Georgia Tech Women Return Home to Host No. 9/7 Maryland

Feb. 18, 2009

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ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team will face its second straight top-10 opponent when it returns home Thursday to host No. 9/7 Maryland (21-4, 8-2 ACC). Tipoff at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is slated for 7 p.m.

The game will be televised live on ESPNU. Beth Mowins ansd Sandy Sharp have the call. Fans can listen to Richard Musterer and Kurt Hoyt call the play-by-play on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org), Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station, as well as XM Radio (Channel 192).

The Yellow Jackets (18-7, 5-5), who dropped a tough 73-50 decision on the road to North Carolina Sunday, are 12-1 at home this season and 2-0 against opponents ranked in the top 25. Alex Montgomery leads the team with 12.8 points a game, while averaging a team-leading 7.0 rebounds.

The Terrapins, who are riding a five-game win streak, have had a tough time on the road this season. Maryland is 7-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play away from College Park, Md. Kristi Toliver is the team’s leading scorer with 17.5 points a game. Demauria Liles is averaging 9.0 rebounds a contest.

Maryland leads the all-time series, 40-17, but the Jackets have won four of the last five meetings in Atlanta.

The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team in conjunction with The Wreckin’ Crew, the team’s booster organization, will host the fifth-annual Women Out Front celebration at halftime of this game. The team will recognize 11 extraordinary women.

TECH VS. MARYLAND
• Maryland leads the all-time series, 40-17.
• Tech has won four of the last five meetings in Atlanta.
• The winner of the last four out of five games has won by eight points or less.

NEXT UP: CLEMSON
The Yellow Jackets will travel north on I-85 to face Clemson Sunday in LittleJohn Coliseum at 2p.m. The game will be televised on the Fox Sports South in Atlanta. Tech has set up a bus trip for fans to come root on the Yellow Jackets. Information is available at RamblinWreck.com.

LOOKING BACK: GEORGIA TECH FALLS TO NO. 8 NORTH CAROLINA, 73-50
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -Cetera DeGraffenreid played much better the second time around and so did her team.

DeGraffenreid scored a career-high 22 points and ignited a 17-2 run to start the second half, helping No. 8 North Carolina defeat Georgia Tech 73-50 on Sunday.

DeGraffenreid also had eight assists for the Tar Heels (22-4, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who lost at Georgia Tech 66-62 on Jan. 22 in a game in which DeGraffenreid scored a season-low two points on 1-of-10 shooting.

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 102-73 (.583) 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.

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 64 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 90 steals and has 351 on her career. She now ranked seventh all-time in the ACC after passing former North Carolina standout Marion Jones. She currently leads the ACC and ranks fifth 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 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 11.4 points per contest and has scored in double-figures in 17 of Tech’s 25 games. She also leads the team with 85 assists on the year and has grabbed 3.1 rebounds a game.

SENIOR CLASS PILING UP WINS
Georgia Tech’s 2008-09 senior class of Tabitha Turner and Jacqua Williams have been a part of 75 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 61 wins and should move into the top five by the time the two are seniors.

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 12.8 points and has grabbed 6.9 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 55 trey’s this season and 87 for her career, moving her into seventh-place on the Georgia Tech all-time three-pointers made list. She is also shooting 33 percent from beyond-the-arc.

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 10.6 points and is registering 4.9 rebounds a game. She recorded her first career double-double against Georgia State (21 pts, 11 reb.) on Nov. 26, 2008. Hemingway has also shown a knack for getting to the free-throw line, with 103 attempts so far and is shooting 63 percent from the charity stripe.

GOODLETT IS GOOD
During the preseason, 6-5 Sasha Goodlett made a “big” impression on the coaching staff and has added a new dimension to the Yellow Jackets lineup. Joseph called her 2007-08 squad “the best 6-0 and under team in the country” and Goodlett has not dissapointed. She has become the true center the Yellow Jackets have been missing. Along with Goodlett, Tech now lists five players at 6-2 or taller. She has started 23 of the Jackets 25 games and has scored in double-figures in five straight ACC games including a career-best 20 points vs. NC State. Her performance during the ACC portion of the schedule has made her an ACC All-Freshmen Team candidate.

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 25.3 minutes and has started seven games this season, including the last three games.

Foster is scoring 8.0 points a game and is averaging 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Against Michigan State, she sparked Tech in the final five minutes with her first career three-pointer and back-to-back three-point plays on her way to a career-high 13 points. She matched her 13-point total in her sixth career start at Savannah State.

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.

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 agains leading the nation by averaging a staggering 14.0 steals a game.

The Yellow Jackets have scored 582 points off of turnovers and are averaging 23.3 points per contest off opponent turnovers.

TECH IN THE RPI
CollegeRPI.com has the Jackets RPI at 28 and rank their strength of schedule at 36. The RealTimeRPI.com have Tech with a 29 RPI and SOS of 35.

TECH VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
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 2-4 this season against ranked opponents.

THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Since Joseph began her tenure, Georgia Tech is 68-21 (.764) 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 12-1 mark so far.

DAMIEN HORNE VISITS AMC
Georgia Tech will have a special guest in the house when it hosts Maryland on Thursday, Feb. 19. Nashville singer/songwriter Damien Horne will travel to Atlanta to cross-promote his music and ACC women’s basketball with the ACC’s first-ever theme song, “She Can Play”, for women’s basketball.

The song “She Can Play”, written and composed by Horne, who was raised in Hickory, North Carolina and is one of twelve children, offers a collection of R&B melodies, catchy pop hooks, and distinctive elements of hip-hop, soul, and rock. An NCCAA Division II player during his college days, Horne’s story, full of challenges in the pursuit of one’s dreams, brings an element of empowerment and inspiration to each of the league’s student-athletes and fans alike.

Horne and the ACC are committed to highlighting the energy, skill and excitement of ACC women’s basketball. The “She Can Play” song and music video will be featured throughout the 2008-09 season and will culminate with a live performance by Horne in March at the 32nd annual ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

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