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Senior Ardossi making a last and lasting impression

Jan. 19, 2010

by Jon Cooper, Contributing Editor

ATLANTA — Thursday night’s Georgia Tech-Wake Forest game wasn’t for the faint-hearted.

It was a game full of rough play, lots of hard picks, grabbing, pushing, bumping and even some elbows, leaving bodies strewn all over the floor. Georgia Tech, which had led by as many as 14, had suddenly found its lead cut to five. Coach MaChelle Joseph knew exactly where to turn.

It was time for Brigitte Ardossi to take over.

The Melbourne, Australia, native hit a jumper extending the lead to seven. After Wake cut the lead back to five, she hit another.

“One of the things we talked about the last three minutes of the half was, ‘Brigitte you need to own these last three minutes,'” said Joseph. “She really went to work. We gave her the ball and she got it done for us.”

It was the same story in the second half. Wake cut the lead to one, Ardossi hit a foul shot to extend the lead. After two Tech foul shots, she grabbed a defensive rebound, and then at the other end hit a jumper to push the lead to six. At one point, she scored six straight points to push the lead to nine. A few minutes later she would draw a charge that fouled out Wake star Brittany Waters. It seemed like whatever Tech needed Ardossi supplied it.

It’s been that kind of year for her.

Ardossi has been named Georgia Tech female student-athlete of the week after leading the Jackets to two conference victories.

She shot 45 percent from the field and 75.9 percent from the free-throw line. She led Tech with 19 points and eight boards and four steals in win over Clemson. She recorded her third double-double of the season with a career-high 29 points and 11 boards in win over Wake Forest . The senior extended her double-figure scoring streak to 12 games (now 13 after a loss Sunday at Boston College), and has scored in double figures in 18 of Tech’s 20 games. Ardossi has recorded at least four steals in a game six times.

“Brigitte’s been outstanding all year,” said Joseph. “The biggest thing with her in the past has been she’s been inconsistent. This year she hasn’t. She’s been consistent every night on both ends. She’s always been one of our best defenders in the post, she’s always been the player that would do all the dirty work, do the little things, taking charges, get rebounds, set great screens. But now she’s become as determined on the offensive end and, obviously, it’s paying off.”

Ardossi has led the team in scoring seven times and in rebounding five times, is Tech’s leading scorer (14.2 ppg), shooter (.526), rebounder (6.8) and free-throw shooter (.788).

Living up to Joseph’s expectations may not have been as hard as living up to her own — once she figured out what they were.

“You come through a Division I college like this and you don’t ever come in expecting to start,” said Ardossi, who starred on the Melbourne Tigers Championship Division Team and prior to coming to Tech was part of the Under-20 Australian National Junior Championships Team. “You can’t come in with any kind of expectations because usually your expectations are going to change. I know my freshman year my expectations changed day to day.

“I came in expecting to play at the highest level and work as hard as I possibly could to be able to get myself into this position now,” she continued. “The past couple of years I’ve been able to work on my weaknesses and I think that’s really helped me this year.”

Ardossi has not only been productive, she’s been durable. She has started every game this season — she’s made 68 in her career — and has played in 116 consecutive games. All of them at full speed and at both ends of the floor.

She has scored in double-digits in all but two games this season — one of those was the quickly out-of-hand season-opener against Winthrop — and is playing a career-best 28.1 minutes, only twice playing below 20 minutes (one of those also was Winthrop).

Ardossi has stepped up since conference play began, as she’s scoring17.5 points and grabbing 7.8 rebounds in 31.5 minutes in ACC action.She has two of her three double-doubles in the team’s four conference games.

“I’m really enjoying the ways she plays,” said junior guard Alex Montgomery. “I love playing with her and I’m loving how she’s dominating on the defensive end and the offensive end. She’s doing it all-around.”

She’s also doing it in places where in the past she had not. After being shut out in two games against North Carolina, Ardossi recorded a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) in 33 minutes.

But, showing her maturity, there was no trace of satisfaction following the 89-78 loss.

“It was very disappointing,” she said. “I had a double-double but that’s something that you don’t focus on when the team is 10 points down. I’m never satisfied when we get a loss.

“I just want to get wins,” she added. “I need the rest of my team to get those wins with me. It’s not about an individual focus at all.”

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