#STINGDAILY: Starting Five: Georgia Tech (2-0, 0-0, ACC) at No. 4/3 Tennessee (3-0, 0-0, SEC)

Nov. 16, 2013

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

With a pair of impressive wins under its belt to open the season, a confident Georgia Tech looks to scale Rocky Top tonight, when it takes on No. 4/3 Tennessee. Tip-off at The Summit in Thompson-Boling Arena is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets raised their record to 2-0 last Sunday at McCamish Pavilion by routing Western Carolina, 87-47. Forward Roddreka Rogers had her second career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Kaela Davis had her second 20-point game in as many college games, dropping 20 on the Catamounts in the victory.

The Yellow Jackets rained threes all day long, netting a school-record 13 three-pointers and shooting 54.2 percent from downtown. Davis had five of those threes, while Sydney Wallace added four and Aaliyah Whiteside hit three. Frida Fogdemark made the other. Trailing 8-3 early, Whiteside and Davis hit consecutive threes and the Jackets were on their way, leading by 14 at the break and by as much as 43 in the second half.

The Vols raised their record to 3-0, routing Chattanooga, 80-56, Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Junior point Ariel Massengale had a game-high 16 points, hitting 4-of-5 from 3, as Tennessee outscored UTC, 48-24, in the final 20 minutes. Tennessee shot 5-for-7 from three in the second half and limited the Mocs to 22.9 percent shooting in avoiding Chattanooga’s bid for a second straight upset (they knocked off UT in last year’s season opener). Forward Bashaara Graves chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds, six coming off the offensive glass.

Today’s game will be the sixth meeting in a series that dates back to 1987. The Yellow Jackets are 0-5, 0-2 in Knoxville (there was one neutral-site game in 2010). Tech is 0-2 under MaChelle Joseph, who is making her first visit to Thompson-Boling as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach. The teams played every year from 1987 through ’89 then met in 2010 and are completing a home-and-home series tonight.

The game can be seen on FOX Sports South and FOX Sports Tennessee with Bob Kesling and Debbie Antonelli calling the action and can be heard on WREK, 91.1 FM, or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and LaQuananisha Adams 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: No. 20 Tennessee put a damper on No. 22 Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion debut, beating the Jackets, 71-54, last Nov. 11. Tyaunna Marshall led the Jackets with 18 and eight rebounds and Dawnn Maye added 12, with five steals, but Tech committed 20 turnovers and shot only 28.1 percent in the second half, making only two of 13 on three-point attempts. Tech trailed 45-30 at intermission but Marshall sparked Tech and brought the McCamish crowd to life, scoring eight points and assisting on a Sydney Marshall 3-pointer in a 13-0 run to open the second half. But Tennessee answered with an 18-0 run, pushing the lead to 20 with 8:18 left to put the game away.

Kaela, Meet Ty: Freshman forward Kaela Davis has gotten off to a tremendous start as a Yellow Jacket. Davis has gone for double-doubles in each of her first two games — 20 and 11 vs. Coppin State, both team-highs, and 20-10 vs. Western Carolina — and was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the week of Nov. 11. Her nine 3-pointers lead the ACC and her 20-point outburst in the opener marked the first time in the MaChelle Joseph Era that a freshman scored 20 points in her collegiate debut. The back-to-back double-doubles are Tech’s first since Ty Marshall did it last Jan. 27 against NC State and Jan. 31 against Wake Forest. Davis also became the first Yellow Jacket to win ACC Rookie of the Week on the season’s opening week since Marshall did it for the week of Nov. 14, 2010. Davis actually outscored Marshall, who had 18 and 16 in her first two games against Georgia State and at Old Dominion.

