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Georgia Tech Women Travel To Wake Forest

Georgia Tech at Wake Forest
Thursday, January 25, 2001

The Opening Tip
Georgia Tech (10-7, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., for a game against Wake Forest (10-8, 2-5 ACC) at the Coliseum Annex on Thursday. It is the first game the Deacs will play in the gym this year. The game concludes the first half of the conference seson for both the Yellow Jackets and Demon Deacons. Both teams enter the contest with a 2-5 conference record and are tied for seventh in the conference standings, along with 22nd-ranked North Carolina State. Wake defeated Coastal Carolina, 77-59, on Monday night and has won two of its last three games.

From the Locker Room
Four Yellow Jackets are averaging in double figures in scoring, led by sophomore Niesha Butler’s 17.4 points per game. Butler scored a season-high 25 points at UNC on Jan. 2 and has led Tech in scoring in eight games this season. Butler has scored 18 or more points in the last four contests and five of the last six games. Junior Milli Martinez is second on the squad with 12.9 points per game, first with 7.9 rebounds per game and tied for the team lead with 34 steals. Martinez is leading the team with an .872 mark from the free throw line and is shooting 42.5 percent from the field, ranking her ninth in the conference. Sophomore Sonja Mallory captured Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott NW Holiday Invitational MVP honors Dec. 29-30 after averaging 23 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games. She is averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest. Senior Jaime Kruppa, last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, is averaging 12.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against fifth-ranked Duke on Jan. 11. In the last four games she has averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Sophomore Nina Brlin has started all but one game at point guard during her career and has a 5.4 scoring average and 3.2 rebounding average. She is second on the team with 50 assists. Sophomore Alex Stewart, the first player off the Tech bench, leads the team with 55 assists and is tied for the team lead with 34 steals. She posted her first career double-double against Virginia with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds on Jan. 7. Stewart is averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest and has scored 10.8 points per game in the last five games. Sophomore Tamika Boatner is averaging 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Scouting the Demon Deacons
Wake Forest is 10-8 overall and 2-5 in the ACC. In conference play, the Demon Deacons have defeated North Carolina (73-71) and Florida State (79-69) and are 2-1 at home. Senior Kristen Shaffer and freshman Eafton Hill lead Wake with 10.6 points per game and senior Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick has scored 10.3 points per contest. Hill (5.9 rpg) and Kirkpatrick (5.7 rpg) lead the Deacs in rebounding. Junior Val Klopfer leads the squad with 47 assists. Head coach Charlene Curtis is 29-72 in four years as head coach at Wake Forest.

The Series with Wake Forest
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series with Wake Forest, 23-17, and has won nine of the last 10 meetings. Last year the Yellow Jackets defeated the Demon Deacons 73-62 in Winston-Salem and 60-54 in Atlanta. Although Tech has tasted some success in this series, the Deacons hold a 13-6 advantage in Winston-Salem.

Head Coach Agnus Berenato
In her 13th season as head coach at Georgia Tech, Agnus Berenato owns a 184-176 (.511) record. Under Berenato’s guidance, the Yellow Jackets have advanced to the NCAA Tournament once and the WNIT twice, including last year. Berenato was named the 2000 GAHPERD College Coach of the Year and was named to ‘Who’s Who in America’ by Marquis Who’s Who in 1999. Berenato was named the 1992 State of Georgia Division I Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-off Club after leading the Yellow Jackets to the NWIT title. A 1980 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s, Berenato received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from her alma mater in 1995. She also became the first alumnus to return to her school as a commencement speaker. Berenato became Georgia Tech’s head coach in 1988 after spending two years as an assistant coach of the Jackets.

The Last Time Out
The Maryland Terrapins out-battled the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, coming from behind to defeat Tech, 66-62, Jan. 21 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Georgia Tech outscored Maryland 16-5 to close the first half with a 34-22 lead. But Maryland fought back in the second half and claimed its first lead in 36 minutes with 3:19 remaining on a Kiki Wimbush jumper. Over the last seven minutes of the game, Maryland outscored the Yellow Jackets 17-6 to earn the victory. Georgia Tech shot just 11-for-23 (48 percent) from the free throw line in the game. Sophomore Niesha Butler scored a team-high 18 points, but made just four of nine free throw attempts. Senior Jaime Kruppa scored 14 points and recorded eight rebounds, but scored just four points in the second half and was one of four from the charity stripe. Junior Deedee Warley led Maryland with 20 points and was eight-of-eight at the free throw line. Sophomore Renneika Razor scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Wimbush contributed nine points and nine assists.

