Jan. 16, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
Bouncing around a little here . . . Sting Daily needs to visit with Sasha Goodlet and see what’s going on with the senior center. Some time this week, we’ll try to check in and catch up and not just because she rang up career highs of 26 points and 16 rebounds in Georgia Tech’s win at Boston College Sunday.
You need not have been up close and personal to discern that Goodlet’s improvement has been vast.
She’s played steadily better all along since arriving four seasons ago from Bolton, Miss., but the leap this season has been special. Goodlet already has a career-high 31 blocked shots, and she’s averaging career highs in virtually every statistical category: scoring (14.9), rebounding (7.3), shooting percentage (.515) free throw percentage (.694), and blocked shots (1.7) and most of her numbers in ACC games are considerably better.
In five conference games, she’s averaging 18.4 points (third in the ACC), 10 rebounds (tied for first), and two blocked shots (second). The tallest player to play for the Yellow Jackets since 6-foot-7 Dolores Bootz in 1988, the 6-5 Goodlet has played big in almost every game.
“She’s really become our focal point on offense, but she does so many things on the defensive end with her rebounding and ability to alter shots,” said head coach MaChelle Joseph. “I think she’s one of the top five players in the ACC.”
The Jackets (13-5) are off to something of an odd start in the ACC (3-2) having lost an enormous lead at Maryland, and then looking at league statistics through five conference games to find themselves ranked No. 3 in scoring offense (70.8) and No. 10 in scoring defense (69.0). That’s a reversal of recent years.
With a big game Wednesday in the Arena at Gwinnett against Duke (14-2, 5-0) — the only team yet to drop a league contest — the Jackets are trending. We’ll drop in on them soon, hopefully today.
The men’s team will be back home (Philips Arena) Thursday against Virginia after winning at N.C. State and falling at Maryland last week. Sunday’s 61-50 setback against the Terrapins was no offensive breakout, and the Jackets were edged on the boards. Yet coach Brian Gregory said in Monday’s ACC teleconference that he continued to see signs of improvement. Chiefly, he was encouraged to see the Jackets battle despite the fact that leading scorers Glen Rice Jr. and Mfon Udofia were scuffling. Plus, the defense was stout.
“I think our guys realized that if they do what they’re supposed to do and stick to the core objectives we talked about – playing really good team defense and rebounding by committee with everyone on the glass – then we’re going to put ourselves in a position . . . to do some good things,” he said.
“We talk a lot about building for the future, but we want to make sure we’re not looking past the present right now. I think our guys understood that and dialed it in a little bit more. Our practices have been better, there’s no doubt about it.”
Nationally-ranked Virginia (14-2, 1-1) comes calling at Philips Arena Thursday night at 8 p.m.
The women’s tennis team kicked off the “spring season” in fine fashion. The Jackets were 10-2 Saturday and 10-1 Sunday in the Michigan Invitational, where the results Monday were good as well.
Friday, the men’s tennis team will begin the spring season with a familiar foe as Old Dominion, coached by former assistant Aljosa Pircic, visits.