Downtown Connectors: The three-ball has become Georgia Tech’s good friend so far this season. In two games, the Yellow Jackets have made an ACC-leading 22 3’s in 51 attempts, a .431 success rate. The 22 3-PTFGMs are one more than the team made through its first five games last season, when they converted only 21 of 83, a .253 percentage. Kaela Davis, fittingly wearing No. 3, has made an ACC-leading nine 3’s and has shot a blistering .474 (9-for-19) from behind the arc. She made five 3-pointers against Western Carolina after hitting four in her collegiate debut. Junior Sydney Wallace and sophomore Aaliyah Whiteside have each canned five 3’s. The Yellow Jackets made five or fewer 3’s in four of their first five games last season. Whiteside is converting at a team-best .556 (5-for-9), while Wallace is hitting at a career-best .455 (5-for-11)

May I Be of Assistance?: The Yellow Jackets have been extremely unselfish in their first two games, having handed out 47 assists, 23.5 per game. Senior point Dawnn Maye leads the team with 10, but everyone has gotten into the act, as 10 of the 13 players on the roster have more than one assist, and 12 of the 13 players have at least one. Four players, Kaela Davis, Aaliyah Whiteside, Ty Marshall and Sydney Wallace each have five helpers.

Money In The Middle: Georgia Tech’s bigs, sophomores Roddreka Rogers and Nariah Taylor have come up huge. Together, they are averaging 19.0 points while shooting a combined .750 (15-for-20) and pulling in 14.0 rebounds. Rogers recorded her second career double-double in the win over Western Carolina (10 points, 11 rebounds) and, in 22.5 minutes, is averaging 8.0 points and 10.0 rebounds. That’s nearly double last year’s averages (3.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg). She is leading the team with 12 offensive rebounds, is shooting .600 (6-for-10) and has made 4 of 5 at the foul line. Rogers shot .452 from the stripe last season. Taylor also is off to a great start. She is scoring 11.0 points a game, including a career-best 14 in the opener against Coppin State, and has made nine of her 10 field goal attempts (she shot .288 last season). The 6-5 center also has been solid at the line, making 4 of 6 (she shot .545 from the line last season) and leads the team with two blocked shots.

The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech is proving quite versatile offensively. They head into tonight’s game with four players scoring in double-figures. Amazingly, NONE of them is named Tyaunna Marshall. Kaela Davis leads the team with 20.0 ppg, followed by Aaliyah Whiteside and Sydney Wallace, both at 11.5 ppg, and Nariah Taylor at 11.0…Georgia Tech is 2-0 for the sixth time in the MaChelle Joseph Era and is looking to go 3-0 for the fifth time in Coach Jo’s tenure and the second time in three years…Tech’s school-record 13 3’s against Western Carolina came seven years to the day they set the school mark with 12 3PTFGMs against Mercer, in an 87-48 victory. The Jackets’ .620 field goal percentage that day (44-for-71) is still a school record…Senior point Dawnn Maye may not be starting but she’s still contributing in a big way. Maye leads the team in assists (10), and has committed only three turnovers in her 16.5 minutes. She’s also getting to the glass, as she ranks sixth on the team in rebounds (3.0 rpg).

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Kaela Davis, 20.0 ppg
TENNESSEE LEADING SCORER: Ariel Massengale, 16.0 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Kaela Davis, 10.5 rpg
TENNESSEE LEADING REBOUNDER: Cierra Burdick, 9.3 rpg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 83.0 ppg
OPPONENT: 52.0 ppg.

TENNESSEE SCORING: 76.0 ppg

OPPONENT: 59.3 ppg.

TENNESSEE PLAYER TO WATCH: Ariel Massengale – The 5-7 junior point guard is not only one of the best distributors in the SEC she’s showing signs of being one of its top scorers. Massengale, who was Second-Team All-SEC last season, is averaging 5.7 assists per game (her career season-best is 4.9 apg as a freshman), and leads the Vols in scoring at 16.0 ppg. She’s led Tennessee in scoring the last two games, including going for a career-high 20 in the 81-65 win Monday night at No. 12 North Carolina. Massengale is shooting .850 from the foul line (17-for-20), and is hitting almost 53 percent from three (9-for-17), and 64.3 percent in her last two games (9-for-14). In last year’s game against Georgia Tech, she came off the bench to score nine points, going 2-for-4 (0-for-2 from behind the arc), and 5-for-6 from the foul line, with four assists against only one turnover in 28 minutes.

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