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Georgia Tech Hosts No. 22 Virginia on Senior Day

Feb. 28, 2009

Game Notes

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team will honor its seniors and sport throwback uniforms when it hosts No. 22/19 Virginia (22-7, 8-5 ACC) Sunday afternoon. Tipoff at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is slated for 1 p.m.

The game will be televised live on the Atlantic Coast Conference Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Atlanta). Mike Hogewood and Charlene Curtis will call all the action. Fans can also listen to Richard Musterer describe the play-by-play on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/, Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station or on XM 190.

The Yellow Jackets (20-8, 7-6), who won their second straight game Thursday night when they defeated Virginia Tech 73-68 in overtime have registered at least 20 wins in three straight seasons for the first time in program history. Alex Montgomery leads the team with 13.5 points a game, while averaging a team-leading 6.8 rebounds.

The Jackets will also celebrate their two seniors, Jacqua Williams and Tabitha Turner, by honoring them prior to tipoff. The team’s throwback uniforms are from the 1991-92 season, when the women’s basketball team won the WNIT Championship.

The Cavaliers are winners of three straight including a 68-63 upset win at No. 11/12 Florida State last Tuesday. Virginia has a pair of 20-point scorers on its roster in Lyndra Littles (21.4) and Monica Wright (21.2). Aisha Mohammed is the leading rebounder with 10 a game.

Last season, the Cavaliers defeated the Yellow Jackets in both meetings and are now 51-9 all-time against Georgia Tech.

• Virginia leads the all-time series 51-9 but the Yellow Jackets have won two of the last three meetings in Atlanta.
• Last season, Virginia defeated the Jackets in both meetings.
• Cavalier senior Kristen London calls Decatur, Ga., her home.

It was not easy but the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team earned its 20th win for the third straight season with a 73-68 overtime victory over Virginia Tech (12-17, 2-12 ACC) Thursday night at Cassell Coliseum.

The Yellow Jackets (20-8, 7-6), who were playing without Alex Montgomery and Iasia Hemingway after both players fouled out late in the second half, were led by Jacqua Williams. The senior guard scored five of her team-high 19 points in overtime. Williams went 8-12 from the free-throw line in the game and registered four steals.

In just her sixth season at the helm, Coach MaChelle Joseph is already has recorded the second-most wins in Tech history. Joseph has registered a 104-74 (.584) record and is the fastest coach in school history to win 100. She has led Tech to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournaments. She registered her 100th victory on Feb. 1, 2009 against Clemson. She has led the Jackets to their third straight 20-win season, a first for the program.

The Yellow Jackets have reached the 20-win mark for the third straight season, the first time this has happened in school history. Prior to the last three seasons, the program had only accomplished 20 wins in a season three teams and only two since joining the ACC prior to the 1979-80 season.

After three-plus seasons on the Flats, senior Jacqua Williams has earned the reputation as one of the best defenders in the nation. The speedster from Seattle, Wash., recorded her 279th career steal on Nov. 22, 2008 against Mississippi Valley State for a new school record, surpassing Kisha Ford and Tiffany Martin on the all-time steals list. Williams plans to obliterate the previous record during the remainder of the season.

Last season, Williams finished with a single-season school record 118 steals, leading the ACC and ranking fourth in the nation with 3.8 per game. She has registered at least one steal in 67 straight games and even held the ACC single game record for steals with 11 (later broken by former Yellow Jacket Jill Ingram with 14). This season she leads the Jackets with 102 steals and has 363 on her career. She now is ranked seventh all-time in the ACC after passing former North Carolina standout Marion Jones. She currently leads the ACC and ranks third in the nation in steals with 3.6 per game.

Jacqua Williams has been known as a defensive-specialist since she came to Georgia Tech but those have come to an end. Not only has she become one of the best defensive players in the ACC but she is just as strong on the offensive side of the ball. Williams is averaging 11.5 points per contest and has scored in double-figures in 19 of Tech’s 28 games. She also leads the team with 93 assists on the year and has grabbed 3.3 rebounds a game.

Georgia Tech’s 2008-09 senior class of Tabitha Turner and Jacqua Williams have been a part of 77 wins since beginning their careers on the Flats. The two Jackets have helped Tech to back-to-back record-setting seasons and are now the most successful class in the history of the program. The pair has accumulated the most wins by any senior class to ever play for the Yellow Jackets. Last year’s seniors finished with a then school-best 69 wins in their careers.

This season’s junior class (Brigitte Ardossi and Tiffany Blackmon) have been a part of 63 wins and will start in the top five senior classes at the beginning of next season.

Anyone who has watched Alex Montgomery play knows she can really do it all. She was the team’s top returning scorer (10.8) and rebounder (5.4) and has also shown she can dish it, steal it, block it or even win a jump ball. This season, Montgomery has become the center of the Yellow Jackets offense. She is averaging 13.5 points and has grabbed 6.8 rebounds a game.

