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Georgia Tech Set to Face Clemson in ACC Tournament Thursday

March 4, 2009

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ATLANTA – The fifth-seeded Georgia Tech women’s basketball team will open the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament against No. 12 seed Clemson (13-16, 2-12 ACC) Thursday. The first round game at the Greensboro Coliseum is slated for 11 a.m.

The game will be televised live on the Atlantic Coast Conference Regional Sports Network (Fox Sports South in Atlanta). Mike Hogewood and Debbie Antonelli will call all the action with Ron Thulin roaming the sideline. Fans can also listen to Richard Musterer and LaChina Robinson describe the play-by-play on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org), Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station.

The Yellow Jackets, who finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak earned a 21-8 record and were 8-6 in ACC play, will meet the Tigers for the third time this season. Tech has won seven straight over Clemson, including an 89-54 win in LittleJohn Coliseum on Feb. 22. Alex Montgomery, who was named to the All-ACC third team, is leading the team in scoring (13.6) and rebounding (6.8).

The Tigers have lost five straight and nine of their last 10 games coming into the tournament. All-ACC third team member Lele Hardy leads the team with 16.7 points and 8.7 rebounds a game.

This will mark the fifth meeting between the two programs at the ACC Tournament with Clemson holding a 3-1 advantage. The Tigers are also 41-20 all-time against the Yellow Jackets. Thursday’s winning team will meet No. 4 seed North Carolina Friday at 11 a.m.

TECH VS. CLEMSON
• Clemson leads the all-time series 41-20 but the Yellow Jackets have won the last seven meetings.
• This is the fifth time the two programs will meet at the ACC Tournament with Clemson holding a 3-1 advantage in those games.
• Tech registered its largest margin of victory against an ACC opponent with its win over Clemson on Feb. 22 (35 points).

LOOKING BACK: GEORGIA TECH VICTORIOUS OVER NO. 22/19 VIRGINIA, 74-66
ATLANTA (AP) Iasia Hemingway scored 17 points and Alex Montgomery had 16 in Georgia Tech’s 74-66 victory over No. 22 Virginia on Sunday.

The Yellow Jackets (21-8, 8-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed the regular season with three straight wins and clinched the fifth seed in next week’s ACC tournament at Greensboro, N.C.

Senior Jacqua Williams, playing her final game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, added 14 points and three steals.

GEORGIA TECH AT THE ACC TOURNAMENT
The Yellow Jackets are 8-29 all-time at the ACC Tournament … Picked to finish sixth in the ACC in the preseason, Tech has earned the No. 5 seed … This is only the sixth time in their 29 appearances that the Jackets have earned a seed higher than No. 6 in the tournament when they garnered the No. 5 seed this season … Tech has reached the quarterfinals the last three seasons … This will mark the first time since 2004 that Tech will not face Miami in the first round of the Tournament … Head Coach MaChelle Joseph is 3-5 in the ACC Tournament over her first five seasons as coach of the Jackets … The ACC announced that Karen Lounsbury Russell will represent Georgia Tech as its 2009 ACC Legend … Lounsbury Russell was a four-year letter-winner for the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team from 1989-1992.

WINNING RECORD IN THE ACC
The Yellow Jackets 8-6 record in the ACC marks only the second time in the program’s history the team has finished above .500 in the conference. Two seasons ago, MaChelle Joseph’s team finished 9-5, the best record in school history and last season finished with a 7-7 record. Prior to Joseph, the team had finished .500 twice and one game under .500 three times.

COACH JO GETS NUMBER 1-OH-OH
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 105-74 (.587) 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.

20 IS THE NEW STANDARD
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 times and only two since joining the ACC prior to the 1979-80 season. The Jackets are one win shy of matching the school Division I best 22 wins that was accomplished last season. The program’s 23-win season took place before the team entered the ACC and played a few non-D-I opponents.

PICK A POCKET OR TWO
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 68 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 105 steals and has 366 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.

NOT JUST A DEFENDER
Jacqua Williams has been known as a defensive-specialist since she came to Georgia Tech but those days 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 11.6 points per contest and has scored in double-figures in 20 of Tech’s 29 games. She also leads the team with 93 assists on the year and has grabbed 3.3 rebounds a game. Her 120 games played are second in school history and will tie Alex Stewart for first when she suits up againt Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament.

SENIOR CLASS PILING UP WINS
Georgia Tech’s 2008-09 senior class of Tabitha Turner and Jacqua Williams have been a part of 78 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 64 wins and will start in the top five senior classes at the beginning of next season.

SHE CAN DO IT ALL
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 13.6 points and has grabbed 6.8 rebounds a game.

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

FROM BEYOND THE ARC
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 69 trey’s this season and 101 for her career, moving her into a tie for sixth-place on the Georgia Tech all-time three-pointers made list. She is also shooting 36 percent from beyond-the-arc.

MORE HONORS FOR MONTGOMERY/WILLIAMS
Georgia Tech sophomore Alex Montgomery was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference third team for her outstanding second year on the Flats. As a freshman, Montgomery was named to the ACC All-Freshmen Team. This is the third straight year Tech has had a player on the All-ACC third team.

Senior Jacqua Williams was recognized by the ACC coaches for her defense when she was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team for the second straight season. The Georgia Tech all-time steals leader is one of three Jackets (Milli Martinez, Sonja Mallory) to ever be named to the All-ACC defensive team and the only Tech player to be recognized for their defense in multiple seasons.

AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE … OYE, OYE, OYE
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 94 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 7.4 points a game and is grabbing 4.3 rebounds per game. She is also knocking down her free-throw attempts at an 82.2% 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.

MOVING OUT
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 10.9 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 124 attempts so far and is shooting 66 percent from the charity stripe.

SIXTH (WO)MAN
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 26.6 minutes and has started 11 games this season, including the last seven contests.

Foster is scoring 9.2 points a game and is averaging 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Foster has scored in double-figures in six straight games and notched her first career double-double at Clemson with career-highs in points (24) and rebounds (11) in that stretch.

MAKING A POINT
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 six of the last seven games and is averaging 29.3 minutes in those starts. She has dished out 25 assists in those six starts. The Jackets are averaging 17.3 turnovers when she starts combined to 22.5 when she is not starting.

FULL COURT PRESS
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 again leading the nation by averaging a staggering 14.0 steals a game. The Jackets 407 steals this season are good for the second-best season total in the program’s history.

The Yellow Jackets have scored 671 points off of turnovers and are averaging 23.1 points per contest off opponent turnovers.

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