Jan. 25, 2015
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (13-8, 3-4 ACC) held off Virginia (13-7, 3-4 ACC) for a 68-62 road win on Sunday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena.
“I really felt like we grew up today,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “I thought defensively, we got stops when we needed to. Kaela Davis played a phenomenal game, 40 minutes of great defense and offense. I feel like our team got better at Notre Dame and we are more locked in and all on the same page. I felt like today we came out and executed. Our freshmen and sophomores really carried us and our juniors led the way.”
The game remained tight between the two teams that were meeting for the 69th time in school history. The Yellow Jackets took their largest lead of the game with five minutes on the clock, 57-51, and held off the Cavaliers until they came within three points of Tech’s lead, 59-56, with 2:57 left. With 1:08 on the clock, Aaliyah Whiteside went hard to the basket and was fouled while making her layup. The junior came through in the clutch and made her free throw shot to give the Jackets a 62-56 advantage.
Faith Randolph would make two free throws for Virginia but on Tech’s ensuing offensive possession, O’Neil put in a layup for the 64-58 advantage. The Jackets would go four-for-four in the final 14 seconds from the free throw line to secure their third ACC victory.
Georgia Tech has now won seven out of the past nine meetings against Virginia and head coach MaChelle Joseph improved to 9-7 against the Cavaliers. This is the first time in school history that the Yellow Jackets have won back-to-back games on the road at Charlottesville.
During the win, the Jackets shot 100 percent from the free throw line (14-for-14) marking the first time the Jackets have gone 100 percent from the charity stripe since Virginia and Georgia Tech met on Jan. 13, 2011 and Tech shot 11-for-11.
“I thought Aaliyah Whiteside, who struggled in the first half, I thought she was a difference in the game in the second half,” Joseph said. “The thing I was impressed with by Katarina Vuckovic, she’s guarding a perimeter player the entire game. She has done a phenomenal job because she causes so many mismatches with the other team because of her size and height.”
Davis, who became the 28th Yellow Jacket and the fastest Georgia Tech player to score 1,000 career points in Tech’s last game against Notre Dame, recorded her fourth 30-point game this season with a team-best 31 points. The game marked her 20th double figure scoring game of the season and she has led the Jackets in scoring in 15 games. Davis has scored at least 20 points in seven of the past 11 games. She has 11 20 point games this season.
Davis now has four 30 point games this season and five in her career. She is one of three Jackets to have at least four 30 point games in one season and is only one of four Tech players to have at least five in their career.
Freshman Zaire O’Neil recorded her second double-double of her career, scoring 16 points a grabbing 11 rebounds. Junior Roddreka Rogers also pulled down 11 boards while scoring nine points. The Jackets out rebounded the Cavaliers 40-35 and held a 40-28 advantage in the paint.
The Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers traded buckets in the opening four minutes of the first frame, until the Cavaliers broke a 6-6 tie to go ahead 10-6. The Jackets were right on their heels and kept it close, with the lead bouncing back and forth four times between 12:29 and 10:47.
It was at 7:25 when the Cavaliers took a 10 point lead after utilizing an 11-0 run to put the advantage in their favor, 24-14.
The Jackets went hard in the paint scoring four unanswered layups to cut their deficit to 24-22 at 4:21 and force a Virginia timeout. Three of those layups came from O’Neil. Davis tacked on four made free throws to Tech’s 12-0 run to put Tech back in the lead, 26-24, at 3:07.
The final three minutes of the half remained just as close as the opening four minutes, and a last second basket from Faith Randolph put the Cavaliers ahead, 32-30, heading into halftime.
The beginning of the second half stuck to the same script as the first half, with neither team taking a lead larger than three until the Jackets went ahead by four points, 47-43, at 12:38 after a 7-0 run that included four points from Davis and a 3-pointer from sophomore Katarina Vuckovic.
The Cavaliers would tie it back up again at 47-47 and the game remained close until Tech scored six unanswered points to take its largest lead of the second half, 57-51, with five minutes on the clock. The Yellow Jackets wouldn’t let Virginia get closer than three and held on to the lead to snap a three-game losing streak.
Georgia Tech played its first five of seven ACC games on the road, traveling over 3,000 miles in the month of January and return home on Friday to kick off a four-game home stand, starting with Florida State on Friday, January 30 at 7 p.m. on RSN/FOX.