March 2, 2005
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech, the No. 8 seed in the 2005 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, will play the ninth-seeded Hurricanes of Miami in the first game of this year’s championship, which will be televised on the league’s Regional Sports Network (FSN South, Comcast SportsNet, Sunshine), Friday at 11 a.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. Mike Hogewood will be calling the play-by-play for RSN, and he will be joined on the broadcast by Charlene Curtis providing the color commentary. The contest will also be broadcast on the Georgia Tech student radio station, WREK-91.1 FM, and online at www.wrek.org with Richard Musterer calling the play-by-play and Kurt Hoyt providing the color analysis. Livestats for all tournament games will be available at www.theacc.com.
The Yellow Jackets have dropped their last six games against No. 23 NC State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, No. 3 Duke, Clemson and Florida State and is currently 13-13 on the season while finishing with a 4-10 mark in conference games. Miami is in the midst of a four-game losing streak in which its met NC State, Maryland, Duke and Virginia Tech and concluded the regular season with a 12-15 record while going 4-10 in ACC play.
The winner of Friday’s game will move on to face the top-seeded Tar Heels at 12 noon Saturday in a game that will also be televised on the Regional Sports Network.
Georgia Tech Tidbits
LIVING UP TO THE HYPE: Prior to the season, the Yellow Jackets voted and 50 percent of the squad said that Stephanie Higgs would be the player that would surprise people this season…she’s lived up to that hype in 2004-05 by leading the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and standing second in assists (49) and steals (40). She is also averaging 4.6 rebounds per contest.
INTO THE FIRE: Freshmen Jill Ingram and Chioma Nnamaka were thrown into the starting lineup prior to the season opener and have performed well, as they are third and second, respectively, in scoring. Nnamaka has started every game for the Jackets this season while Ingram has been in the starting lineup in all but one contest. Two other freshmen, Janie Mitchell and Daphne Mitchell, have also appeared in the starting lineup at some point this season, and the Jackets have had nine games in 2004-05 with three freshmen in the starting lineup.
LOOKING AT THE BENCH: Just because the starters are out doesn’t mean Tech’s opponents can relax…through 26 games this season, the Jackets’ bench is averaging 15.8 points per game (411 total), while the starters are averaging 42.4 points (1102 total).
MEGAN THE MAINSTAY: In the last three years (including this season), Georgia Tech has played 86 games, all of which Megan Harpring has been a part of. As a matter of fact, she is the only non-freshman on this year’s roster to have played in every single game in her career. Rookies Jill Ingram, Chioma Nnamaka and Janie Mitchell are the only other players that have played in every game in their career.
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO THE LINE: The Yellow Jackets have posted a stellar 11-5 record when converting on more free throws than their opponents, including a 3-5 mark against ACC teams. Conversely, when their opponents have made more shots from the charity stripe, Tech is just 2-8, including a 1-5 mark against conference foes. When taking more free throw attempts, Georgia Tech is 11-4 on the season and 3-3 in ACC play, but the Jackets are just 2-9 overall and 1-7 in conference matchups when their opponents reach the line more.
MAKING THE MOST OF “FREE” POINTS: Since dropping the pair of games at Tulsa and St. John’s in which the Yellow Jackets shot just 50 percent from the free-throw line (15-of-30), Georgia Tech had been much stronger from the charity stripe. In the five games following that road trip, the Jackets went 5-0 and connected on 80 percent of their free throws (64-of-80), including a season-high 90 percent mark against Alcorn State in the championship game of the GT/Atlanta Marriott NW Holiday Invitational. Overall, in their 13 losses this season, the Jackets have made 163 free throws in 234 overall attempts, converting just 69.7 percent from the line. In comparison, Georgia Tech has converted on 185-of-256 free throws (72.3 percent) in their 13 victories.
TIME TO WAKE UP: This season, the Yellow Jacket offense has, at times, had problems getting started…but that doesn’t mean they don’t eventually “wake up.” In games where the Yellow Jackets have a higher shooting percentage in the second half as compared to the first, Georgia Tech is 8-7, but when the Jackets shoot lower in the second frame, they are 5-6.
HOLDING THEM UNDER 60: Georgia Tech has held its opponents to under 60 points on 16 occasions in 2004-05, and in those games, the Yellow Jackets have posted a 12-4 mark. The Jackets’ defense has held ACC opponents to under 60 points on five occasions this season and have gone 4-3 in those contests. On eight occasions this season Georgia Tech has held its opponent to less than 50 points and has posted a perfect 8-0 record in those games, with three of those victories coming against ACC foes Miami, Clemson and Wake Forest.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE: According to the latest WBCA/Summerville RPI, Georgia Tech’s 2004-05 schedule is ranked the eighth-toughest in the nation, as the Yellow Jackets will play at least 11 games against teams that are ranked in the top-25 of this week’s RPI. Among ACC teams, Georgia Tech’s schedule is only ranked behind newcomers Miami (2) and Virginia Tech (4), and Maryland (5) and Virginia (9), and it stands ahead of Duke (17), Clemson (41), NC State (44), Florida State (49), Wake Forest (63) and North Carolina (67) .
Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament
Georgia Tech has posted a 5-25 record in the ACC Tournament, with its last tournament victory coming in 2002-03 against Florida State, 64-59.
The only time that the Yellow Jackets have posted more than one victory in the ACC Tournament was in 1992-93, when Georgia Tech became the first No. 7 seed to advance to the ACC Tournament final. Tech dropped a one-point decision to top-ranked and top-seeded Virginia, 70-69, to finish the tournament with a 2-1 record. That was also the first season that Georgia Tech won its first game of the tournament, after going 0-12 in its first 12 tournament appearances.
The Yellow Jackets are 0-1 in ACC Tournament games under head coach MaChelle Joseph.
The Jackets have entered tournament play as the No. 8 seed in eight previous tournaments and have advanced to the next round once, defeating Wake Forest, 78-67, in 1998. Georgia Tech was the No. 8 seed in four tournaments prior to Florida State joining the league, playing top-seeded NC State in 1980 and `85, and Virginia in `84 and `86 in first-round action. Since the Seminoles joined the league, Tech has played ninth-seeded Florida State in `96, No. 9 Wake in `98, the seventh seed, North Carolina, in 2001, and the No. 9 seed Wake Forest last season.
Following its only first-round win as the No. 8 seed, Tech faced Duke in quarterfinal action in 1998, losing 100-56 in Charlotte.
Georgia Tech is 2-5 in ACC Tournament contests played in Greensboro, defeating No. 3 NC State, 69-52 in 2000 and No. 4 Florida State, 64-59, in 2004.
The Jackets vs. the Hurricanes
The Jackets and Hurricanes have met four times in history, with Miami holding a 3-1 edge in the series. Miami won the first three contests, but the Yellow Jackets took home the victory in the only meeting between the two schools as members of the ACC.
Miami won the first contest on Dec. 15, 1980 by an 86-80 score in Coral Gables, Fla. Eleven years later, the two schools met again in Florida, with the Hurricanes taking a 78-63 victory over the Yellow Jackets. The last time the two teams played each other prior to this season was in Atlanta, with Miami winning, 73-64, on March 13, 2002 in the WNIT.
That meeting against Miami was the last time that the Yellow Jackets played in the WNIT.
LAST TIME OUT: Chioma Nnamaka scored a game-high 19 points and helped Georgia Tech earn its 400th win in school history as the Yellow Jackets defeated Miami, 62-46, at the Convocation Center in Miami. Georgia Tech used a 12-2 run to begin the second half to take a 42-24 lead with 15:07 remaining in the game. After trailing by 19 points with 13:08 on the clock, Miami went on a 10-1 run to pull to within 48-38 and 6:06, but Nnamaka nailed a three-pointer from the corner with 5:06 remaining and then converted on a pair of free throws to give the Yellow Jackets a 15-point lead at 3:58. The rookie from Uppsala, Sweden finished the game shooting 70 percent from the field and converted on 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. She also pulled down six rebounds and had two assists in the contest. Stephanie Higgs and Jill Ingram also scored in double-figures for the Yellow Jackets, as the sophomore Higgs had 18 points and Ingram added 10. Jessica Williams recorded double-figures in rebounds for the sixth time this season, pulling down 10 in the contest while scoring seven points and recording a pair of assists and steals. Georgia Tech shot 44.2 percent in the game, including converting on half of its three-point attempts, and converted on 18-of-21 from the free-throw line. Tamara James led the Hurricanes with 17 points in the game, while Tatjana Marincic came off the bench to score 11.
Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference
Georgia Tech is 109-264 in conference play in its 25 years as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Yellow Jackets are 7-19 in conference openers after posting a win in each of the last two season’s ACC openers, both of which came against Florida State. The Yellow Jackets have won all four meetings against Florida State when meeting the Seminoles in the ACC opener.
There are currently four ACC teams ranked in this week’s AP Poll, with Virginia and Florida State also earning votes. Georgia Tech is 1-8 against these six teams this season.
The ACC is currently the top-ranked conference in the WBCA/Summerville RPI, just ahead of the SEC and Pac 10 conferences, as two team appear in the top-10 (Duke-3, North Carolina-8), five more in the top-25 (Maryland-14, Florida State-15, Virginia-17, NC State-18, Virginia Tech-19), and a total of nine in the top-55 (Miami-53, Georgia Tech-54). Rounding out the RPI standings are ACC members Wake Forest (79) and Clemson (143).
The last time that Georgia Tech defeated a ranked ACC opponent was during the 2001-02 season, when the Jackets downed 17th-ranked North Carolina, 81-62 in Chapel Hill. Tech is 0-17 against ranked ACC opponents since then.