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Jackets Host Third-Ranked Blue Devils Sunday

Feb. 18, 2005

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech returns home to host the third-ranked Duke Blue Devils Sunday at 1 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network, which consists of FSN South, Sunshine and Comcast SportsNet. Mike Hogewood will call the play-by-play for Sunday’s action while Charlene Curtis joins him with the color commentary. The Georgia Tech student station will also broadast the game on WREK-FM, 91.1 in Atlanta, and online at www.wrek.org with Richard Musterer and Kurt Hoyt calling the action. Livestats for the game will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.

The Yellow Jackets are in the midst of a three-game losing streak in which they have hosted No. 23 NC State, met Arkansas in the Russell Athletic Shootout in Duluth, Ga. and traveled to Blacksburg for a matchup with ACC newcomer Virginia Tech. Tech is currently 13-10 this season with a 4-7 record in conference games, while Duke enters with a 24-2 mark on the year while standing at 10-1 against ACC opponents. The Blue Devils are currently on a six-game win streak in which they’ve defeated No. 20 Maryland, No. 25 NC State, No. 24 Florida State and No. 19 Maryland. Their last loss came at the hands of 12th-ranked North Carolina on January 24th in Chapel Hill.

Following the game against Duke, the Yellow Jackets will make their last road trip of the regular season Thursday when they travel to Clemson for a 7 p.m. matchup.

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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 in 2004-05 by leading the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and standing second in assists (41) and steals (35). 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 third and second, 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. Two other freshmen, Janie Mitchell and Daphne Mitchell, have also appeared in the starting lineup at some point this season, and the Jackets have started six games in 2004-05 with three freshmen in the starting lineup.

LOOKING AT THE BENCH: Just because the starters are out doesn’t mean Tech’s opponents can relax…through 23 games this season, the Jackets’ bench is averaging 16.9 points per game (388 total), while the starters are averaging 42.3 points (972 total).

MEGAN THE MAINSTAY: In the last three years (including this season), Georgia Tech has played 83 games, all of which Megan Harpring has been a part of. As a matter of fact, she is the only non-freshman on this year’s roster to have played in every single game in her career. Rookies Jill Ingram, Chioma Nnamaka and Janie Mitchell are the only other players that have played in every game in their career.

IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO THE LINE: The Yellow Jackets have posted a stellar 11-2 record when converting on more free throws than their opponents, including a 3-2 mark against ACC teams. Conversely, when their opponents have made more shots from the charity stripe, Tech is just 2-8, including a 1-5 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 2-8 overall and 1-6 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 10 losses this season, the Jackets have made 118 free throws in 171 overall attempts, converting just 69.0 percent from the line. In comparison, Georgia Tech has converted on 185-of-256 free throws (72.3 percent) in their 13 victories.

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 8-5, but when the Jackets shoot lower in the second frame, they are 5-5. When the Jackets have scored equal to or more points in the second half, they are 9-7 on the season, but when scoring fewer points in the final frame, they are just 4-3.

HOLDING THEM UNDER 60: Georgia Tech has held its opponents to under 60 points on 14 occasions in 2004-05, and in those games, the Yellow Jackets have posted a 12-2 mark. The Jackets’ defense has held ACC opponents to under 60 points on five occasions this season and have gone 4-1 in those contests. On eight occasions this season Georgia Tech has held its opponent to less than 50 points and has posted a perfect 8-0 record in those games, with three of those victories coming against ACC foes Miami, Clemson and Wake Forest.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE: According to the latest WBCA/Summerville RPI, Georgia Tech’s 2004-05 schedule is ranked the eighth-toughest in the nation, as the Yellow Jackets will play at least 10 games against teams that are ranked in the top-25 of this week’s RPI. Among ACC teams, Georgia Tech’s schedule is only ranked behind Miami (3), Virginia Tech (5) and Maryland (6).

The Jackets vs. the Blue Devils

• The Jackets and Blue Devils have met 53 times in history, with Duke holding a 46-7 lead in the series. The Blue Devils have won the last 24 contests, dating back to Jan. 18, 1995, while the last Georgia Tech victory came in Atlanta on Feb. 27, 1994.

• Georgia Tech is 5-19 against the Blue Devils in Atlanta.

• Duke won both contests a year ago by limiting the Yellow Jackets to less than 50 points in both games. The Blue Devils defeated Tech 77-45 in Atlanta in the first game between the two teams and then downed the Jackets, 81-41, at Cameron in early February.

• Georgia Tech’s first game ever played against the Blue Devils came on Jan. 13, 1979, when Duke defeated the Jackets, 70-55. It was the first of four consecutive victories over the Jackets for the Blue Devils.

• LAST TIME OUT: The Blue Devils hit 13 treys at Cameron Indoor Stadium and came back from a six-point halftime deficit to outscore the Yellow Jackets 52-23 in the second half and take an 82-59 victory over Georgia Tech. Rookie point guard Jill Ingram paced the Yellow Jackets with 20 points while going 4-for-8 from three-point range while Chioma Nnamaka added 17 points and hit five treys. Monique Currie led the Blue Devils with 27 points in 31 minutes while pulling down 11 rebounds and Jessica Foley added 23 points while hitting seven from beyond the three-point arc. Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference

• Georgia Tech is 109-261 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 Virginia also earning votes. Georgia Tech is 1-6 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-8), five more in the top-25 (North Carolina-14, NC State-17, Florida State-20, Virginia Tech-22, Virginia-23), and a total of nine in the top-50 (Georgia Tech-40, Miami-48). Rounding out the RPI standings are ACC members Wake Forest (73) and Clemson (139).

• 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 0-16 against ranked ACC opponents since then.

The Jackets vs. Ranked Opponents

• The Yellow Jackets have met six ranked opponents this season, defeating the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 55-49 in December before dropping a 59-82 game at #1/1 Duke, a 41-55 contest against #12/5 North Carolina, a pair of games to Maryland, 72-65 at home and 84-67 in College Park, and a 59-83 game against NC State.

• With six of the Yellow Jackets’ opponents ranked in the top-25 this week, Georgia Tech will have the opportunity to play nine games against a ranked team this season, as the Jackets will play Duke, Maryland 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 0-15 against ranked ACC opponents since then and just 2-17 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 23-174 all-time against ranked opponents, including a 55-49 win over No. 6 Georgia this season. Georgia Tech is 1-10 all-time against teams ranked in the top-25 under current head coach MaChelle Joseph.

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.

Stephanie Higgs has tallied 13 blocks in 2004-05, which places her tied for ninth for most blocks by a sophomore. The Lawrenceville, Ga. has also scored 315 points this season, which places her 10th for most points scored by a sophomore in Georgia Tech history.

Jill Ingram is sixth for most steals by a freshman in Georgia Tech history. She currently has 48 steals to her credit in 2004-05. The rookie from Charlotte, NC is also just six assists away from making the top-10 list for most assists by a freshman, as she has already dished out 61 helpers this year.

• Fellow rookie Chioma Nnamaka has scored 298 points in 2004-05, which is good for seventh in the annals 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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