March 30, 2010
ATLANTA – Though it came up short of its “Pursuit of Gold,” the 2009-10 edition of the Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball team did accomplish many goals along the way.
Led by an outstanding senior year from All-Atlantic Coast Conference second team honoree, Brigitte Ardossi, the Yellow Jackets won 23 games, the most since joining the ACC prior to the 1979-80 season. Under head coach MaChelle Joseph, the team registered its fourth straight 20-win season and earned its fourth consecutive at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets notched the program’s 500th all-time victory with a 61-60 win at Maryland on Feb. 5, 2010. They also won a program-best eight road games and topped 10 victories at home for the seventh straight season.
In conference play, the Jackets finished with an 8-6 record for the second straight season and earned the No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament. Tech finished at .500 or better in the ACC portion of its schedule for the fourth straight year and only the sixth time ever.
Ardossi, who was also named the State of Georgia Women’s Basketball Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, finished her career with one of the finest senior seasons in the program’s history. She even became just the 24th Yellow Jacket to score at least 1,000 points in a career with her last basket in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Melbourne, Australia native played in all 130 games since she came to Georgia Tech and started 82 of those contests. This season, she set career-highs in virtually every category including scoring (16.1), rebounding (7.3), minutes played (31.6), steals (2.0) and assists (1.9). Her 532 points ranked fourth and her 242 rebounds were second all-time among seniors.
With fellow senior Tiffany Blackmon, the duo became the most successful class in program history with 88 wins in their time on the Flats.
The 2009-10 season also marked the return of Alex Montgomery, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) the previous March in the first round of the ACC Tournament. Montgomery was unable to go 100 percent until late January but she only missed five games this season and earned the ACC Sixth Player of the Year award and was named to the All-ACC third team for her outstanding play.
Montgomery, who was only a junior, became only the 23rd player to score 1,000 career points when she did it against Florida State on Feb. 15. She gave Yellow Jacket fans a preview of next year with three impressive double-doubles against nationally-ranked Florida State, North Carolina and Duke late in the season.
Junior Deja Foster, who has been a Dean’s List student every semester since coming to Georgia Tech, continued to show why many consider her one of the most athletic players in the ACC. She not only improved her points (9.9) and rebound (6.1) averages but also dished out 108 assists on the year. Foster became only the second Yellow Jackets to grab 200 rebounds and register 100 assists in season in Georgia Tech history. She was also named to the ACC All-Academic team for her work on and off the court.
With a year under their belts, the heralded sophomore class showed improvements across the board. Point guard Metra Walthour averaged 28.7 minutes a game and recorded 91 assists for the Jackets. Walthour also started 20 games and made an impact in all 33 contests. Guard Mo Bennett made the most of her minutes while filling in for Montgomery earlier in the season. Standing at 5-10, Bennett grabbed at least seven rebounds in a game nine times, including a 13-rebound effort against Florida Gulf Coast earlier in the season.
Post players Chelsea Regins and Sasha Goodlett also showed significant development throughout the season. Regins averaged 2.9 rebounds in just 12.8 minutes a game but it was her energy off the bench that was her most noteworthy attribute during the season. Her free-throws late against Wake Forest in the second round of the ACC Tournament helped seal Tech’s come-from-behind win over the Demon Deacons and helped the Jackets reach only their fourth-ever appearance in the semifinals of the tournament.
Goodlett, who has had the ability to expand her game without being the team’s No. 1 option on offense, finished her season averaging 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. She scored in double figures 14 times over the season. Goodlett will have two years of eligibility remaining and will be looked upon to become a major force in the ACC.
The Yellow Jackets freshmen class also showed signs of becoming important contributors to the future success of the program. Point guard Sharena Taylor started 12 games and had a few standout performances along the way, including a 12 point, six assist game at Miami. Jasmine Blain, an athletic wing with tremendous upside, showed so much improvement throughout the season that the coaches awarded her first career start in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The team was not only successful on the court but respected nationally off of it. Media representatives across the country ranked the Yellow Jackets in the Associated Poll for school-record 11 straight weeks, culminating with a program-best No. 19 ranking in the Feb. 15 poll. In fact, over the last three years under Coach Joseph, the team has earned a national ranking in 19 times.
With 10 letterwinners returning to the roster, a pair of experienced players becoming eligible and another top-ranked recruiting class, the Yellow Jackets future looks bright as they continue their “Pursuit of Gold” in 2010-11.