Dec. 17, 2008
NASSAU, Bahamas – After flying across the country for a game in the Pacific Northwest, the No. 25 Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (8-2) will continue its 6,600 mile road trip when it opens play at the Bahamas Sunplash Shootout against Winthrop (4-3) Thursday in Nassau. Tipoff at the Kendal Isaacs National Gymnasium is slated for 6 p.m.
Fans can listen to Richard Musterer and LaChina Robinson call all the action this weekend on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org), Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station.
The Yellow Jackets are 2-0 all-time against the Eagles, with the last meeting coming in 1990, when Tech scored a school-best 124 points in the win. Tech has accumulated a 12-1 overall record against Big South opponents. The Jackets have won four straight games since falling to No. 9 Texas at the Florida Atlantic Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 29 with three of those wins coming against members of the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-10.
Winthrop, who is on a two-game winning streak of its own, will play its second ACC opponent of the season, losing at Clemson, 76-68, on Nov. 25.
The winner of Thursday’s game will meet the winner of the UT-Arlington/Memphis game on Saturday at 2 p.m.
TECH VS. WINTHROP
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 2-0 with the last meeting coming in 1990, when Tech scored a school-record 124 points against the Eagles. The Yellow Jackets are 12-1 against members of the Big South, with its only loss coming against UNC Asheville. Winthrop list three players from Georgia, including senior Franchesca Davenport, who is from Atlanta, Ga., and attended West Lake H.S.
LOOKING BACK: GEORGIA TECH PICKS OFF OREGON, 74-59
Alex Montgomery and Jacqua Williams returned to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in a Yellow Jacket uniform and led the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team to a 74-59 win over Oregon (3-4) in the 11th Annual Papé Jam at Portland’s Rose Garden Saturday afternoon.
Montgomery led all scorers with 18 points and had four steals on her way to winning the Papé Jam’s Most Valuable Player award. Williams continued her strong play for Tech (8-2) by adding 16 points and finishing with three steals.
PICK A POCKET OR TWO
After three-plus seasons on the Flats, senior Jacqua Williams has earned the reputation as one of the best defenders in the nation. The speedster from Seattle, Wash., recorded her 279th career steal on Nov. 22, 2008 against Mississippi Valley State for a new school record, surpassing Kisha Ford and Tiffany Martin on the all-time steals list. Williams plans to obliterate the previous record over the next four months.
Last season, Williams finished with a single-season school record 118 steals, leading the ACC and ranking fourth in the nation with 3.8 per game. She has registered at least one steal in 49 straight games and even held the ACC single game record for steals with 11 (later broken by former Yellow Jacket Jill Ingram with 14). This season she leads the Jackets with 44 steals and has 305 on her career.
SENIOR CLASS PILING UP WINS
Georgia Tech’s 2008-09 senior class of Tabitha Turner and Jacqua Williams have been a part of 65 wins since beginning their careers on the Flats. The two Jackets have helped Tech to back-to-back record-setting seasons and are on pace to become the most successful class in the history of the program. With five more wins this season, the pair will accumulate the most wins by any senior class to ever play for the Yellow Jackets. Last year’s seniors finished with a school-best 69 wins in their careers.
AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE … OYE, OYE, OYE
Junior Brigitte Ardossi started 26 games during her freshman season and helped the Jackets to their first win in the NCAA Tournament. Last season she was regulated to the first big off the bench and made the most of her opportunity by scoring 3.9 points per game and grabbing 2.8 rebounds in 14.5 minutes. Coach Joseph expects big things from her Aussie post-player in 2008-09 and has inserted her back into the starting lineup. She has played in 75 straight games, every game since coming to the Flats, and has started 36 of those games.
Ardossi, who has elevated her game to a new level, is scoring 9.3 points a game and is grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game. She is also knocking down her free-throw attempts at an 85% clip. Against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 30, 2008, Ardossi scored a career-high 18 points to lead Tech to the win. On Dec. 5, Ardossi helped Tech defeat its archrival Georgia with her first career double-double (15 pts, 10 reb.).
SHE CAN DO IT ALL
Anyone who watched Alex Montgomery play last season knows she can really do it all. She is not only the team’s top returning scorer (10.8) and rebounder (5.4), Montgomery has also shown she can dish it, steal it, block it or even win a jump ball. A starter of 26 games as a freshman, Montgomery has become the center of the Yellow Jackets offense. She is averaging13.0 points, has grabbed 5.1 rebounds a game and is shooting 37 percent from beyond-the-arc.
BIG SHOT MONTGOMERY
With under 10 seconds remaining on the clock and the Jackets need someone to knock down a big shot, Alex Montgomery has not shyed away from taking it. Last season, Montgomery hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Tech past Miami at home (1/15/08). Montgomery has continued to show no fear when a big shot is needed, knocking down a three-pointer as time expired before halftime in three straight games (Michigan State, Georgia and Oregon).
Sophomore Iasia Hemingway excelled as an undersized post player for the Jackets last season, scoring over 20 points against the likes of Maryland’s Crystal Langhorne and Tasha Humphrey of Georgia. This season, Coach Joseph has added some taller players to the Jackets roster that will allow Hemingway to take her game outside to the wing. Hemingway will now have a chance to not only post up players her height, she will also be able to take the ball to the basket and box out smaller guards for rebounds.
Hemingway is averging 12.5 points and is registering 4.6 rebounds a game. She recorded her first career double-double against Georgia State (21 pts, 11 reb.) on Nov. 26, 2008. Hemingway has also shown a knack for getting to the free-throw line, with 57 attempts so far and is shooting 70 percent from the charity stripe.
Most teams are lucky enough to have a solid starting five. This season, Joseph feels she can list six starters on her roster. Sophomore’s Deja Foster has shown the ability to step on the court and make an instant impact for the Jackets. Foster is averaging 23.3 minutes and started her first career game on Nov. 30, 2008 against Tennessee Tech.
Foster is scoring 8.3 points a game and is averaging 4.4 rebounds. Against Michigan State, she sparked Tech in the final five minutes with her first career three-pointer and back-to-back three-point plays on her way to a career-high 13 points.
The 2008-09 Georgia Tech roster is noticeably young with 10 players listed as sophomores and freshmen. Though young, the team is the most athletic team Coach Joseph has had since taking over at Georgia Tech.
FULL COURT PRESS
Last season, Georgia Tech finished the season with a school record 456 steals and led the NCAA with 14.3 steals per game. This has to be credited to Coach Joseph’s pressing defense. Joseph will press for 40 minutes with numerous pressing schemes to keep the offensive off-balance. Joseph wants her team to “be an impressive running defensive team that creates opportunities for the offense.” Even though it is early in the season, Tech is averaging a staggering 14.6 steals a game.
WINNING WITH COACH JO
In just her sixth season at the helm, Coach MaChelle Joseph is already has registered the second-most wins in Georgia Tech history. Joseph has registered an 92-68 (.575) records. She has led Tech to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournaments.
TECH IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Georgia Tech cracked the top 25 in the Dec. 15, 2008 Associated Press poll. It the second time in the last year when Tech found itself ranked. Tech was also ranked on Jan. 21, 2008. Prior to last season, the Yellow Jackets were not ranked for 14 years to the week, with the last time coming on Jan. 19, 1993.