Dec. 30, 2006
Atlanta – The Yellow Jackets (8-4) go down in a hard fought ACC-SEC showdown Saturday, as they give up a 13-point lead with eight minutes to play in the game, to fall 56-62 to the Lady Bulldogs of Mississippi State (8-5) in the Championship of the Atlanta Marriott NW Holiday Invitational.
The score remained close until late in the game, with seven lead changes and three tied scores in the first half alone thanks to strong post play by Janie Mitchell who headed to the locker room at half as Tech’s leading scorer and rebounder. Neither team saw a higher than three-point deficit in the first, which ended with a 27-25 Mississippi State lead.
Tech came out dominating in the second half, going on 5-and-0 run to open the half and jumping out to a 10-point lead six minutes in, led by Jaqua Williams and Chioma Nnamaka. Williams, who finished with eight points, two rebounds and two steals, scored half her total points during that run. Nnamaka followed with a crafty steal for a lay up. Nnamaka also finished with two steals, nine points and three rebounds.
With just over nine minutes to play, the Jackets secured a 13-point lead off a Daphne Mitchell jumper. Mississippi State’s Alexis Rack answered with a three-point shot, followed quickly by a Kentrina Wilson three which put Tech back up 13. Wilson finished with 10 points, at team-best seven boards and two steals.
The Lady Bulldogs began chipping away at the Tech lead, going on an 11-to-1 run lead by Rack, who totaled 24 points and five rebounds for State, with 11 of those points coming with less than nine minutes left in the game, and the Jackets were unable to recover.
Following Mississippi State’s tournament championship win, officials announced the All-Tournament Team and Tournament MVP. Earning All-Tournament honors were Georgia Tech’s Stephanie Higgs and Janie Mitchell, Alcorn State’s Rasaan Powell and Shawntawnee Collins, Tennessee State’s Obiageli Okafor and Tournament MVP Alexis Rack of Mississippi State.
The Jackets will return to the court Tuesday, January 2 to open ACC play with No. 2 North Carolina at 7 p.m. at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Tarheels lead the all-time series with Georgia Tech 45-11.