ATLANTA (Feb. 28) — It’s already been quite a senior season for Georgia Tech’s Danielle Donehew (Canton, Ga.), a season Donehew and the Yellow Jackets hope doesn’t come to an end after this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
After winning their last two games of the regular season, the Jackets are the No. 6 seed in this year’s tournament and will take on third-seeded NC State at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“We’ve won our last two games and hope to keep on a roll going into the tournament,” Donehew said. “Our ultimate goal is to win the tournament, but more importantly, we want to continue to get better and be able to peak in whatever postseason tournament we’re invited to.”
‘Postseason’ has been the goal of the Yellow Jackets since the beginning of the season. With wins against 14th-ranked NC State and Maryland to close the year, the Jackets have put themselves in position for an N.I.T. bid, but Donehew isn’t quite ready to dismiss the notion of going to the NCAA’s Big Dance, which would require Tech to win this week’s ACC Tourney.
“There is a lot of pressure, but there is also a lot of excitement,” Donehew said. “We have to lay everything on the line and see what happens. Playing in the postseason has been a goal of the program the entire time I’ve been here. It’s nice to be so close and feel like you can grasp the goal you’ve been striving for. There is a sense of satisfaction knowing your hard work really has paid off.”
Hard work has been the key to Donehew’s success, whether it be in basketball, academics or life in general. Donehew is reminded of the importance of hard work by a plastic toy turtle named ‘Lightning’ she carries in her pocket.
“One of my favorite children’s stories is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare,’ ” Donehew said. “Even though the hare was quicker and more boastful than the tortoise, he just kept plugging along and pressing on and didn’t let the outside influences of the hare get to him. He just stayed on track and eventually won the race.
“Lightning reminds me of two things. With patience and persistence you are going to be successful. Also, turtles don’t get anywhere unless they stick their necks out. That reminds me that I shouldn’t be afraid to take chances or to be afraid of going down a path no one else has traveled.”
The path Donehew has taken this season has been one high after another.
In October, Donehew was named Ms. Georgia Tech at halftime of the Yellow Jackets’ homecoming football game with North Carolina. In January, she became the school record holder for most three-pointers made in a career. Most recently, Donehew was named to the GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District team. In all of these endeavors, patience and persistence has been Donehew’s key.
“Lightning, my turtle, is applicable to every aspect of my life,” Donehew said. “It’s applicable to my spiritual life, my athletic life, my academic life and my social life. I want to be a good example in whatever it is I’m doing, whether it’s on the court, in the classroom or in my social life. Whatever it is I’m doing, I want to be a good example.
“Even though most turtles are slow, they have some hidden ability.”
And Donehew hopes to use her ability to help Tech to a good showing in the ACC Tournament and beyond.
“I think this is the ACC Tournament I’ll remember the most,” Donehew said. “The ACC Tournament is always full of excitement and offers some of the best women’s basketball there is around.
“Since this is my last one, I’d like to go out with a win.”
Just like her friend the tortoise.