Nov. 13, 2015
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (1-0) held off Loyola Chicago (0-1) for a season-opening 84-77 victory at McCamish Pavilion on Friday night.
“I think that our younger players need to understand time and score situations,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “We are playing so many freshmen and sophomores we can’t use that as an excuse. We’ve got to learn from these situations and we’ve got to get better. The next time out we need to correct these mistakes.”
How it Happened
Loyola Chicago jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first period at the 6:49 mark before the Jackets went on a 6-2 run to pull within one of the visitors, 9-8. Senior Aaliyah Whiteside provided a spark for the Jackets, putting together an 8-0 run with fellow senior Roddreka Rogers over 49 seconds in the final minute of the first period. The run gave the Yellow Jackets a 21-16 lead following the first frame and Whiteside scored seven of the eight points in three different ways – two free throws, one 3-pointer and one layup.
The Yellow Jackets also used the waning minutes of the second period to extend their lead, going on an 8-0 run to take a 46-30 advantage into halftime. Tech continued that run in the beginning of the third period, outscoring the Ramblers 14-0 to go ahead 22 points, 52-30, two minutes into the second half.
The Yellow Jackets kept at least a double-digit lead for the rest of the game until Loyola came charging back in the fourth quarter, cutting their deficient to just four points with 1:42 left at 79-73. Two free throws from Whiteside and a 3-pointer from junior Katarina Vuckovic held the Ramblers off and cemented Tech’s 84-77 victory.
Aaliyah Whiteside led a game-changing run in the first period, scoring seven points in 35 seconds in the final minute of the frame. Whiteside hit double-figures before halftime, scoring 18 points in the first half. Whiteside finished with team highs in points, 22, and rebounds, eight. It was the eighth time in the Memphis, Tenn., native’s career that she has scored at least 20 points. She also dished out three assists.
The Yellow Jackets had quite a block party, tallying eight blocks against the Ramblers. Both Vuckovic and sophomore Simina Avram had three blocks apiece. Sophomore Imani Tilford led the team in steals with four while two other Yellow Jackets joined Whiteside in scoring in double-figures – Vuckovic with 14 and sophomore Antonia Peresson with 13. The Yellow Jackets held the advantage on the boards, outrebounding the Ramblers 49-33.
- With the win, Georgia Tech is now 31-11 on opening day
- Coach Joseph is 12-1 in season openers and 9-1 when opening up at home
- This was the second-straight season that the Yellow Jackets opened up the season against Loyola Chicago. The Jackets won last year, 92-57, in Chicago
- Three Yellow Jackets scored their first career points tonight – freshman Martine Fortune (2), freshman Ciani Cryor (9) and freshman Chelsea Guimarares (2)
- Whiteside scored in double-digits for the 45th time in her career with 22 points . It was the eighth time in her career that she has scored at least 20 points.
- It was the 12th time in Whiteside’s career that she has led the team in scoring and the 12th time that she has led the team in rebounding.
- Simina Avram scored a career-best nine points and had a career-high seven rebounds. She also added three blocks and registered her first career start in tonight’s game.
The Yellow Jackets continue play at home, hosting St. Francis Brooklyn on Sunday at 2 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion. Sundays are Kids Days and all children 18 and under receive free admission.