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No. 9 Seed Yellow Jackets Open NCAA Tournament Sunday Against Eighth-Seeded Iowa

March 21, 2009

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (21-9) earned a bid to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Monday, drawing a No. 9 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional and a first-round match-up Sunday, March 22 against eighth-seeded Iowa (21-10) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. Tipoff is slated for 9:30 p.m. ET.

The game will be televised on ESPN2 regionally and ESPNU nationally. Dave Barnett and Sarah Kustok will have the call. Fans can also listen to Richard Musterer and LaChina Robinson describe the play-by-play on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org), Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station.

The Yellow Jackets are in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season and just the fifth time overall. This also marks the second straight year Tech will open the NCAA Tournament in Iowa. Last season, the Jackets faced Iowa State in Des Moines.

The winner of the Tech-Iowa game will meet the winner of No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 16 Prairie View A&M on Tuesday, March 24, and the survivor of that game advances to Oklahoma City.

The Jackets finished 8-6 in the ACC, only the second time in the program’s history they have registered a record above .500 in conference play. The Hawkeyes finished the season with 21-10 overall record and 13-5 in the Big Ten, placing second in the final conference standings.

TECH VS. IOWA
• Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 1-0, a 76-57 win on Nov. 28, 2007 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena during the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
• Tech is 7-3 all-time against Big Ten opponents and 4-1 under head coach MaChelle Joseph.
• The only opponent both teams faced this season was Michigan State. Tech defeated the Spartans, while the Hawkeyes lost their only game against Michigan State.

LOOKING BACK: NNAMAKA LEADS TECH TO 76-57 WIN OVER IOWA
IOWA CITY, IOWA – Chioma Nnamaka knocked down five three-point field goals on her way to a game-high 24 points to lead Georgia Tech (5-0) to a 76-57 win over Iowa (4-2) in the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Nov. 28, 2007. With the score tied at 50, Tech went on a 26-7 run over the final 7:12 to close out the game. Nnamaka scored 17 of her 24 points in the second half to help the Jackets pull away from the Hawkeyes. Janie Mitchell scored 18 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for her 14th career double-double and Brigitte Ardossi added 14 points off the bench, including nine in the second half, to help Tech earn the win over a taller Iowa squad. The Yellow Jackets outrebounded the Hawkeyes 35-32 and forced 26 Iowa turnovers.

GEORGIA TECH IN THE BIG DANCE
The Yellow Jackets are 1-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament … Tech is 1-2 under head coach MaChelle Joseph in the NCAA Tournament … This is the third straight appearance and fifth overall in the tournament for Tech … This marks the second straight year the Jackets will travel to Iowa for the first two rounds of the tournament … In all five of the Yellow Jackets appearances, Tech has played in the Midwest (1993-Evanston, Ill., 2003-Lafayette, Ind., 2007-Minneapolis, Minn., 2008-Des Moines, Iowa, 2009-Iowa City, Iowa) … The Jackets will have played at least 31 games in the season for the third straight year … Nine teams on the Yellow Jackets 2008-09 schedule are in the 2009 NCAA Tournament field … The Jackets finished 4-6 against NCAA Tournament teams … This marks the second straight year Tech has faced three teams that have earned No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament during the regular season … Tech is 0-1 on March 22nd while playing the NCAA Tournament.

COACH JO GETS NUMBER 1-OH-OH
In just her sixth season at the helm, Coach MaChelle Joseph has already recorded the second-most wins in Tech history. Joseph has registered a 105-75 (.583) record and is the fastest coach in school history to win 100. She has led Tech to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournaments. She registered her 100th victory on Feb. 1, 2009 against Clemson. She has led the Jackets to their third straight 20-win season, a first for the program.

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.

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 69 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 107 steals and has 368 on her career. She is ranked seventh all-time in the ACC after passing former North Carolina standout Marion Jones. She currently leads the ACC and ranks fourth in the nation in steals with 3.6 per game.

