Dec. 5, 2001
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team rallied midway through the second half, but was unable to overcome turnovers and a hot-shooting Florida State team that downed the Yellow Jackets in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams, by an 87-78 score on Wednesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The win was the fifth straight for the Seminoles over the Jackets.
The Seminoles (6-1, 1-0 ACC) came out of the gate shooting the ball extremely well as they opened up a 26-13 lead at the 10:28 mark of the first half. Eleven points from April Traylor, who finished the half with 12 points, sparked the run by FSU. With the lead at 14 points (38-24) with 4:42 remaining before intermission, Tech (4-3, 0-1 ACC) went on a 13-5 run that included five points by junior Nina Barlin. The Jackets entered the locker room trailing by a 43-37 margin. Jacket senior Regina Tate and the Seminoles’ Tasheika Morris joined Traylor with a dozen points in the first period. Florida State was a perfect 6-of-6 from behind the three-point arc in the half and shot an impressive 55.2 percent from the floor overall.
“My compliments to Florida State on their win tonight,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “I think we dug ourselves into a hole in the first eight minutes with turnovers and we’re not at the point yet where we can recover from that.”
The Yellow Jackets opened the second half much the same way they closed the first, as intense defensive pressure keyed a 12-6 run to open the half and knot the score at 49-49 with 13:55 remaining. Senior Milli Martinez had six points over the span to lead Tech. Florida State answered with a 16-6 spurt if its own to put the game away, as the ‘Noles took a 65-53 lead at the 8:07 mark. A big basket late in the contest, was a three-pointer by Petra Hofmann, that came as the shot clock expired with 2:51 remaining to make the score 75-61. The Jackets battled to close the gap late in the contest, cutting the lead to seven on several occasions, but were unable to get any closer, as FSU made 6-of-10 free throws in the final 1:28 to keep the game out of reach.
“We did a great job in that we didn’t give up and we came back,” said Berenato. “We fought through some foul problems and we tried to get ourselves a chance to win. But, you’ve got to make your free throws. I think if we make our free throws, we have a good chance to win the game. We also just had too many turnovers, a number of which came at the beginning of the game, where passes that had been caught previously weren’t being caught. We just have to take this and move on.”
For the second-straight game, Georgia Tech was plagued by poor free throw shooting, as the Jackets made only 12-of-25 shots from the charity stripe, a number, which included a 9-for-21 (.429) performance in the second half alone. Overall the Jackets shot the ball well from the field, hitting on 47.0 percent of their shots. Tech had six players score in double figures for the first time since December 30, 1994 against Fairfield. Tate led the group as she finished with 17 points and six rebounds, she was followed by Barlin, who had 14 points and 13 assists in the contest, along with four steals. The 13 assists marked the fourth-straight game that she has recorded double digits in assists. Junior Tamika Boatner had one of her best shooting performances of the year, as she went 5-for-7 from the floor for 13 points, while pulling down a game-high-tying eight rebounds.
“I think that when we tied the game, we had a couple of times that we missed free throws and that really took the wind out of our sails,” said Berenato. “We played really great defense in the second half. I think a key basket for them came when we played great defense for 29 seconds, and Hofmann hit the three-pointer with one second left on the shot clock. They were 10-for-12 from the three-point line and that’s really tough to do, let alone 6-for-6 in the first half. In the end, I think we shot ourselves in the foot as a team, in that we turned the ball over 24 times, while we’ve been averaging between 14 and 15 turnovers a game, and our free throw shooting is something we really need to work on.”
Tech’s Martinez scored in double figures for the second-straight game, netting 12 points, while both Sonja Mallory and Fallon Stokes had 11 points, with Mallory tying Boatner for game-high rebounding honors with eight.
Traylor led four Seminoles in double figures with her 26 points, as she hit 10-of-15 field goal attempts, including three from beyond the arc. Morris joined Traylor in double digits with 20 points, as she was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Shinikki Whiting and Petra Hofmann netted 11 and 12 points respectively in the contest. For the game, the Seminoles shot 50.0 percent from the field, including an outstanding 10-for-12, 83.3 percent, from three-point land.
The Yellow Jackets will return to action this weekend, when they travel to New York City, to face Fordham in a game that will tip off at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Tech will then take a week off for exams, before returning to action at Georgia State on December 18.