Montgomery has registered five double-doubles this season and six in her career.

With the graduation of Chioma Nnamaka, the program’s all-time leader in three’s made, coach Joseph needed someone to step up and knock down a big three for the Jackets. Alex Montgomery has become that threat. She has nailed 67 trey’s this season and 99 for her career, moving her into seventh-place on the Georgia Tech all-time three-pointers made list. She is also shooting 36 percent from beyond-the-arc.

Junior Brigitte Ardossi started 26 games during her freshman season and helped the Jackets to their first win in the NCAA Tournament. Last season she was regulated to the first big off the bench and made the most of her opportunity by scoring 3.9 points per game and grabbing 2.8 rebounds in 14.5 minutes. She has played in 93 straight games, every game since coming to the Flats, and has started 47 of those contests.

Coach Joseph expected big things from her Aussie post-player in 2008-09 and she has gotten a big return. Ardossi, who has elevated her game to a new level, is scoring 7.2 points a game and is grabbing 4.2 rebounds per game. She is also knocking down her free-throw attempts at an 81.7% clip. She had hit 19 straight free-throws going back to the Winthrop game, before missing one at Wake Forest.

On Dec. 5, Ardossi helped Tech defeat its archrival Georgia with her first career double-double (15 pts, 10 reb). She came off the bench against Maryland to score 16 points and grab five rebounds.

Sophomore Iasia Hemingway excelled as an undersized post player for the Jackets last season, scoring over 20 points against the likes of Maryland’s Crystal Langhorne and Tasha Humphrey of Georgia. This season, with the addition of some taller players to the Jackets roster, Hemingway has been able to move to the wing. She has had a chance to not only post up players her height, she has taken the ball to the basket and has boxed out smaller guards for rebounds.

Hemingway is averaging 10.6 points and is registering 5.1 rebounds a game. She has recorded two double-doubles this season (vs. Georgia State, at Clemson). Hemingway has also shown a knack for getting to the free-throw line, with 115 attempts so far and is shooting 65 percent from the charity stripe.

Most teams are lucky enough to have a solid starting five. This season, Joseph feels she can list six starters on her roster. Sophomore Deja Foster has shown the ability to step on the court and make an instant impact for the Jackets. Foster is averaging 26.2 minutes and has started 10 games this season, including the last six contests.

Foster is scoring 9.1 points a game and is averaging 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Foster has scored in double-figures in five straight games and notched her first career double-double at Clemson with career-highs in points (24) and rebounds (11) in that stretch.

Freshman Metra Walthour, the only true point guard on the roster, has started three straight games for the Yellow Jackets and has shown the ability to control the offense and play Yellow Jacket defense. She has stepped up to become the point guard the team has needed all season long. After playing a career-high 34 minutes in Tech’s win over NC State, “Me-Me” dished out eight assists and registered only one turnover in her homecoming against Savannah State. She has started the last six games and is averaging 29.3 minutes in those starts. She has dished out 25 assists in those six starts. The Jackets are averaging 17 turnovers when she starts combined to 22.5 when she is not starting.

Last season, Georgia Tech finished the season with a school record 456 steals and led the NCAA with 14.3 steals per game. This has to be credited to Coach Joseph’s pressing defense. Joseph will press for 40 minutes with numerous pressing schemes to keep the offensive off-balance. Joseph wants her team to “be an impressive running defensive team that creates opportunities for the offense.” More than half way through the season, Tech is once agains leading the nation by averaging a staggering 14.0 steals a game. The Jackets 393 steals this season are good for the second-best season total in the program’s history.

The Yellow Jackets have scored 649 points off of turnovers and are averaging 23.2 points per contest off opponent turnovers.

The Yellow Jackets played two top-10 teams in there first six games for the first time since facing No. 3 Georgia and No. 9 Maryland back in 1983. Tech went 0-2 in those games but fell by only 11 points at No. 1 UConn and then lost a tight game by eight points to No. 9 Texas in Florida. These games proved to help the Jackets as they upset No. 21 Michigan State at home on Dec. 3, 2008. This was the first win over a ranked opponent for Tech since it defeated No. 4 Maryland on Feb. 1, 2007. Tech earned their second win over a ranked opponent on Jan. 22, when the Jackets upset No. 2 North Carolina, the highest-ranked team Tech has ever beaten. The Jackets are 2-5 this season against ranked opponents.

Since Joseph began her tenure, Georgia Tech is 68-22 (.756) at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Last season, Tech finished with a program-best 14-2 mark on the Coliseum floor and is off to a good start in 2008-09, registering a 12-2 mark so far.


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