Dec. 18, 2001
ATLANTA — The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team used defensive pressure and improved shooting to stage a second-half rally and claim a 71-68 road win at Georgia State on Tuesday night. A 20-2 run that spanned the end of the first period and the beginning of the second stanza spurred the Yellow Jackets (6-3), who held off the Panthers (3-3) down the stretch for the victory.
The two teams traded baskets in the early going, as the Yellow Jackets were plagued by foul trouble throughout the first half, and the Panthers capitalized by converting 12-of-18 shots from the free throw line. With the game tied at 10-10 at the 15:03 mark, Georgia State mounted a 17-4 run over the next 6:40 and climbed ahead by a 27-14 score. The Panthers’ Patechia Hartman had eight points over the span to key Georgia State.
Georgia Tech found a run of its own at the end of the half, as the Jackets trailed 36-26 with 1:29 remaining and then rattled off a 7-0 run, all on points by junior Niesha Butler, to close the margin to 36-33 at the intermission. Butler, who was playing her first game for the Jackets in 2001-02, after serving a suspension, led Tech with 10 points in the half. Senior Regina Tate, who netted eight points and pulled down four boards, followed Butler for the Jackets.
“I think we really got taken out of our game early on the first half and we had some people in foul trouble early on,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. ” I was happy with the way we came back late in the half and got to within three points at the half.”
Georgia State’s Marica Maddox led all scorers in the first period, as she poured in 12 points in the half, including a perfect 5-of-5 performance at the free throw line.
In the second half, the Yellow Jackets picked up right where they left off in the first half, as they followed a 7-0 run to close out the half with a 13-2 run to open the second period. That spurt gave Tech a 48-38 advantage with 13:49 remaining in the game. A number of players contributed tot the surge, as Tate scored four points, while fellow senior Milli Martnez added four more and sophomore Fallon Stokes had three points of her own.
Tech’s lead grew to as many as 11 at 60-49 with 6:49 to play, but the Panthers made a late run of their own, closing to within one at 61-60 a the 4:00 mark, before taking the lead at 64-63 with 2:15 to play. The 15-3 spurt was keyed by increased defensive pressure by Georgia State, as it forced Tech into five turnovers in the span and seven of its points come directly off of Yellow Jacket miscues. Angelina Miller had six points in the run, including the go-ahead basket.
The Yellow Jackets fought back once again down the stretch, making key free throws to ice the game and ensure the win. Included in that, were four points from Stokes in the final 14 seconds, to put the game away. Stokes recorded a key offensive rebound and put-back lay up with 14 seconds remaining to give the Jackets a 69-66 lead, and followed a Georgia State basket with seven seconds on the clock by making a pair of free throws for the final 71-68 score.
“Fallon Stokes was awesome for us tonight,” said Berenato. “I challenged her at the end of the first half to step up and she really did as she had the key offensive rebound and made the two free throws at the end of the game to give us the win. I give Georgia State a lot of credit for fighting back in the second half after getting down by 10 and I’m proud of our team for hanging in there at the end.”
Tate led three Tech players in double figures, as she finished the game with 16 points and five rebounds. Stokes finished the game with a career-high 15 points, while pulling down five rebounds. Butler was the third Yellow Jacket in double figures, as she finished with 12 points. Junior Nina B?rlin just missed double digits, netting nine points, while dishing out nine assists and leading Tech with three steals.
Georgia State was led by the play of Miller and Maddox, as Maddox finished with a game-high 23 points and handed out six assists, while Miller had 20 points to go along with five rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets will now have a nine-day span between games as they break for the holiday, and will return to action on December 27, with a match-up against in-state rival and ninth-ranked Georgia. The game will be the second half of the ACC/SEC Shootout doubleheader and will tip off at 3 p.m. at Philips Arena, following the conclusion of the match-up between second-ranked Tennessee and eighth-ranked Duke.