Oct. 21, 2015
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Head coach MaChelle Joseph and seniors Roddreka Rogers and Aaliyah Whiteside represented the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team at ACC Media Day in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
The preseason polls and preseason ACC teams were announced at media day which was held at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center. The Yellow Jackets were picked in both the Blue Ribbon Panel preseason poll and the head coach’s preseason poll to finish 11th.
“We are really excited about this season,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “For the first time in three years I feel like our core values are intact and our culture is very strong. I have to give credit to these two young ladies sitting beside me [Aaliyah Whiteside and Roddreka Rogers]. Last year we virtually played the season with no seniors because Sydney Wallace got injured before the ACC season. Aaliyah and Roddreka are actually seniors two years in a row. We always say, you are always as good as your seniors. If that’s the case, then I think we can be very competitive and surprise a lot of people night in and night out in the ACC.”
The Yellow Jacket trio began the day with a press conference that included local and national media. Throughout the rest of the day, Joseph, Rogers and Whiteside filmed interviews with Fox Sports, Raycom and analyst Debbie Antonelli.
The tables were turned when the Jackets visited the ACC Digital Network — Rogers and Whiteside had the chance to interview Joseph. Stay tuned for the full video of their interview. The Jackets also participated in a social media takeover with ACC women’s basketball.
“What Roddreka and Aaliyah have done is really bring in all of our young players — we have 10 freshmen and sophomores,” Joseph said. “They have really laid the foundation and set an example for them on what a great teammate is.”
As the two seniors on this year’s squad, both Rogers and Whiteside are expected to have impactful seasons. Rogers averaged 9.9 rebounds per game, 3.8 offensive rebounds per game and 6.0 defensive rebounds per game, which all led the Jackets last season. Rogers pulled down a team-high 335 rebounds in 2014-15, which is first on Georgia Tech’s list for most rebounds by a junior. Rogers had 12 double-doubles last season, with eight coming against conference opponents and her 17 career double-doubles ranked sixth among active players in the ACC last season. She has led the Jackets in rebounding in 22 games and had 17 games in double-figure rebounding. She has grabbed at least 13 boards in four out of the last eight games.
“My takeaway from being a Georgia Tech is to work hard,” Rogers said. “We are a blue collar team. We don’t take no for an answer. We are always fighting for the last ball and we don’t stop. That’s the biggest thing I take away is to never give up on anything.”
In her junior campaign, Whiteside averaged 13.3 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game. She scored at least 20 points in five games and recorded four double-doubles. Whiteside averaged 14.4 points per game in ACC play and 6.5 boards per game, which were both second on the Jackets. She led the Jackets in assists per game with 2.2 per game and scored in double-figures in 16 of the past 24 games and 24 games this season. She had four double-doubles last season. Whiteside led the Yellow Jackets in free throw percentage last season, going 83.2 percent (139-167) from the charity stripe. Her 139 made free throws last season ranks fourth on the individual season record for most free throws made in Georgia Tech history and her 78.8 career free throw percentage is fourth in GT’s record book.
“Now that I’m a senior I know that I will be graduating soon and there is a sense of urgency,” Whiteside said. “You have to really value what you have. You’re only here for four years and they go quick so you have to value what you have and work hard every day.”
Both Rogers and Whiteside are also entering the season in position to hit career milestones. Whiteside is set up to become the 29th Yellow Jacket to score 1,000 career points. The Memphis, Tenn., native currently has 936 career points. Fellow senior Rogers is on pace to crack into the top 10 of Georgia Tech’s all-time leading rebounder. Rogers has accumulated 709 boards in her three seasons so far. She needs just 52 rebounds to surpass for 10th place on Georgia Tech’s career list. In order to become GT’s all-time leading rebounder, Rogers needs 331 boards this season. She tallied 335 in her junior year.
The Yellow Jackets start the 2015-16 season off by hosting West Georgia in an exhibition game on Monday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. For an inside look at the program, follow Georgia Tech women’s basketball on Twitter, @GTWBB, Instagram, GTWBB, and like the Yellow Jackets on Facebook, GTWomensBasketball.