Starting Five: Virginia (15-6, 3-4) at Georgia Tech (14-6, 4-3)

Jan. 24, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech looks to make it two straight wins and four out of five when it plays host to Virginia at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets got back in the win column on Sunday afternoon, topping Florida State, 79-65, at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Tyaunna Marshall scored a game-high 22 points on a sizzling 85 percent shooting (11-of-13), Sasha Goodlett added 15 points and seven rebounds, and the opportunistic Jackets forced 24 Seminole turnovers and outscored FSU 32-10 off turnovers. Tech led 45-28 at the half, then used a 22-9 run to open up a 67-37 lead, the largest of the game.

The Cavaliers snapped a two-game losing streak on Saturday night, coming from behind to beat Boston College, 69-58, at John Paul Jones Arena. Ataira Franklin scored a team-high 21 points with a game-high five assists, and junior guard Lexie Gerson added 13 points, eight rebounds and six steals as the Cavaliers overcame a nine-point first-half deficit. Senior forward Chelsea Shine added 11 points and eight rebounds and ignited a game-closing 17-6 run by hitting a layup with 8:10 to play that broke a 52-52 tie, the sixth of the half.

Tonight’s game is the 64th in the series, which began in 1979. The Yellow Jackets trail in the series, 52-11, but have beaten the Wahoos three straight and four of five at home. The average margin of victory in those five games — including Virginia’s one win — has been 17.2 points, with only game decided by fewer than 10 points. The Jackets won last year at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and are looking for their first winning streak in the series since winning three straight, on Jan. 7 and Feb. 8 of 2001 then Jan. 10, 2002.

Fans can catch tonight’s game 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 tonight’s game.

The Last Time We Met: Ty Marshall had a game-high 16 points with a career-best five assists and Metra Walthour handed out a career-best nine helpers as Georgia Tech beat Virginia, 68-48, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Alex Montgomery added 14 points and nine rebounds as the Jackets won a school-record 12th straight game. Tech, which led 32-19 at the half, shutout Virginia from three (0-for-7), while shooting a perfect 11-for-11 from the foul line, the first time in school history the team was perfect when attempting 10 or more free throws. Tech dominated the boards, 39-25, as Montgomery, Goodlett and Deja Foster each grabbed nine rebounds.

Stolen Moments: While much rightfully has been made of Sasha Goodlett’s offensive production her defensive impact has been important as well. Goodlett heads into tonight’s game having made at least one steal in 16 straight games — the longest streak on the team this season — and she’s made one steal in 18 of Tech’s 20 games. Her 11 steals in ACC play rank third on the team, while her 27 swipes overall are fifth and lead all Tech front court players.

Nickel Defense: While on the subject of steals, tonight’s game should see plenty of them, as Georgia Tech and Virginia feature five of the Conference’s leaders in that category. Virginia’s Lexie Gerson leads the league with 4.3 per game (30 in seven games). Not far behind, in fourth place are the Jackets’ top thief, Dawnn Maye, who has 16 steals (2.3 per game), eight in her last two games. Maye is tied with Cavs’ senior guard Ariana Moorer (2.3, 16). Right on their tails are Marshall and Moorer’s back court partner Ataira Franklin. Both have 15 and 2.1 spg and rank eighth. Tech’s Metra Walthour and Mo Bennett also have quick hands as well and are over 30 steals on the season, while Goodlett (27) and forward Chelsea Shine (25) lead each team’s bigs.

11 Alive: Ty Marshall’s 11-for-13 day was easily her best shooting day this season — an 85 percent-shooting day is hard to top. The 11 FGMs against Florida State were one off her career best, recorded on two previous occasions — Dec. 28, 2010 against Mercer and on Nov. 30, 2011 against Nebraska. She needed 16 attempts against Mercer and 22 vs. Nebraska. The only game this season in which Marshall rivaled the percentage she shot Sunday was on Nov. 22, when she made 77.7 percent of her attempts against Kennesaw on 7-for-9 shooting. Coincidentally, that is the only other game this season that Marshall didn’t make a trip to the free throw line.

Ms. Clean: Metra Walthour’s nine-turnover game against Miami on Jan. 9 was an aberration and it’s safe to there were no lasting after-effects from the game. In the four games since, Walthour, who is third in the ACC in assists (4.4 per game) and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8), has committed a total of two turnovers with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 15-2. That includes Sunday’s game, when she chalked up six assists without a turnover. It’s her third clean game in the last four. Walthour hadn’t had back-to-back clean games all season.

The Sixth Woman: Not to be outdone by her senior point, Dawnn Maye also handed out six assists against Florida State, although she did commit two turnovers. The Florida State game was the seventh game this season that Walthour and Maye combined for 10-or-more assists. In four of those they’ve committed three-or-fewer turnovers. Their best effort was Nov. 13 vs. Old Dominion, when the pair combined for 13 assists against one turnover. Georgia Tech leads the ACC in assists, with 16.3 per game, and assist-to-turnover ratio, at 1.1. No other team in the ACC is at 1.0. Wake Forest and Maryland are next, at 0.9.

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 16.4 ppg
LEADING SCORER (ACC): Sasha Goodlett, 18.9 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Sasha Goodlett, 7.2 rpg
LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Sasha Goodlett, 8.9 rpg

VIRGINIA LEADING SCORER: Ariana Moorer, Ataira Franklin, 12.5 ppg
LEADING SCORER (ACC): Ataira Franklin, 14.9 ppg

VIRGINIA LEADING REBOUNDER: Chelsea Shine, 6.2 rpg
LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Ataira Franklin, 6.0 rpg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING/ACC: 72.7/70.7
OPPONENT/ACC: 59.8/68.4

VIRGINIA SCORING/ACC: 64.2/61.1
OPPONENT/ACC: 53.0/60.4

VIRGINIA PLAYER TO WATCH: Ataira Franklin – The 5-11 sophomore guard has heated up in ACC play. She’s the team’s leading scorer (14.9 ppg, 10th in the ACC), has made 56 percent of the team’s three-pointers, and is shooting 92.0 percent from the line, having missed only twice in 25 FTAs. She’s also pacing the team in rebounds (6.0 per game, tied for 19th), is second in assists (2.3), steals (2.1, eighth in the conference) and is one of three players with more than one blocked shot. Franklin is fourth in the ACC in minutes (36.6 — teammate Ariana Moorer, leads the conference at 39.0) and has played biggest in the Cavs’ biggest games, as she led the team in scoring and rebounding against both No. 7 Duke and No. 25 North Carolina, scoring a season-high 29 in the double-OT loss to the Tar Heels.

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