The Magic Number: 70
Georgia Tech’s magic number during the 2000-01 season has been 70. The Yellow Jackets are 10-1 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 0-6 when scoring fewer than 70 points.

Super Sophomores Show Strength
The Georgia Tech sophomore class is the foundation of the Yellow Jacket squad this season. The Yellow Jacket quintet is accounting for 61 percent of the team’s scoring, 65 percent of the assists and 60 percent of the minutes played. Sophomore Niesha Butler leads the team in scoring (17.4 ppg); sophomore Alex Stewart leads the squad in assists (55), just ahead of classmate Nina Brlin (50). Sophomore Sonja Mallory leads the Yellow Jackets in blocked shots (18). All five sophomores — Butler, Stewart, Brlin, Mallory and Tamika Boatner — have started at least three games and averaged at least 21 minutes of action per contest.

Tech Atop ACC in Rebounding Margin
With a plus-7.1 rebounding margin, Georgia Tech ranks first in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets have out-rebounded opponents in 12 of 17 games this year, and are 9-3 in those contests. The Ramblin’ Wreck has twice set school records for rebounding margin this season. The Yellow Jackets established a new school record with a plus-33 rebounding margin at Wagner on Dec. 19. Then 10 days later Tech out-rebounded St. Francis (Pa.), 60-24.

Butler On Pace to Reach 1,000 Points
Redshirt sophomore Niesha Butler has scored 295 points this season, keeping her on track to join the 1,000 Point Club this year. Butler has 869 career points and could become just the third player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in her second full season. Butler, who is averaging 17.4 points per game, needs to average 13.1 points per contest during the final 10 games of the regular season to reach 1,000 points.

Kruppa Comes Up Big in ‘Big’ Games
Jaime Kruppa scored a career-high 28 points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to lead Georgia Tech against fifth-ranked Duke on Jan. 11. In two games against top-five teams this season, Kruppa is averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots. She has scored 74 points in her last four games.

Butler Extends Double Figures Scoring Streak
Sophomore Niesha Butler scored a team-high 18 points against Maryland on Sunday, the eighth time this season she has led the Yellow Jackets in scoring. Butler, who leads Tech and is fourth in the ACC with 17.4 points per game, has scored in double figures in every contest this season. During her career at Tech, Butler has scored in double figures in 45 of her 48 games. The last game in which Butler did not score in double figures was against NC State on Nov. 30, 1999, when she tore her ACL just three minutes into the contest.

Mallory Takes Advantage of Charity
Sophomore Sonja Mallory entered the season with a 44 percent average (20-44) from the free throw line, and she began the season much as she left off. Through her first six games of the year, Mallory shot just 43 percent (12-28) from the charity stripe. Since then, however, it has been a different story. Starting with a 3-for-4 effort from the line against St. Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 29, Mallory has shot 79 percent (22-28) from the free throw line during the last eight games.

Martinez Keeps Jackets Buzzing
Junior Milli Martinez, the only Tech player to start in every contest this season, has been a reliable fixture in the Yellow Jacket lineup. Martinez leads the team in rebounds (7.9 rpg) and free throw percentage (.872), is tied for the team lead in steals (34), second in scoring (12.9 ppg) and third in assists (48). She has scored in double figures in 13 of Tech’s 17 games. Martinez has posted four double-doubles, led Tech in rebounding seven times and assists five times. She scored 20 points against Duke on Jan. 11, the third time this season she has reached that mark. On Jan. 2 against North Carolina, Martinez tied her season high with 21 points and equaled her career high with seven assists. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and had just one turnover as she helped lead the Yellow Jackets to their first victory in Chapel Hill since 1991.

