THE FLATS — Senior Zaire O’Neil became the 30th Yellow Jacket in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history to cross the 1,000-career point plateau Sunday afternoon as Tech defeated South Carolina State in the home opener, 86-40.
“I liked the way we shared the basketball,” commented head coach MaChelle Joseph. “Obviously it was a great day for Zaire O’Neil to get her 1,000th point. But I thought it was the way she did it that made it special. The fact that she was really unselfish there to start the game and made a lot of extra passes to get her teammates involved. I thought it was a total team effort and getting to play that many people double minutes is a luxury to have this early in the season.”
How It Happened
Elo Edeferioka opened the game jumpstarting a quick 6-0 Jacket run combined with forcing two SC State turnovers as the Lady Bulldogs called a timeout with less than a minute expired in the game. After an early back-and-forth exchange between the squads, Antonia Peresson connected on a three-pointer that sparked a 9-0 Tech run to open a double-digit lead that the Jackets would never relinquish. The Jackets grabbed their first 20-point advantage off a Breanna Brown layup midway through the second quarter as Tech led 47-21 at the halftime break.
Tech continued to dominate in the second half, pushing its lead out to as many as 50 points on two occasions. For the game, Tech shot 44.9 percent (35-78) while limiting SC State to a 30.6 percent (15-49) clip. Tech saw offensive contribution from 11 different Jackets that also dished out 17 assists.
* O’Neil became the 30th player in program history to cross the 1,000-career point milestone
* Four Jackets finished in double-figure scoring numbers led by Francesca Pan with 14 points
* Kaylan Pugh contributed 13 points; Brown added 12 points and O’Neil finished with 10 points — all coming off the bench as Tech picked up 50 points off the bench
* Tech won the rebounding battle, 45-36, led by Edeferioka and Chanin Scott each with seven boards
* Freshman Kierra Fletcher earned her second collegiate start and finished with seven points and five assists
* Edeferioka recorded a team-best five steals as Tech finished with 20 steals for the game
The Jackets return to the court on Wednesday, Nov. 15 welcoming Kennesaw State to McCamish Pavilion at 7 p.m.