March 18, 2011
Head Coach MaChelle Joseph has the most veteran team of her tenure in 2011. And she’ll need every bit of veteran composure, poise and leadership as Georgia Tech enters its school record fifth straight NCAA Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets earned their highest seed ever when the brackets were announced and Tech was slated as a five seed. Georgia Tech will also be facing a first time opponent, 12th seeded Bowling Green, in their first visit to the Buckeye State’s capital city, Columbus. In fact, of the three other teams sent to Columbus for the first and second rounds, Bowling Green, Ohio State & UCF,, the Jackets have only faced one, UCF, previously. Tech holds a 2-0 all-time record against the Knights with the last meeting coming in Joseph’s first season on The Flats.
On the docket first for Georgia Tech will be the Bowling Green Falcons, who are making the short trek south for their 11th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. The Falcons posted a 28-4 overall mark and a 13-3 record in the Mid-American Conference. BGSU entered the MAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed and captured its second straight league title. Last season, the Falcons were also a 12 seed and lost 72-62 to Michigan State. Senior Lauren Prochaska leads the Falson with 17.9 ppg and BGSU is the No. 1 free throw shooting team in the country, converting 79. of free throw attempts.
The fifth seed the Yellow Jackets earned was the highest seed in program history, besting the sixth seed Georgia Tech earned last season. The Jackets also earned an at-large selection to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament, extending a school record for most consecutive appearances.
NEED A NAME TAG
When Georgia Tech arrives in Columbus for the NCAA Tournament, they may need a name tag for their opponents. Of the three other squads in Columbus – Bowling Green, Ohio State and UCF – the Yellow Jackets have only face UCF previously. Tech owns a 2-0 record against the Knights. Head Coach MaChelle Joseph was an assistant at Tech for the first game, a 62-58 Jacket win in Orlando on Dec. 15, 2002, and was the head coach for the return game, a 70-48 Tech victory on Dec. 14, 2003, in Atlanta.
The committee certainly did not do Georgia Tech any favors with a possible second round match-up with Ohio State on their home floor. However, Georgia Tech owns a .500 record (1-1) while playing a road game in the NCAA Tournament as opposed to just a .167 win percentage on neutral floors.
While the Jackets have never played in Columbus before, five of their seven NCAA Tournament sites have been in Big Ten cities. The only two times Tech did not play at a Big Ten site, they played on a neutral floor hosted by the Big 12’s Iowa State and at Oklahoma, also of the Big 12. The Jackets are 2-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament in sites hosted by Big Ten schools.
BEEN THERE BEFORE
Of the 15 players on Georgia Tech’s roster, eight have NCAA Tournament experience: Seniors Alex Montgomery and Deja Foster; Juniors Mo Bennett, Metra Walthour, LaQuananisha Adams, Chelsea Regins and Sasha Goodlett, and sophomore Jasmine Blain. Goodlett has been the most productive Jacket in postseason play, averaging 10.7 ppg and 9.0 rpg, while Foster has added 10.3 ppg in tournament play.
The schedule Joseph put together for this year was designed to challenge her team and prepare them for March. When the bracket was announced, it featured 11 teams the Jackets have faced already. Only two of those 11 teams were seeded lower than a six, Prairie View A&M, which won its conference tournament and Middle Tennessee State. The Yellow Jackets posted a 6-9 mark against the 11 2011 NCAA Tournament teams it has faced.