Stewart Sparks Tech
Sophomore Alex Stewart, Tech’s first player off the bench, has provided a spark for the Yellow Jackets this season. She leads the Yellow Jackets with 55 assists and is tied for the team lead with 34 steals. Stewart is averaging 7.7 points per game and is the Ramblin’ Wreck’s best player at penetrating opposing defenses. Stewart is shooting .861 from the free throw line and has not missed from the charity stripe since Jan. 2. She is eighth in the ACC with a 1.31 assist/turnover ratio, eighth in assists (3.24 pg) and tied for eighth in steals (2.00). Although she generally does not start (she has three starts this season), Stewart has played more minutes than all but three players on the team. A team captain and Tech’s representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, Stewart led the Yellow Jackets to victory over Virginia Jan. 7 with her first career double-double. The 5-5 guard scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds. She made the Jackets’ final field goal of the game on a layup with 2:40 remaining and sank two free throws with seven seconds left in the game to secure the victory.

Yellow Jackets Among ACC Leaders
The Yellow Jackets are well-represented on the ACC Leader Board. Niesha Butler is fourth in the conference with 17.4 points per game and fifth with a .742 free throw percentage. Milli Martinez just misses the minimum qualifying standards, but her .872 mark from the free throw line would rank her atop the conference. She is fifth with 7.9 rebounds per game and leads the conference with 3.76 offensive rebounds per contest. Her 4.12 defensive rebounds per game rank her eighth in the ACC. Martinez is tied for eighth with 2.00 steals per game and ninth with a .425 field goal percentage. Jaime Kruppa ranks sixth in the conference with 7.2 rebounds per game and is seventh with a .730 free throw percentage. Alex Stewart is eightth in assist/turnover ratio (1.31) and assists (3.24 per game) and tied for eighth in assists with 2.00 steals per contest. Nina Brlin is 10th in assist/turnover ratio (1.16) and assists (3.1 per game). Sonja Mallory ranks second in the ACC with 1.29 blocked shots per game and 10th with 2.43 offensive rebounds per game. Tamika Boatner is just ahead of her, in ninth in the ACC, with 2.62 offensive rebounds per game. As a team, Georgia Tech leads the ACC with a plus-7.1 rebounding margin. Tech is second in the ACC in rebounding offense (42.4 pg) and offensive rebounds (17.35 pg), third in rebounding defense (T, 35.3), free throw percentage (.699) and scoring offense (75.2 ppg).

Butler Named ACC Player of the Week
After leading Georgia Tech to victories over North Carolina and Virginia, Niesha Butler was named the ACC’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Week on Jan. 8 by conference media. Butler, a 5-8 guard who garnered seven ACC Rookie of the Week awards as a freshman in 1998-99, is the first Georgia Tech player to be named ACC Player of the Week since Kenya Williams on Nov. 23, 1998. Butler averaged 19.3 points per game as the Yellow Jackets faced league foes North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia and finished 2-1 on the week. The New York, N.Y., native finished the week 25-52 from the floor (.442), including 4-9 from behind the three-point arc, and 8-11 from the free throw line. She scored a game-high 25 points in Georgia Tech’s 82-75 victory over UNC, the first win for Tech in Carmichael Auditorium since 1991. In the Jackets’ victory over No. 25 Virginia, Butler tallied 22 points to lead Georgia Tech to its first victory over the Cavaliers since 1997. Butler has scored in double figures in every game this season and has reached the 20-point mark seven times, including in three of the last five games.

Tech Knocks Off Tar Heels, Cavaliers
Georgia Tech knocked off North Carolina and Virginia Jan. 2 and Jan. 7, the first time the Yellow Jackets have defeated the Tar Heels and the Cavaliers in the same year since 1988-89, head coach Agnus Berenato’s first year at the helm of the program. Tech defeated North Carolina 82-75 on Jan. 2, the Ramblin’ Wreck’s first win in Chapel Hill since 1991. Then just five days later, Tech handed No. 25 Virginia its first conference loss of the season, 70-65.

Jackets Set Season Low with 12 Turnovers against FSU
The Yellow Jackets set a season low with just 12 turnovers against Florida State on Jan. 5. The last time Tech committed fewer than 12 turnovers was March 5, 2000, against Duke.

Dishin’ the Rock
The Yellow Jackets, led by Milli Martinez’ seven assists, recorded a season-high 22 assists against North Carolina on Jan. 2. The last time Tech recorded at least 22 assists in a game was on Dec. 29, 1999, when the Jackets had 23 assists against Western Michigan.

