Feb. 8, 2015
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (14-20, 4-6 ACC) fell short to #25/25 Syracuse (17-7, 7-4 ACC), 65-60, at McCamish Pavilion on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m really proud of this team for battling back,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “It’s disappointing to lose to another top 25 team. It’s one of those things where our freshmen and sophomores are getting tremendous experience.”
Three Yellow Jackets scored in double figures, with sophomore Kaela Davis leading the way with 18 points. Davis hit double-figures for the 23rd time this season, scoring 10 of her 18 total points in the first half. She has scored in double-figures in every game besides one this season and has led the Jackets in scoring in 16 games this year. Davis also tied the team-high in rebounds, pulling down nine boards.
Junior Aaliyah Whiteside scored in double-figures for the 16th time this season and the 10th time in the past 11 games, contributing 17 points, two assists and one block. Whiteside shot 11-for-12 from the free throw line against the Orange. She also grabbed six rebounds.
Freshman Zaire O’Neil had a career-high five blocks against Syracuse marking the second time this season a Jacket has recorded five blocks in a game. O’Neil scored 10 points against Syracuse and recorded six rebounds.
Junior Roddreka Rogers grabbed nine rebounds, including six on the offensive end, and scored six points. The Yellow Jackets won the rebounding battle for the 17th time this season, edging the Orange, 41-40, on the glass.
After the Orange used an 8-0 run at 13:22 in the second half to go ahead, 50-35, the Yellow Jackets couldn’t get closer than 10 points to the Orange’s lead. That was until two free throws from Whiteside and a layup from O’Neil brought Tech within eight points, 60-52 with 1:38 on the clock.
The Orange would go 3-for-4 from the foul line over the next 30 seconds but the Jackets responded with an on-point 3-pointer from Davis and another layup from O’Neil to come within six of Syracuse, 63-57, with 21 seconds on the clock. The Orange tacked on two more made shots from the charity stripe and Davis sank a 3-point shot at the buzzer, but the Jackets’ comeback fell short to Syracuse, 65-60.
Syracuse jumped to an early 12-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game, but O’Neil was a strong force on defense, recording four blocks in the first 4:10 of the frame.
The Jackets were held without a field goal for 3:45 until Rogers grabbed an offensive board and put it back to kick off a 5-0 run for the Jackets that cut their deficit to just four points 12-8, at 13:09. Davis had the first 10 of the Jackets’ 12 points as Tech trailed 19-12 halfway through the first half.
The Orange utilized three made 3-pointers on an 11-3 run to jump ahead by double-figures, 30-17, with 5:14 on the clock in the first half. The Yellow Jackets came alive with 3:27 left in the half, putting together an 11-2 run to erase a 14 point deficit and go into half time down just five, 35-30.
The Orange opened up the second half outscoring the Jackets 7-2 until a 3-pointer from sophomore Katarina Vuckovic pulled the Jackets within seven of Syracuse’s 42-35 lead with 14:53 on the clock.
The Orange would pull ahead by 13, 53-40, but a three-point play from Whiteside would bring the Jackets within 10. Five straight points from the Yellow Jackets brought Tech within 10 again, 58-48, at 5:53. The Yellow Jackets wouldn’t close the gap until 1:38 on the clock when Georgia Tech outscored their opponent, 10-5, but the Jackets bid for an upset fell short.
The Yellow Jackets wrap up a four-game homestand on Thursday when they host NC State at 7 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion on ESPN3.