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Jackets Down Virginia Tech, 87-81

THE FLATS – Led by three players in double-figures, Georgia Tech women’s basketball defeated Virginia Tech 87-81 Sunday afternoon in McCamish Pavilion. Imani Tilford recorded a double-double, while teammate Zaire O’Neil posted a career-high 25 points.

“I was really pleased with the play of Imani Tilford,” noted head coach MaChelle Joseph. “I thought that she did an outstanding job on both ends of the floor. I felt like we controlled the boards, which I told the team before the game that we had to control the boards to win the game because they have two of the top rebounding post players in the ACC. Antonia Peresson hit a lot of big shots for us today from the three-point line and it was great to see Chanin Scott step up and make those free throws at a critical time. Zaire O’Neil has had two very good games back-to-back and we’ve been getting some really good play out of Katarina Vuckovic lately. I think that makes a big difference.”

How It Happened
The Hokies opened the game gaining a six point lead in the first quarter, but the Jackets bookended the first intermission with a 11-0 run fueled by a pair of three-pointers from Antonia Peresson to take a 23-18 lead early in the second quarter. The Jackets would push their advantage out to nine points twice before the Hokies ended the quarter with an 18-6 run, hitting 10-of-10 from the field, to erase the deficit and carry a 47-44 lead into halftime. At the break, the Jackets led on the boards 23-13, including a 14-4 advantage in offensive rebounds, and both teams drained seven three-pointers apiece in the opening 20 minutes.

Chanette Hicks scored 11 of the Hokies’ 13 points in the third quarter, but the Jackets outscored the Hokies 17-13 in the frame despite committing eight turnovers to VT’s zero. The Jackets tied it up twice in the third quarter before entering the fourth frame leading 61-60. GT sealed the win outscoring VT 26-21 in the fourth quarter led by Imani Tilford with nine points going 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the final minute. VT led by four early in the frame after opening the stanza with a 7-2 spurt, but the lead was short-lived. The Jackets closed the game going 13-of-14 from the charity stripe over the final 1:12 of play and finished 17-of-18 in the frame.

Tech Tidbits
* Tech improved to 14-9 overall and 3-7 in ACC play with the win
* Imani Tilford notched her second double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds
*Zaire O’Neil led the Jackets with a career-high 25 points for her second straight game with 20+ points
* Tech won the rebounding battle 50-23, including a 22-7 edge in offensive rebounds the Jackets converted into 22 points
* For the game, the Jackets finished 20-of-25 from the free throw line and shot 44.5 percent (29-65) from the field
* The Hokies gained 35 points off the bench led by Chanette Hicks with 29 points
* Virginia Tech was 7-of-11 at the free throw line and shot 49.2 percent from the field

Next Up
Up next, Georgia Tech plays host to North Carolina State on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. for its annual Play4Kay Pink Game. The game will be available on ACC Network Extra.

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