Jan. 27, 2013
By Jon Cooper
On a day that Georgia Tech saluted “Girls On The Run” at halftime, the Yellow Jacket women’s basketball team was victimized by just that.
Only the “Girls On The Run” that did them in wore North Carolina State uniforms. State (10-11, 2-7 ACC) used a big second half to beat the Jackets, 78-66, Sunday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion.
“They ran the ball down our throat in transition and, again, that’s because we weren’t making shots and those were on missed baskets,” said head coach MaChelle Joseph, whose team dropped to 8-12, 1-8 in ACC play. “When you get time after time after time of missed baskets, that team gets confidence running the ball down your throat. We do that. When we get stops we can get transition baskets. You look at transition points, we only had two. That’s because we weren’t getting stops on the defensive end.”
Ty Marshall had a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double, her fourth of the season and first in nine games, and Sydney Wallace had a team-high 21 points in her second straight game with at least five field goals. Freshman Brittany Jackson added 17, going 10-for-10 from the foul line. But the Jackets got outscored 46-28 in the second half, while shooting only 17.6 percent. They got more points at the foul line (14) than from the floor (12), turning a six-point halftime lead into a disappointing defeat.
“It’s the first bad loss we’ve had all year,” said Joseph. “The first half I felt like we played well enough to win then we relaxed. That’s a sign of a young team. It’s been the story of our team all season long. It’s been really difficult with so many young players and inexperienced players. And not having an inside game, quite honestly, every team that’s beat us has beat us inside. Tonight was no different. Gatling had her career high and there was no way that we could stop her inside. We don’t have the inside game to be able to compete with some of these top post players.”
The win was the second straight for the Wolfpack, which had been winless in ACC play until Thursday.
For the first 20 minutes, Marshall and Wallace hoisted the Jackets on their shoulders. Marshall had 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting, with six rebounds, while Wallace had 13, on 4-for-9 shooting, 2-for-4 from three. But there was no consistent third contributor, as the rest of the team shot a combined 5-for-16, 1-for 7 from three.
Still, the Jackets led 38-32 at intermission and a lead at the half had been a harbinger of good things, as the Jackets were 7-3 when taking a lead into the locker room. State was 1-6, 0-4 in conference play this season when trailing at the half and 1-22 in ACC play under current coach Kellie Harper when down at intermission.
The second half would change that trend.
Marshall and Wallace cooled off, starting a vicious cycle that led to Tech’s demise.
After Wallace hit a three to open the half, Tech would not score again for over six minutes, going 0-for-10 with four turnovers, until Roddreka Rogers hit a jumper in the lane at the 13:31 mark to tie the game at 43. But Rogers’ bucket would not stem the tide. The Jackets stayed cold, while the Pack, which hit 63.3 percent, kept getting out in transition. They would have a 28-6 edge in points in the paint in the final 20 (a 42-18 overall edge) and a 23-0 edge in fast break points.
The Wolfpack scored 15 unanswered points following the Rogers hoop, led by as much as 19 and by double-figures the rest of the way. Joseph’s emotions even boiled over, as she received a technical in the second half.
The officials were not the true target of Joseph’s wrath, however. Joseph also was not pleased with the schedule, which saw her team play in Tallahassee Friday night, travel back after the game, then play a Sunday matinee, while NC State played Thursday night at home and had Friday and Saturday off.
“I think it’s really tough to ask a team with six freshmen to turnaround and play 24 hours after playing a road game, when the other team had two days of rest but it is what it is,” said Joseph. “We’ve had a terrible schedule. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s been brutal.”
But Joseph is not letting the team off the hook. The team, especially the upperclassmen, is the real culprits of her wrath.
Tech’s coach specifically called out junior point guard Dawnn Maye, who had two points, and one assist vs. three turnovers in 15 minutes, as well as senior center Danielle Hamilton-Carter, who had two points and four rebounds in 29 minutes.
So it’s back to the drawing board for Tech, which hosts Wake Forest on Thursday.
“I think what we have to do is go back and look at the tape and figure out what went wrong in the second half,” she said. “It’s obvious we struggled scoring against the zone.
“What lesson do we learn from that? I’m not sure,” she added. “I think these freshmen are learning how hard it is to play at this level night in and night out to beat anybody. You can’t just show up and win.”
The importunity is finding someone to help Marshall and Wallace.
“You can’t ask two people to do everything,” she said. “I think that’s kind of what’s happening at this point. It’s one of those things where our upperclassmen, our seniors and our juniors, in the post have got to make better contributions. We’ve got to continue to develop [freshman] Nariah Taylor. We’ve got to give her minutes and let her play through her mistakes.”