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Jackets Haul in ACC Honors

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Georgia Tech women’s basketball continued its storied season as the Yellow Jackets collected a trio of first-time Atlantic Coast Conference postseason honors Tuesday morning. Head coach Nell Fortner was tabbed the Blue Ribbon Panel ACC Coach of the Year, while Lorela Cubaj and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen were named ACC Defensive Co-Player of the Year and ACC Most Improved Player, respectively.

Cubaj also received All-ACC first-team honors by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and head coaches, becoming the first Yellow Jacket since 2016 to earn first-team recognition. Cubaj finished the regular season leading the ACC in rebounding, averaging 11.5 rebounds, and is one of only two players in the league averaging a double-double with 11.7 points per game. She currently ranks eighth in the league in blocked shots and ninth in steals. Nationally, the senior forward is ninth in rebounds and eighth in defensive rebounds per game.

On the season, Cubaj owns 10 double-doubles to lead the team and rank second in the league. She became the first Yellow Jacket since 1996 to record 20 rebounds in a game, setting the career-high at Clemson. The Terni, Italy native becomes just the seventh Tech player in history to be named to the ACC All-Defensive Team and first since 2014. With 851 career rebounds, Cubaj currently ranks fifth all-time in Georgia Tech program history.

Lahtinen capped her impressive junior season by being named the ACC Most Improved Player, a first in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history. Additionally, the junior guard garnered All-ACC second-team recognition by head coaches and All-ACC first-team honors by the Blue Ribbon Panel. The team’s leading scorer averaging 14.6 points per game, Lahtinen increased her scoring average by 5.5 points per game from her sophomore campaign. After shooting 28.7 percent from three-point range last season, Lahtinen improved her long-distance effort, shooting 36.7 percent as a junior.

Lahtinen leads the team in steals (39) and assists (73), placing her second and 12th in the ACC, respectively, in those statistical categories. She has posted 14 games scoring in double-figures and set a career-high in scoring with 30 points against NC State – one of just five players in the ACC to 30 or more points in a game this season. She owns 11 games with 15-plus points this season and recorded a pair of double-doubles.

In just her second season on The Flats, Fortner was tabbed the ACC Coach of the Year by the Blue Ribbon Panel. With a 12-6 league record, Fortner guided Tech to an outright third place finish in the ACC standings, marking the highest finish in program history, after being picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll by the Blue Ribbon Panel. In two seasons, Fortner has gone 22-14 (.611) in ACC play to mark the first back-to-back 10-win ACC seasons in Tech history. Tech’s 12 ACC wins this season ties the most league wins in program history.

She is the first Georgia Tech women’s basketball head coach to earn ACC Coach of the Year honors. It is also the first time since 2014 two Yellow Jackets have garnered All-ACC accolades in the same season.

The Yellow Jackets, who earned the No. 3 seed, open the 2021 ACC Tournament on Friday, facing either Clemson or Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. Tip is slated for 8:30 p.m. on RSN.

2020-21 Blue Ribbon Panel Awards
ACC Player of the Year: Dana Evans, Sr., G, Louisville
ACC Freshman of the Year: Kamilla Cardoso, Fr., C, Syracuse
ACC Coach of the Year: Nell Fortner, Georgia Tech

Blue Ribbon Panel
All-ACC First Team

Lorela Cubaj, Sr., F, Georgia Tech
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, Jr., G Georgia Tech
Dana Evans, Sr., G, Louisville
Elissa Cunane, Jr., C, NC State
Jakia Brown-Turner, So., W, NC State
Maddy Westbeld, Fr., F, Notre Dame
Kamilla Cardoso, Fr., C, Syracuse
Elizabeth Kitley, So., C, Virginia Tech
Aisha Sheppard, Sr., G Virginia Tech
Ivana Raca, Sr., F, Wake Forest

All-ACC Second Team
Taylor Soule, Jr., F, Boston College
Delicia Washington, Sr., G, Clemson
Morgan Jones, Jr., G, Florida State
Kayla Jones, Sr., F, NC State
Gina Conti, Sr., G Wake Forest

Honorable Mention
Janelle Bailey, Sr., C, North Carolina
Raina Perez, Gr., G, NC State
Jayla Everett, Jr., G, Pitt
Kiara Lewis, Sr., G, Syracuse
Tiana Mangakahia, Gr., G, Syracuse

2020-21 Head Coaches Awards
ACC Player of the Year: Dana Evans, Sr., G, Louisville
ACC Freshman of the Year: Maddy Westbeld, Fr., F, Notre Dame
ACC Coach of the Year: Wes Moore, NC State
ACC Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Lorela Cubaj, Sr., F, Georgia Tech; Kamilla Cardoso, Fr., C, Syracuse
ACC Co-Sixth Players of the Year: Jada Boyd, So., F, NC State; Emily Engstler, Jr., G/F, Syracuse
ACC Most Improved Player: Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, Jr., G, Georgia Tech

Head Coaches Awards
All-ACC First Team

Taylor Soule, Jr., F, Boston College
Morgan Jones, Jr., G, Florida State
Lorela Cubaj, Sr., F, Georgia Tech
Dana Evans, Sr., G, Louisville
Jakia Brown-Turner, So., W, NC State
Elissa Cunane, Jr., C, NC State
Kayla Jones, Sr., F, NC State
Elizabeth Kitley, So., C, Virginia Tech
Aisha Sheppard, Sr., G, Virginia Tech
Ivana Raca, Sr., F, Wake Forest

All-ACC Second Team
Delicia Washington, Sr., G, Clemson
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, Jr., G, Georgia Tech
Maddy Westbeld, Fr., F, Notre Dame
Kamilla Cardoso, Fr., C, Syracuse
Gina Conti, Sr., G, Wake Forest

Honorable Mention
Janelle Bailey, Sr., C, North Carolina
Jayla Everett, Jr., G, Pitt
Tiana Mangakahia, Gr., G, Syracuse

All-Defensive Team
Marnelle Garraud, Jr., G, Boston College
Lorela Cubaj, Sr., F, Georgia Tech
Morgan Jones, Jr., G, Florida State
Mykasa Robinson, Jr., G, Louisville
Kamilla Cardoso, Fr., C, Syracuse

All-Freshman Team (Blue Ribbon & Head Coaches are the same)
Gabby Elliott, G, Clemson
Hailey Van Lith, G, Louisville
Olivia Cochran, F, Louisville
Deja Kelly, G, North Carolina
Maddy Westbeld, F, Notre Dame
Kamilla Cardoso, C, Syracuse
Georgia Amoore, G, Virginia Tech
Jewel Spear, G, Wake Forest

Alexander-Tharpe Fund
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and the Support The Swarm Fund, created to give fans an opportunity to help Georgia Tech athletics maintain its recent momentum through the financial challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic! To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.  

 

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