NOT JUST A DEFENDER
Jacqua Williams has been known as a defensive-specialist since she came to Georgia Tech but those days have come to an end. Not only has she become one of the best defensive players in the ACC, but she is just as strong on the offensive side of the ball. Williams is averaging 11.7 points per contest and has scored in double-figures in 21 of Tech’s 30 games. She also leads the team with 97 assists on the year and has grabbed 3.3 rebounds a game. She has tied Alex Stewart for the most games played in Georgia Tech history with 121 in her four years on the Flats.

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. She has played in 95 straight games, every game since coming to the Flats, and has started 47 of those contests.

Coach Joseph expected big things from her Aussie post-player in 2008-09 and she has gotten a large return. Ardossi, who has elevated her game to a new level, is scoring 7.5 points a game and grabbing 4.3 rebounds per game. She is also knocking down her free-throw attempts at an 82.7% clip. She had hit 19 straight free-throws going back to the Winthrop game, before missing one at Wake Forest.

On Dec. 5, Ardossi helped Tech defeat its archrival Georgia with her first career double-double (15 pts, 10 reb). She also came off the bench against Maryland to score 16 points and grab five rebounds.

MOVING OUT
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, with the addition of some taller players to the Jackets roster, Hemingway has been able to move to the wing. She has had a chance to not only post up players her height, but she has taken the ball to the basket and has boxed out smaller guards for rebounds.

Hemingway is averaging 10.9 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, while recording two double-doubles this season (vs. Georgia State, at Clemson). Hemingway has also shown a knack for getting to the free-throw line, with 134 attempts so far and is shooting 66 percent from the charity stripe.

GOODLETT IS GOOD
During the preseason, 6-5 Sasha Goodlett made a “big” impression on the coaching staff and has added a new dimension to the Yellow Jackets lineup. Joseph called her 2007-08 squad “the best 6-0 and under team in the country” and Goodlett has not dissapointed. She has become the true center the Yellow Jackets have been missing. Along with Goodlett, Tech now lists five players at 6-2 or taller. She has started 28 of the Jackets 30 games and has scored in double-figures in five ACC games including a career-best 20 points vs. NC State. Her 29 blocked shots are tied for the fourth-most by a freshman in Georgia Tech history.

SIXTH (WO)MAN
Most teams are lucky enough to have a solid starting five, but this season, Joseph feels she can list six starters on her roster. Sophomore Deja Foster has shown the ability to step on the court and make an instant impact for the Jackets. Foster is averaging 27.0 minutes and has started 12 games this season, including the last eight contests.

Foster is scoring 9.2 points a game and is averaging 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Foster had scored in double-figures in six straight games before being held to eight points and eight rebounds in the Jackets’ ACC Tournament first round loss to Clemson.

MAKING A POINT
Freshman Metra Walthour, the only true point guard on the roster, has started three straight games for the Yellow Jackets and has shown the ability to control the offense and play Yellow Jacket defense. She has stepped up to become the point guard the team has needed all season long. After playing a career-high 34 minutes in Tech’s win over NC State, “Me-Me” dished out eight assists and registered only one turnover in her homecoming against Savannah State. She has started the six of the last seven games and is averaging 27.6 minutes in those starts, while dishing out 27 assists. The Jackets are averaging 17.3 turnovers when she starts combined to 22.5 when she is not starting.

FULL COURT PRESS
Last season, Georgia Tech finished the season with a school record 456 steals and led the NCAA with 14.3 thefts 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 offense offbalance. Joseph wants her team to “be an impressive running defensive team that creates opportunities for the offense.” Tech is once again leading the nation by averaging a staggering 14.0 steals a game. The Jackets 420 steals this season are good for the second-best season total in the program’s history.

The Yellow Jackets have scored 695 points off turnovers and are averaging 23.2 points per contest off those opponent turnovers.

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