Nov. 16, 2001
ATLANTA – In a game of runs, the Kansas State Wildcats came up with the final sprint and left Alexander Memorial Coliseum with a 74-70 win over Georgia Tech in the season-opening game for both teams on Friday night. Despite a career-high scoring effort by senior Regina Tate and a solid game from junior Sonja Mallory, the Yellow Jackets (0-1) were unable to overcome the perimeter play of Kansas State (1-0) in the contest.
“I think that there were a couple of tough breaks for us down the stretch tonight,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “Laurie Koehn was great for them, she shot 70 percent from three-point range, and that’s got to be about 92 percent if it’s from two-point range. She rose to the occasion tonight. The loss is really hard to take, but at the same time, I think that you saw a tremendously improved Georgia Tech team tonight.”
In the early stages of the contest, both teams looked to be feeling one another out, as the clubs traded baskets and the Wildcats held an 11-8 lead at the first media timeout. As would be the case for much of the game, KSU freshman Laurie Koehn and sophomore Nicole Ohlde led the way scoring nine of the team’s 11 points in the span.
The Yellow Jackets then made a run of their own and took their first lead of the contest at the 5:11 mark of the first half by a 26-25 score on the strength of seven points from Tate and five more points from sophomore Megan Isom. The game remained tight for the remainder of the first period with Tech opening a three-point advantage at 28-25, before settling for a slim 33-31 lead at the intermission. Tate led all scorers in the first stanza with 11 points, while the Jackets’ Mallory added eight. For K-State, Koehn finished with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from behind the three-point arc in the half.
In the second half, Georgia Tech upped its lead to 35-31 at the start of the period and then the Wildcats regained the lead at 42-41 with 16:49 remaining on a three-pointer by freshman Megan Mahoney. The KSU lead fluctuated between two and six points, with the largest margin coming at 61-55 on another three-pointer by Koehn. The Jackets then made another run and evened the ledger at 66, largely on six points from Tate and five free throws by sophomore Fallon Stokes.
The Wildcats took the lead for good in the game at the 1:16 mark on a three by Koehn that reversed a two-point Tech advantage. Koehn then made four of six free throws down the stretch to ensure the final margin. For the game, Koehn led all scorers with 27 points on 7-for-10 shooting from three-point range and a 6-of-8 performance from the free-throw line. Ohlde was the Wildcats other weapon in the contest as she netted 17 points and recorded three blocks. Kansas State finished the game with an impressive shooting percentage of 51.9 percent overall and 47.1 percent from three-point land.
“I have to give my compliments to Kansas State,” said Berenato. “I thought we did a lot of great things. We had some great play from our role players in Alex (Stewart), Megan (Isom) and Fallon (Stokes). All of them did a nice job, with Alex and Megan helping us in the first half. Fallon was big for us in the second half. Some of our players didn’t have complete games tonight and that’s what hurt us.”
The Jackets out-rebounded KSU by a 41-27 margin, but were only able to get solid production from Tate and Mallory. Tate made her impact felt in her first game back after sitting out last season with an injury, as she scored a team and career-high 23 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, while shooting 11-for-18 from the field. The 11 field goals were also a career high for the senior. Mallory also was strong in the post, as she scored 17 points, grabbed seven boards, while recording a career-high five blocks in the game
Tech will have little time to regroup, as it will travel to Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sunday to face Long Island in another non-conference tilt. Tip-off time for that contest will be at 2 p.m., at the Schwartz Athletic Center. The game will be the first meeting between the two schools.