Mallory Earns MVP Honors With Career Tournament
Sophomore Sonja Mallory claimed MVP honors at the Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational Dec. 30 after averaging 23 points and 8.5 rebounds per game against St. Francis (Pa.) and Fresno State. She scored a career-high 21 points against the Red Flash on Dec. 29 and then bettered that mark with a 25 points against the Bulldogs on Dec. 30, making 11 of her 13 free throw attempts against Fresno State. Mallory joins sophomore Tamika Boatner as Tech centers to earn tournament MVP honors this season.

Four Yellow Jackets Earn All-Tournament Honors at Holiday Inv.
Sonja Mallory earned MVP honors at the Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Jaime Kruppa, Milli Martinez and Niesha Butler. Lindsay Logan of Fresno State and Carla Chesick of St. Francis (Pa.) also were named to the all-tournament team.

Tech Totals 18 Steals Against Georgia State
Georgia Tech tallied 18 steals against Georgia State on Nov. 29. Every player who saw action grabbed at least one steal, and Jaime Kruppa, Niesha Butler and Milli Martinez had four apiece. The 18 steals were the most by the Yellow Jackets since Nov. 23, 1999, when Tech stole 24 from Georgia State.

Boatner Claims MVP Honors
Sophomore Tamika Boatner was named Most Valuable Player of the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Classic after averaging 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. She posted a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds in her first career start on Nov. 24, setting new personal bests in both categories. She then scored 16 points and set a career best with two blocked shots against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 25.

Three Yellow Jackets Named to All-Tournament Team
Junior Milli Martinez and redshirt sophomore Niesha Butler joined Tamika Boatner on the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Classic All-Tournament team Nov. 24-25. Butler scored a game-high 20 points against Cornell and followed that performance with 12 points against Mount St. Mary’s. Martinez posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Mountaineers after recording 11 points and eight rebounds against Cornell.

Butler Named Pre-Season Player-of-Year Candidate
For the second-straight year, Tech guard Niesha Butler was selected as one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith Player of the Year Award by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. Butler earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 after leading the Jackets with 19.3 points per game and 120 assists. She tore her ACL on Nov. 30 last year and received a medical redshirt.

Butler Tabbed Preseason First Team All-ACC
Niesha Butler was named to the preseason All-ACC team by the media at the ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day in October. She joins North Carolina senior LaQuanda Barksdale, Virginia sophomore Schuye LaRue, Duke senior Georgia Schweitzer and Virginia senior Svetlana Volnaya on the team.

Yellow Jackets Picked Sixth in ACC Preseason Poll
Georgia Tech was picked to finish sixth in the ACC by the conference’s media at the ACC Media Day in Greensboro, N.C., in October. Duke is the preseason favorite, followed by Virginia, North Carolina State, North Carolina and Clemson. Maryland, Florida State and Wake Forest were picked to finish seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.

Brlin Selected One of Atlanta’s Most Beautiful People
Tech guard Nina Brlin was chosen as one of Atlanta’s 50 Most Beautiful People by Jezebel Magazine. She was featured in the November issue, along with celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Kenny Rogers, Michael Stipe, Dikembe Mutombo and Miss Georgia Patti Dunn.

Yellow Jackets Select Team Captains
The Yellow Jacket players selected team captains for the 2000-01 season. Leading the squad as captains are: senior Jaime Kruppa, sophomore Alex Stewart and sophomore Niesha Butler.

Georgia Tech Lands One in Early Signing Period
Georgia Tech signed center Eva Kadlecova to a national letter of intent in the early signing period. Kadlecova, a 6-4 post player from the Czech Republic, averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game as a freshman at Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y., last season. She was named to the All-Region first team and All-Tournament Team after helping lead her squad to the regionals last year.

Injury Report
Senior F Regina Tate had surgery on Jan. 19 to repair a severe stress fracture in her left shin and will redshirt this season. Tate scored 6.7 points per game last season and was second on the squad with 6.8 rebounds per contest.

On Deck: Jan. 30 vs. Charleston Southern
Georgia Tech steps out of conference play for a game against Charleston Southern on Tuesday. The Buccaneers are 9-8 overall and have won three of their last four games. Sophomore forward Erin Dedlikowski leads Charleston Southern with 13.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

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