Nov. 30, 2010
By Jon Cooper
Starting Five: Northwestern (6-0) @ Georgia Tech (4-4)
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
Radio Coverage: WREK (91.1 FM)
The ignition of the Georgia Tech-Northwestern basketball rivalry takes another step tonight at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, as the women’s basketball team takes on the Wildcats in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The men challenged Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., for their ACC/Big Ten game with the Wildcats before falling 91-71 Tuesday night.
MaChelle Joseph’s squad is coming off a 1-2 trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, but ended the trip on a high note, taking out Missouri, 61-46, in its final game on Saturday.
Northwestern is coming off a thrilling 65-64 victory over Brigham Young University in the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic played in Moraga, Calif. Joe McKeown’s Wildcats are 6-0 and off to their best start in 15 years.
Here, now, the starting five for tonight’s game!
Jo-wning the Big Ten: Georgia Tech has a 9-3 all-time mark against Big Ten schools. A majority of the success has come in the MaChelle Joseph Era, as the Jackets are 5-1, with the only loss coming to Purdue — ironically Coach Joseph’s alma mater — in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Joseph is a perfect 2-0 against Northwestern, knocking off the Wildcats, 82-68, at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Dec. 18, 2006, then toppling the ‘Cats, 55-46, on Nov. 21, 2007, in the only previous meeting at AMC. The all-time series stands 2-1, as Northwestern won the schools’ first meeting, 90-62, on March 17, 1993.
Trading Paint: Georgia Tech did quite well scoring in the paint at the Paradise Jam, outscoring both Georgetown (24-12) and Tennessee (22-20) in the paint, led by Tyaunna Marshall (12.1 ppg) and Sasha Goodlett (7.4 ppg). Tech’s task in continuing inside domination will be tougher against Northwestern, which features 6-5 senior Amy Jaeschke. One of the nation’s premiere shot-blockers, Jaeschke is a three-time All-Big Ten selection, a preseason All-American and made the Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List. She’s in the school’s top 10 in scoring and is sure to crack the Big Ten’s all-time top five in career blocks. Jaeschke comes in averaging 21.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game (21 blocks in six games). Junior forward Brittany Orban also can cause match-up problems, as inside, she’s relentless (Orban leads the team with 21 offensive rebounds), while outside, she shoots .583 from three-point range (7-for 12).
Holding the Fort(night): Calling Georgia Tech’s schedule over the last two weeks rugged would be an understatement. In that time, the Yellow Jackets have faced No. 1 UConn, No. 4 Tennessee, and No. 12/12 Georgetown, who are a combined 17-2. There’s no breather in sight, with 6-0 Northwestern tonight, followed by Middle Tennessee State (4-1) and Georgia (5-1). That’s an opposing record of 32-4 — an .888 winning percentage.
Not Just A Hotshot: Freshman sensation Tyaunna Marshall had the first off-game of her collegiate career, shooting 1-for-7 and managing only two points against Missouri, but she found other ways to contribute. Marshall dished out a game-high three assists and recorded the Jackets’ only blocked shot.
Woman of the ‘Hour: Junior guard Metra Walthour has made nine three-point shots in eight games. That leaves her one away from matching her career total in 58 games coming into the season. Walthour also is shooting .391 from behind the arc. That’s the best percentage on the team and some 235 points higher than her career average coming into ’10-11. But her improvement doesn’t end there. “Me-Me” is averaging 8.0 points per game and 2.0 rebounds, double what she averaged last season. She also showed her maturity in bouncing back from a tough 1-for-9 shooting night against Georgetown, finishing the Paradise Jam by making 4 of her final 6 shots, including all four three-point attempts in the win over Missouri, where she had a team-high 19 points. Her foul shooting also has improved, as she’s shooting .680 (17-for-25). That’s 65 points higher than her career average and is second on the team of anyone with at least 10 FTAs. Walthour shot .833 from the line in the Jam (10-for-12).
The Sixth Man: Senior co-captain Deja Foster didn’t need long to make her presence felt. In only two games after returning from a knee injury, Foster has moved up to third on the team in scoring at 9.5 points per game and second in rebounding at 7.0 boards.