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Jackets Begin Road Swing at No. 20/21 Maryland

Feb. 2, 2005

ATLANTA – The Jackets travel to College Park, Md. to begin a five-day road trip that includes games against No. 20/21 Maryland and Wake Forest. Tech and the Terps will face off at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Comcast Center, with the game being broadcast on the Georgia Tech student station, WREK 91.1 FM, and online at www.wrek.org. Richard Musterer will call the play-by-play for the broadcast. Livestats for the contest will also be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.

Both teams enter the contest with a 3-4 record in conference games, while Georgia Tech holds an overall mark of 12-6 this season and Maryland stands at 14-5. The Terrapins are currently ranked 20th according to the AP Poll and appear at No. 21 in this week’s ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Following the game against Maryland, the Yellow Jackets will board a plane bound for Greensboro to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at 3 p.m. Sunday.

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Georgia Tech Tidbits

LIVING UP TO THE HYPE: Prior to the season, the Yellow Jackets voted and 50 percent of the squad said that Stephanie Higgs would be the player that would surprise people this season…she’s lived up to that hype through 18 games by standing second on the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and assists (34) and steals (25). She is also averaging 4.3 rebounds per contest.

INTO THE FIRE: Freshmen Jill Ingram and Chioma Nnamaka were thrown into the starting lineup prior to the season opener and have performed well, as they are second and third, respectively, in scoring. Nnamaka has started every game for the Jackets this season while Ingram has been in the starting lineup in all but one contest.

LOVING THE MISS: Jessica Williams is again one of the top rebounders in the league, as she is averaging 7.3 per game while scoring 5.4 points per contest.

LOOKING AT THE BENCH: Just because the starters are out doesn’t mean Tech’s opponents can relax…through the first 18 games of the season, the Jackets’ bench is averaging 18.5 points per game (333 total), while the starters are averaging 41.9 points (754 total).

SUB, PLEASE!: After finishing the 2003-04 season with just five active players averaging more than 15 minutes per game, the Jackets currently have seven players playing more than 15 minutes per contest, with six of those averaging more than 20 minutes per game.

THE JACKETS ON “D”: Through 18 games of the season, Georgia Tech has forced 315 turnovers by its opponents, which have led to 156 Yellow Jackets steals (8.7 per game). In comparison, the Jackets have turned the ball over 27 fewer times, leading to just 114 opponent steals in 18 games (6.3 per game).

IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO THE LINE: The Yellow Jackets have posted a stellar 11-0 record when converting on more free throws than their opponents, including a perfect 3-0 mark against ACC teams. Conversely, when their opponents have made more shots from the charity stripe, Tech is just 1-6, including an 0-4 mark against conference foes. When taking more free throw attempts, Georgia Tech is 11-2 on the season and 3-1 in ACC play, but the Jackets are just 1-4 overall and 0-3 in conference matchups when their opponents reach the line more.

MAKING THE MOST OF “FREE” POINTS: Since dropping the pair of games at Tulsa and St. John’s in which the Yellow Jackets shot just 50 percent from the free-throw line (15-of-30), Georgia Tech had been much stronger from the charity stripe. In the five games following that road trip, the Jackets went 5-0 and connected on 80 percent of their free throws (64-of-80), including a season-high 90 percent mark against Alcorn State in the championship game of the GT/Atlanta Marriott NW Holiday Invitational. Overall, in their six losses this season, the Jackets have made just 48 free throws in 91 overall attempts, converting just 52.7 percent from the line. In comparison, Georgia Tech has converted on 180-of-247 free throws (72.9 percent) in their 12 victories, a 20-point difference.

TIME TO WAKE UP: This season, the Yellow Jacket offense has, at times, had problems getting started…but that doesn’t mean they don’t eventually “wake up.” In games where the Yellow Jackets have a higher shooting percentage in the second half as compared to the first, Georgia Tech is 8-3, but when the Jackets shoot lower in the second frame, they are just 4-3. When the Jackets have scored equal to or more points in the second half, they are 9-3 on the season, but when scoring fewer points in the final frame, they are just 3-3.

Yellow Jacket Injury Update

Ashley Guerrant is out (back).

