Feb. 12, 2015
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team’s (14-11, 4-7 ACC) second-half comeback fell short against NC State (14-10, 5-6 ACC) as it lost, 65-64, on Thursday night at McCamish Pavilion.
“Obviously it’s a tough, disappointing loss,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “I thought we lost it on the defensive end. I didn’t think that we came to play for 40 minutes. In this league, anybody can beat anybody. If you don’t come to play, you’re in for a long night. I’m really disappointed in our effort on both ends of the floor.”
The Yellow Jackets had three players record double-doubles against the Wolfpack and Tech dominated the glass, outrebounding their opponent 53-36. Freshman Zaire O’Neil, sophomore Katarina Vuckovic and junior Roddreka Rogers all recorded double-doubles in the loss.
O’Neil tied the team-high in points with 17 while grabbing 11 rebounds. In 35 minutes of action, O’Neil recorded a career-high six blocks. This was her second straight-game with at least five blocks for she tallied five blocks in the Jackets most recent game against Syracuse. This was O’Neil’s fourth double-double of the season.
Sophomore Kaela Davis also had a team-high 17 points and recorded one steal.
Vuckovic notched her first double-double of her career, tying the team lead in rebounds with 12 and scoring 11 points. Rogers also pulled down 12 boards, dished out three assists and scored 12 points. This was Rogers’ seventh double-double of the season (a team-high) and the 12th of her career.
NC State would go ahead by as much as 12 in the second half, 44-32 at 14:33, but a 7-0 run would cut the Jackets’ deficit to just five 1:35 later. The Wolfpack pulled ahead by 10 points again but Tech slowly began to close the gap, outscoring NC State 6-3 from 6:30 to 4:46 to come within four points, 57-53, of the Wolfpacks’ lead.
NC State hit a jumper on the ensuing possession but a 3-pointer from Vuckovic and a free throw from Davis put Tech within two of NC State, 59-57, with 3:52 on the clock.
O’Neil came up huge with a three point play with just 2:42 remaining to tie the game at 60-60. The Yellow Jackets then retook the lead for the first time since 7:47 in the first half after a smooth jump shot from Davis at 1:46. After another tie at 62-62, Aaliyah Whiteside sank two free throws to give Tech the advantage once more. NC State scored on their next possession and it was 64-64 with 38 seconds left.
After a Yellow Jacket turnover, the Wolfpack had the ball with 28 seconds to go. As Len’Nique Brown-Hoskin went for the game-winning basket with 1.8 seconds left, freshman Imani Tilford was called for a foul and Brown-Hoskin made her first free throw to give the Wolfpack the 65-64 lead. The Jackets’ last-second shot by Whiteside went slightly right, and NC State won by one, 65-64.
In the first half, the Yellow Jackets led from the opening possession, thanks to two straight layups from O’Neil and Rogers, until Dominique Wilson’s 3-pointer gave the Wolfpack their first lead of the night, 11-10, at 14:55.
The Jackets did not let NC State hold onto the lead for long, 18 seconds to be exact, as a quick jumper from Davis put the Jackets back on top. Tech held onto the lead until a 10-0 Wolfpack run made the score, 27-22, in favor of the visitors at 3:19.
Davis would break a 7:22 Jacket scoring drought with a jumper at 2:13 and that would be the final basket for either team as Tech headed into the locker room at halftime down, 27-24.
O’Neil started the second half off the same way she started off the beginning of the game, with a layup, but the Wolfpack responded with a seven unanswered points to go ahead, 34-26. NC State would take its largest lead of the night by 12 points, 44-32, at 14:33 but the Jackets would rally to tie up the score 60-60 with 2:42 left. The Yellow Jackets come back fell short because of a late foul and NC State prevailed, 65-64.
Next up, the Yellow Jackets travel to Miami on Sunday at 3 p.m. for a matchup on RSN/ESPN3.