THE FLATS – Freshman Rusne Augustinaite dropped a career-high 30 points, hitting six three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough as Georgia Tech fell in the 2023 ACC/SEC Challenge presented by Dixie Ultra to Florida, 68-58, on Wednesday evening. Tonie Morgan added 18 points, but the Gators used a strong second half to capture the win.
Georgia Tech (5-2) led by as many as seven points off a Kayla Blackshear jumper midway through the second quarter, but Florida (6-1) kept the Jackets scoreless over the final five minutes to cut the score to 28-27 at intermission. The Gators used a strong third quarter, capitalizing on seven miscues from the Jackets to take their first lead since the opening frame on a bucket from Jeriah Warren at the 4:29 mark. Florida outscored Tech, 26-16, in the third frame to gain a 53-44 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter, Augustinaite hit a triple at 7:03 and Morgan followed with a layup to cut the score to five, 57-52. But the Gators answered with a 6-1 run to regain control and held down the stretch to open the double-digit lead and seal the win.
Augustinaite becomes the first Yellow Jacket since 2020 to score 30 points in a game as the freshman went 10-for-20 from the field, hitting 6-of-10 from three-point range. She finished with four rebounds and a pair of assists to lead all scorers on the night. Morgan followed with 18 points as the only two Jackets in double-figures. Blackshear nearly missed a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds and eight points.
Florida was led offensively by Laila Reynolds with 18 points, while Ra Shaya Kyle added a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds. Kyle helped lead the Gators to a 44-39 advantage on the boards and a 38-24 advantage in the paint. Florida shot 51.5 percent in the second half to win the final two periods, 41-30.
Georgia Tech returns to action with a trip to Nebraska on Saturday, Dec. 2. Tip is slated for 3 p.m. EST in Pinnacle Bank Arena on B1G+.
Head coach Nell Fortner postgame press conference
Tonie Morgan meets with media postgame
Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2
Looking to build on the success of last year’s Competitive Drive Initiative, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Foundation and Georgia Tech athletics are partnering once again to launch Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2. CDI Turn 2 has a goal of raising $2.5 million in new gifts to the Alexander-Tharpe Fund’s Athletic Scholarship Fund by Dec. 31, and Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Foundation will match eligible gifts to accelerate the impact for Tech athletics. Like last year, not only will gifts to CDI Turn 2 be matched, but so will the contributor’s benefits in the way of A-T Fund giving levels and priority points. To learn more and contribute online, visit atfund.org/turn2.