Dec. 21, 2004
ATLANTA – Stephanie Higgs and Chioma Nnamaka each posted career highs in scoring while leading Georgia Tech (6-2) to a 64-52 win over visiting Samford Tuesday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. With the win, the Yellow Jackets halted a two-game losing skid while ending the Bulldogs’ three-game win streak.
“I was just really proud of the way that our players responded (to the road losses),” said Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph. “I don’t think there is any doubt today that when the going got tough, we got tougher, and on the road we didn’t show that kind of perseverance at Tulsa, but at St. John’s we did. I thought we learned a lot from those two games and today was a great win for our team.”
Higgs shattered her previous career high of 19 points with 30 against Samford, which is the most by a Yellow Jacket since Fallon Stokes had 34 against North Carolina on January 2, 2003. She made 11-of-18 field goals and went 7-for-9 at the free throw line while dishing out a team-high four assists and recording four rebounds and three steals in the first start of her collegiate career.
“For Stephanie to come out and get 30 points in her first start showed that she was definitely ready to play,” said Joseph. “We’ve talked to the players about being ready to play and taking advantage of every opportunity and Stephanie did that today.”
Nnamaka converted on 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-6 from the three-point arc while making a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe for her season- and career-high of 21 points. She was also one of three Tech players with a team-high of five rebounds and had three steals and two assists in 31 minutes of play. The freshman from Uppsala, Sweden has started all eight games of the season for the Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets shot a season-high 44.9 percent from the field and converted on 16-of-18 from the free throw line, for another season-high of 88.9 percent from the charity stripe. Tech outrebounded the Bulldogs, 28-26 while turning the ball over five less times than Samford. The Jackets also recorded seven steals and dished out nine assists while blocking three shots in the contest.
Tech took a 32-29 lead into the locker room at the half, aided by 14 points from Higgs and nine by Nnamaka, but outscored the Bulldogs 32-23 in the second frame of the game. After the Bulldogs pulled to within one point at 12:05 in the second half, the Jackets went on a 18-8 run over the next nine minutes to put the game away for good. During the run, Higgs accounted for nine of the Yellow Jackets’ points while Nnamaka scored seven.
The Yellow Jackets will take the Christmas holiday off before returning to campus to host Mississippi Valley State, Alcorn State and South Carolina State in the annual Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott NW Holiday Invitational, which will be held Dec. 30-31 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech will play at 1 p.m. Thursday against MVSU and will play one of the other two teams the following day.