 22 turnovers. Tech led 31-30 at the break, then, after falling behind by five early in the second 20, went on a 14-4 run to take the lead for good. The win was the Jackets’ first in nine years at Carmichael and completed Tech’s first sweep of UNC in 20 years.

Ties Ties Ties Yeah: Should the Yellow Jackets beat UNC today it would match several series bests. A victory would be Tech’s’ fourth straight in the series, equalling the school’s best run — Feb. 13, 1988, Jan. 14 and 29 of 1989 and Jan. 11, 1990. A win also would give the Jackets their second winning streak in Chapel Hill and first such streak for Head Coach MaChelle Joseph. Joseph recorded her first road win over UNC last season.

Pulling Rank: While Georgia Tech is 0-6 against ranked teams during the 2011-12 season, history says North Carolina is a logical choice to be the first victory. Of the 31 wins against ranked opponents in the history of the women’s program, UNC has been the ranked foe most commonly felled, losing seven times. North Carolina State and Virginia are next (six each), then Maryland (five), Clemson (four), and non-conference foes Georgia (twice) and Michigan State (once). The Heels also have been the most common ranked foe to get stung by the Jackets in the MaChelle Joseph era, as Coach Jo has knocked them off three times — one more time than she’s beaten Maryland and Georgia.

Passing Through: Metra Walthour’s next assist will be the 357th of her career, and will move her into a tie for fifth place in Georgia Tech history, tying Carmen Davis (1990-92). Walthour ranks fourth in the ACC heading into today’s game, averaging 4.2 assists per game — her career best season — and is tied for the conference lead in Assists-to-Turnovers ratio (1.8) with Duke’s Chelsea Gray.

Four!: Dawnn Maye made four steals against Maryland on Monday night. It was the fourth game in six that she had exactly four steals and she snapped a two-game stretch in which she managed only one theft. Maye is averaging 3.0 steals over those six games and has moved into a tie for fifth in the ACC with 2.5 steals per game. Georgia Tech is tied with Duke for third in the ACC making 10.7 steals per game in conference play.

The Sixth Man: Sunday has been anything but a day of rest for Georgia Tech, as the Jackets have played more games on Sunday than any other day — today will be game No. 7. It’s also been a good day, as Tech is 5-1 in the first six games. The lone loss came Dec. 4 at Georgia, but since then, the Jackets have won four straight on Sunday, three of those in ACC play (at Boston College, at Florida State and at Clemson; the other win was at Middle Tennessee State.). Coincidentally, all seven games have been played on the road.

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Sasha Goodlett, 15.5 ppg
LEADING SCORER (ACC): Sasha Goodlett, 17.7 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Sasha Goodlett, 7.5 rpg
LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Sasha Goodlett, 8.8 rpg

NORTH CAROLINA LEADING SCORER: Chay Shegog, 16.4 ppg
LEADING SCORER (ACC): Chay Shegog, 16.7 ppg

NORTH CAROLINA LEADING REBOUNDER: Laura Broomfield, 9.7 rpg
LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Laura Broomfield, 8.9 rpg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING/ACC: 71.3/68.4
OPPONENT/ACC: 59.8/65.3

NORTH CAROLINA SCORING/ACC: 70.3/62.5
OPPONENT/ACC: 59.1/62.1

NORTH CAROLINA PLAYER TO WATCH: Chay Shegog – The 6-5 senior center has been a force for UNC. Shegog, the Tar Heels’ only double-digit scorer, is third in the ACC in scoring — her 16.4 ppg is almost double her average from her junior season when she averaged 8.9 ppg — and is among conference leaders in rebounds (7.6 rpg, seventh), field goal percentage (53.4, fourth), and blocked shots (2.5, second). Her six-point, 2-for-6 shooting night Wednesday in Miami snapped a streak of six straight games in which she scored in double-digits and made at least six field goals. She averaged 17.3 ppg on 64.2 percent shooting (43-for-67) in that stretch.

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