THE FLATS — The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team advanced to the third round of the WNIT on Sunday, dominating UAB in a 91-47 victory in McCamish Pavilion. Zaire O’Neil finished with a double-double for the second consecutive game, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds. The win pushed the Jackets to 20-13 overall on the year.
“I think the thing that really stands out to me about this team right now is we’re playing together,” stated head coach MaChelle Joseph. “We don’t care who scores, we’re playing unselfish basketball, and we’re making each other better. I thought our inside game has improved. Obviously one of the best games Zaire O’Neil has played at Georgia Tech. To see her playing her best basketball at the end of her career means a lot to me and it means a lot to me the way our seniors have stepped up in March and going down the stretch.”
How It Happened
The Jackets raced out of the gate, opening a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter and UAB was forced to burn two timeouts in the opening 10 minutes. Carrying a 28-15 lead into the second quarter, O’Neil owned the second stanza, posting 14 points in the period on a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the field. The senior opened the second stanza with four unanswered points before the Blazers broke the spurt. But the Jackets answered with a Kierra Fletcher bucket that sparked a 12-2 run as Tech went 7-for-7 from the field in a nearly three minute span and opened a 44-19 advantage. Tech shot 76.5 percent (13-17) in the second quarter to own a 58-27 halftime lead.
Tech outscored UAB in the paint 22-12 in the second half and converted eight offensive rebounds into 12 second chance points in the final 20 minutes as the Jackets continued to push their comfortable lead out to as many as 44 points in the game. For the game, the Jackets shot 58.7 percent (37-63) paced by O’Neil’s 24 points. Tech also dominated on the glass, out-rebounding UAB 45-24.
* The win was the 20th of the season, marking the third consecutive 20-plus win season for the Jackets and the 10th 20-plus win season under Coach Joseph
* Four Jackets finished in double-figure scoring numbers: O’Neil (24), Fletcher (14), Francesca Pan (13) and Antonia Peresson (10)
* Fletcher tied her career-high of six assists as the Jackets recorded 21 in the contest
* Tech finished 14-of-18 from the free throw line, while UAB was 9-for-10
* Tech’s 58 first half points marked a season-high for the Jackets behind a season-high 72.7 percent (24-33) shooting effort in the first 20 minutes
* The last time Tech scored 58 points or more in the first half dates back to Nov. 16, 2014 when the Jackets scored 60 points against Morgan State in the opening 20 minutes
* All 10 Jackets that saw playing time contributed offensively
The Jackets will meet Alabama in the third round. The game will take place at Alabama on Thursday at 8 p.m.