Dec. 30, 2014
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech women’s basketball sophomore Kaela Davis netted a career-high 35 points while leading the Yellow Jackets (10-4) to a 96-81 win against LA Tech (5-6) in the championship game of the Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament at McCamish Pavilion Tuesday afternoon
“I’m proud of the perseverance and character that this young team showed today,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said “To come out here to play without two starters and Kaela having to play point guard, and having a lot of people playing out of position, I thought they did a tremendous job against a very talented Louisiana Tech team.”
Joseph needs just one more win to become the Yellow Jackets’ all-time winningest coach in Georgia Tech history for today’s win against LA Tech tied Joseph with Agnus Berenato’s career record of 223-209. Joseph is in the middle of her 12th season at the helm of the Jackets and has a career record of 223-138.
With the Jackets missing two starters, Sydney Wallace and Antonia Peresson, for the second-straight game, Tech came together to score more than 90 points for the fourth time this season on their way to their fifth-straight win. The game wrapped up Tech’s nonconference slate and the Yellow Jackets finished nonconference play with a 10-4 record.
The Jackets dominated the Lady Techsters on the boards, outrebounding them, 56-35. Georgia Tech grabbed 35 defensive rebounds alone.
Sophomore Kaela Davis set a new career-high against the Lady Techsters, scoring 35 points, including a perfect 100 percent free throw percentage (7-for-7). Her 35 points marked her third 30 point game of her career and second of the season. She scored her previous career high of 33 points against Alabama State on Dec. 17. Davis recorded an impressive 27 points in the first half alone. Davis was named the Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament MVP after scoring 28 points against Lipscomb on Monday afternoon.
“I thought Aaliyah and Kat were huge,” Joseph said. “Kat with 13 rebounds and Aaliyah with 17 points and nine rebounds, those are huge numbers for her. Those types of players, we talked about it before the game, that somebody is going to get those extra shots that Sydney was getting. Someone is going to get those extra shots that Antonia was getting. Imani stepped up and played a great floor game again defensively. She did some great things offensively for us. Aaliyah Whiteside was tremendous on both ends of the floor.”
Sophomore Katarina Vuckovic also set a career-best against LA Tech, grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds. Vuckovic scored eight points and handed out two assists.
Freshman Zaire O’Neil recorded her second career 20 point game, scoring 20 points and recording eight rebounds. O’Neil led the Jackets with three assists. Fellow freshman Imani Tilford also had a strong game, scoring six points, pulling down five rebounds and recording a team-high five steals. Both O’Neil and Tilford were named to the all-tournament team.
Junior Aaliyah Whiteside had her seventh double-figure scoring game of the season, recording 17 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double, grabbing nine rebounds.
Davis was a force for Tech in the first half, shooting 79 percent from the floor (11-for-14) in the first 20 minutes on her way to 27 points.
With the score tied at eight all five minutes into the contest, the Lady Techsters put together eight straight points to take a 16-8 lead at the 12:54 mark. Davis put the Jackets on her back in the beginning of the first half, scoring 16 of Tech’s first 20 points and helping Tech tie up the game at 20-20.
Davis, who hit the 20 point mark in the first 11:15 of the game, scored eight points in a 15-0 Yellow Jacket run that put the Jackets back in the lead, 33-20 at the 7:11 mark. At one point, Davis had more points (22) than the Lady Techsters combined (20).
The Jackets would hold LA Tech scoreless for 4:43 until a 3-pointer from JaQuan Jackston initiated an 8-3 LA Tech run to pull the visitors within eight of Georgia Tech’s 36-28 lead. Whiteside sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Jacket into half time with a 48-39 lead.
The Lady Techsters would pull within two points of Georgia Tech’s 56-54 lead by outscoring the Jackets 11-6 over a 3:37 span in the beginning of the second half. The Yellow Jackets didn’t let the Lady Techsters stay close for long, scoring six unanswered points to extend their lead to eight points at 14:04, 62-54.
Tech would take its largest lead of the night at 8:39 when junior Roddreka Rogers completed a three point play to put Tech ahead 19 points, 78-59. The Lady Techsters would close the gap to eight points, 89-81, with 1:17 on the clock, but the Jackets would go 7-for-8 from the charity stripe to secure the 15 point victory.
Next, Georgia Tech opens up ACC play on the road, traveling to #7/6 Louisville on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. This will be the first ACC game for the Cardinals in women’s basketball history and the game will be shown on ESPN3.
Georgia Tech Holiday MVP
Kaela Davis – Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech Holiday Tournament All-Tournament Team
Erin McDonnell – Harvard
Kelia Shelton – LA Tech
Whitney Frazier – LA Tech
Zaire O’Neil – Georgia Tech
Imani Tilford – Georgia Tech