Dec. 18, 2002
ATLANTA – On the strength of 23 points from senior center Sonja Mallory and 12 points and a career-high seven steals from junior guard Megan Isom, the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team recorded a 65-46 victory against cross-town rival Georgia State on Wednesday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The win was the Jackets sixth straight on the season and the fourth in a row over the Panthers.
“I have to give a great deal of credit to our team and our assistant coaches for the great job they did in preparing for this game tonight,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “I think we really had a great scouting report on Georgia State and the team really knew what they were going to try to do and that preparation helped us tonight. This is a big game for us, the kids from both teams play against each other all the time over the summer and there is a lot of emotion that goes with the game. We didn’t want to let that emotion get to us and I thought we came out and were very disciplined and stayed with our game plan.”
After the Yellow Jackets (7-1) pulled out to an early 13-7 advantage with 14:11 to play in the first half, with the help of six points from Mallory, the Panthers (3-4) tightened things up and trailed by just three at 23-20 with 6:34 to play. Tech then began to put the contest out of reach with a 13-2 run to close the half. Isom was the key performer over the span, hitting a pair of three pointers, with the second trey putting the Jackets up by a 31-20 score with 4:48 to play. A fast-break layup off of a steal by junior Alex Stewart staked Tech to a 36-22 advantage at the intermission. Mallory finished the first half with a game-high 14 points, while Isom added 10, as the Jackets were dominant inside, outscoring the Panthers by a 22-2 count in the paint.
“We wanted to go inside early and often on the offensive end and we were able to do that,” said Berenato. “On defense, we weren’t going to let them get baskets inside and we really wanted to make them beat us by shooting threes. I thought our defensive pressure was great in the game and from that, I thought our transition offense was excellent.”
At the start of the second half, the Jackets continued the onslaught, extending the run to 19-4 with a 6-2 spurt to take a 42-24 lead with 17:37 to play. Stewart and Isom got Tech jumpstarted in the second half, combining for all six points in the opening run of the period. Georgia State was unable to get any closer than within 12 points, when a layup by Angelina Miller made the score 42-30 with 16:06 to play. The Yellow Jackets then opened things up again, taking their biggest lead of the contest on a layup by Mallory to make the score 65-43 with 3:12 to play. The Panthers held Tech scoreless over the final 3:12, but were unable to capitalize, recording only a three-pointer by Evita Rogers with 1:50 remaining to cut the score to the final 65-46 margin.
Mallory was dominant inside for the Jackets once again against the Panthers, finishing with 23 points to go along with four rebounds, four blocks and three steals. The 23 points marked the sixth time in eight games that the senior has scored 20 points this season. Isom was equally as impressive for Tech, as she finished the game with 12 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and the career-best seven takeaways. Junior forward Fallon Stokes was the third Yellow Jacket in double figures, as she netted 15 points and grabbed five rebounds.
“I can’t say enough about Megan Isom,” said Berenato. “She is our defensive stopper and she’s been willing to guard anyone that we’ve asked her to this year. Tonight she did a great job by getting seven steals. I think the team has a lot of confidence in what Megan is doing out there and that helps us a lot on defense.”
Tech’s inside game proved to be too much for the Panthers, as the Jackets outscored Georgia State by a 40-6 count in the paint. The Yellow Jackets also claimed a 43-32 advantage on the boards and forced 20 turnovers on the strength of 14 steals.
Miller was the leading scorer for Georgia State, as she finished the game with 18 points. Rogers joined Miller in double figures, as she had 16 points.
Georgia Tech will return to action on Saturday night when it hosts Fordham in a game that will tip off at 7 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.