Jackets vs. the Terrapins

• The Jackets and Terps have met 51 times in history, with Maryland holding a 36-15 lead in the series. Georgia Tech is, however, at its best against Maryland in the friendly confines of Alexander Memorial Coliseum, posting 11 of its 15 victories against the Terps in Atlanta, while going just 3-21 in College Park

• The Yellow Jackets and Terrapins split the series a year ago, with each team winning on its home court. Georgia Tech fell to the Terrapins, 87-91, in College Park in the first game between the two teams last season, but came back with a 58-57 victory against the Terps at home in mid-February to improve to 11-12 as the host in the series.

• Georgia Tech has won two of the last four games in the series, and the Terrapins and Jackets have split every series since the 2000-01 season. The 1999-00 season was the last time that one of the two teams swept the season’s two contests, with the Jackets winning both games.

• Georgia Tech’s first game ever played against the Terrapins came on Nov. 27, 1979, when Maryland defeated the Jackets, 94-78. It was the first of 10-straight victories over the Jackets for the Terrapins. • Georgia Tech is 3-18 against the Terrapins when they are ranked, and 12-18 against unranked University of Maryland teams.

• LAST GAME IN COLLEGE PARK: The Terrapins shot 49 percent from the floor and had five players score in double figures while overcoming a late surge by the Yellow Jackets to win, 91-87, on their home court. Tech shot 46.7 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line while outrebounding the Terps, 40-30, but sent the home team to the charity stripe 37 times, which proved to be the difference in the final two minutes of the game, when Maryland converted 11 of 14 free shots.

• LAST TIME OUT: Georgia Tech struggled early in the first half as the Terrapins took a 28-19 lead into the locker room after holding the Yellow Jackets to just 16 percent shooting from the field in the frame. Tech came alive in the second half, outscoring the Terrapins 45-44, but it wasn’t enough as the No. 15/17 Maryland Terrapins defeated Tech, 72-65, in Atlanta in mid-January. The Jackets had problems stopping sophomore Shay Doron, who scored 28 points before leaving the game with an injury, while Stephanie Higgs was the only Tech player in double figures, scoring 20 while pulling down six rebounds. Freshman Janie Mitchell came off the bench to pull down a team-high nine rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, while Crystal Langhorne crashed the boards for the Terps, pulling down 15 while scoring 14 points in 36 minutes of play.

The Jackets vs. Ranked Opponents

• The Yellow Jackets have met four ranked opponents this season, defeating the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 55-49 in December before dropping a 72-65 decision to #15/17 Maryland, a 59-82 game at #1/1 Duke, and a 41-55 contest against #12/5 North Carolina last week.

• With six of the Yellow Jackets’ opponents ranked in the top-25 this week, Georgia Tech will have the opportunity to play eight games against a ranked team this season, as the Jackets will play both Duke and Florida State twice in 2004-05. • The win against the Bulldogs marked the highest-ranked opponent that the Yellow Jackets have defeated since the 1991-92 season, when Tech defeated No. 4 Maryland, 68-67 in its first win in an ACC Tournament game in history. It was also the first win for the Jackets against a team ranked in the top-10 since the 1998-99 season, when Tech downed No. 7/6 North Carolina, 91-84.

• Georgia Tech’s last win against a ranked ACC opponent came during the 2001-02 season, when the Jackets downed 17th-ranked North Carolina, 81-62 in Chapel Hill. Tech is 0-12 against ranked ACC opponents since then and just 2-14 overall against ranked opponents since that game.

• The last time that the Yellow Jackets won more than one game against ranked opponents in the same season came in 2000-01, when the Jackets went 2-8 against teams in the top-25. That year, the Yellow Jackets defeated Virginia twice when they were ranked.

• The Yellow Jackets are 24-171 all-time against ranked opponents, including a 55-49 win over No. 6 Georgia this season. Georgia Tech is 1-7 all-time against teams ranked in the top-25 under current head coach MaChelle Joseph.

Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference

• Georgia Tech is 108-258 in conference play in its 25 years as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

• The Yellow Jackets are 7-19 in conference openers after posting a win in each of the last two season’s ACC openers, both of which came against Florida State. The Yellow Jackets have won all four meetings against Florida State when meeting the Seminoles in the ACC opener.

• There are currently five ACC teams ranked in this week’s AP Poll, with another two earning votes. Georgia Tech is 1-4 against these seven teams this season.

• The ACC is currently the top-ranked conference in the WBCA/Summerville RPI, just ahead of the SEC and Pac 10 conferences, as two teams appear in the top-10 (Duke-3, Maryland-7), four more in the top-25 (Florida State-15, North Carolina-20, Virginia Tech-23, Georgia Tech-25), and a total of eight in the top-50 (Virginia-28, NC State-34). Rounding out the RPI standings are ACC members Miami (62), Wake Forest (67) and Clemson (135).

• The last time that Georgia Tech defeated a ranked ACC opponent was during the 2001-02 season, when the Jackets downed 17th-ranked North Carolina, 81-62 in Chapel Hill. Tech is 0-12 against ranked ACC opponents since then.

Last Time Out

Georgia Tech couldn’t overcome a slow start against the fifth-ranked Tar Heels, who outscored the Yellow Jackets 34-17 in the first half of the game by shooting 60 percent from the field and holidng Tech to just 28.6 percent from field goal range. UNC went on to win 55-41, despite being held to just one point through the first eight minutes of the second half as the Yellow Jackets couldn’t capitalize, scoring just five point of their own in the frame. The Jackets outscored the Tar Heels 24-21 in the frame by holding UNC to just 27.8 percent from the field, but 11 of those 24 points came from the charity stripe, where the Heels converted on 11-of-16 in the final frame. Janie Mitchell paced the Yellow Jackets on offense, scoring a season-high 14 points against the Tar Heels while Chioma Nnamaka recorded her 12th game in double figures, scoring 10 points while pulling down four rebounds.

Home Games vs. Playing on the Road

After dropping a pair of road games in early December, the Yellow Jackets looked forward to their return to Atlanta, where the they have posted an overall record of 199-155 since the 1979-80 season. The Jackets are 10-3 at home this season after dropping their first contest at AMC this past week against Virginia. Conversely, Georgia Tech is 93-193 on the road since 1979-80, and 2-3 this year.

The Jackets hold an edge on the road in shooting percentage, averaging 38.2 percent away from Atlanta and just 36.3 from the field at home, but opponents are hitting 38.6 percent of their shots away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum, while converting on just 34.8 percent at AMC. Meanwhile, the Jackets are converting on just 25.6 percent of their three-point attempts at AMC, but enjoy playing shooting the trey on the road, as they have shot 38.7 percent from beyond the arc away from the Coliseum.

A couple of the most notable differences in scoring are of the Yellow Jackets’ top two underclassmen in Chioma Nnamaka and Stephanie Higgs. Nnamaka is averaging 10.9 points per game at AMC, but is scoring 19.8 points in each of the five road contests. Conversely, Higgs enjoys playing in Atlanta, where she is averaging 14.0 points per game, while averaging 10.8 points on the road.

Milestone Watch

• After recording five wins to open the season and five more following a pair of losses at Tulsa and St. John’s, the 2004-05 Georgia Tech women’s basketball team helped secure the 400th win in program history with a win at Miami on Jan. 23, 2005 by a score of 62-46 in the first meeting between the two schools as ACC members. It took the team nine seasons to win its first 100 games and nine years to win its next 100. The team recorded its 300th victory on November 28, 1998.

• Sophomore Kentrina Wilson has recorded 14 blocked shots this season, which is ninth for most blocked shots by a sophomore.

Jill Ingram is just one steal away from cracking the top-10 for most steals by a freshman in Georgia Tech history. She currently has 38 steals to her credit in 2004-05. The rookie from Charlotte, NC is also just 15 assists away from making the top-10 list for most assists by a freshman, as she has already dished out 53 assists this year.

• Fellow rookie Chioma Nnamaka has scored 241 points in 2004-05, which is just 20 points shy of appearing in the top-10 for most points scored by a rookie in Georgia Tech history. The last time that a freshman scored more than 260 points was during the 1998-99 season, when Niesha Butler tallied 521 total points during her rookie campaign.

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