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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (10-13, 3-9, ACC) vs. No. 16/18 North Carolina (21-3, 9-2 ACC)

Feb. 9, 2013

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Georgia Tech will face a tough test on a quick turnaround Sunday when they host No. 16/18 North Carolina in a special Play4Kay Day game. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

The Yellow Jackets dropped a tough 63-61 decision Friday night at McCamish to Virginia Tech. Ty Marshall scored 15 points on 7-for-15 shooting to lead three Yellow Jackets in double figures. Dawnn Maye chipped in with 14 and Aaliyah Whiteside added 11. The loss was Tech’s seventh in its last nine games and fifth in six conference home games. The Jackets led by as much as nine in the first half and 33-31 at the break. They still led just inside of nine minutes but allowed a 9-1 run that put them down seven. They nearly came all the way back, but neither Marshall’s jumper with :50 left nor her driving attempt with eight seconds left would fall. Tech had a 22-10 edge off turnovers, creating 18, and had a 36-22 edge in points in the paint.

The Tar Heels are coming off an emotional 80-52 win on Thursday night at Boston College. The win was the 900th in the career of Coach Sylvia Hatchell, making her the sixth coach and only the third women’s coach to reach 900 wins. Hatchell moved into a tie for second-place all-time with Judy Conradt, behind only the legendary Pat Summitt. Xylina McDaniel had 15 points and seven rebounds, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 14 with six rebounds and six assists and Krista Gross chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds. Carolina never trailed in winning its third in four games and fourth in five ACC road games. A 15-2 run midway through the first half broke open a close game and a 15-4 run early in the second half pushed the lead to 27 as the Heels cruised home.

Today’s game will be the final regular season meeting this season and 70th meeting in a series that dates back to 1980. The Tar Heels hold a 52-17 overall edge. The Jackets are 9-22 in games played in Atlanta but have won three straight home games in the series. This is the first meeting at McCamish Pavilion.

The game can be seen on ESPNU with Michele Smith and LaChina Robinson calling the action. The game also can be heard on WREK, 91.1 FM, or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and LaQuananisha Adams on the call. Fans can get live stats on RamblinWreck.com and also can get instant updates by following the team on Twitter at @GTWBB and can get more information on the team by liking them on Facebook, GTWomensBasketball.

And now, the Starting Five for this morning’s game.

Pink Power: Georgia Tech will have a special look today, as they’ll be wearing special jerseys and shoes signifying its participation in the annual Play4Kay game. The game is part of an annual initiative between the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and The V Foundation to help raise awareness and money in the fight against breast cancer. Yow, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, was head coach at North Carolina State from 1975 through 2009. She courageously fought breast cancer and was active in raising awareness for more than two decades before finally succumbing in 2009.

The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech’s five-game series winning streak was snapped in a 79-58 loss at Carmichael Arena on Jan. 13. Brittany Jackson led the Jackets with 20 points, nailing 4-of-9 threes, and Ty Marshall added 15 on 7-for-19 shooting. The Jackets struggled offensively in the first half, shooting 24.2 percent and going 1-for-7 from three (14.3 percent). Carolina went on a 22-0 run, holding the Tech without a point for over 8:30 in opening up a 41-17 halftime lead. They led by as much as 27 in the second half.

10th and Climbing: Junior Ty Marshall joined elite company when she hit her layup with 2:16 left in Friday night’s game. With the bucket Marshall moved into 10th place in scoring in school history. She enters today’s game with 1,365 points, one more than Sasha Goodlett, with whom Marshall had teamed her first two season on The Flats, and two more than Fallon Stokes, who starred at Tech from 2001 through 2004. Next for Marshall are Janie Mitchell (2005-08) and Kate Brandt (1981-84), who are tied for eighth, 57 points ahead of Marshall, with 1,422. It might not take Marshall long to catch up, as she has has averaged 22 points over her last five games.

10th and Climbing II: Sydney Wallace also crashed the school’s top 10 on Friday, doing so in three-point field goals made. The sophomore sensation, playing in only her 57th game, canned her 79th career three-pointer at the 7:23 mark of the first half. The shot tied her with Christie Finney, who hit 79 from 1991 through 1995. Within range of Wallace this season are Stephanie Higgs, who hit 86 between 2004 and 2007 and Selena Baldwin, who sits in 8th with 101, made between 1990 and 93. Wallace has hit multiple three-pointers in each of the last six games, during which she’s shooting 44.0 percent (22-for-50) from downtown. Prior to this stretch, Wallace had five multiple three-point games all season and her longest streak had been four games (Dec. 29-Jan. 6). In fact, her eight-point night against Virginia Tech snapped a streak of back-to-back-to-back 20-point games.

Some Like It Hot: There have been some really hotly contested games in recent years in the Georgia Tech-North Carolina rivalry and as far as the Yellow Jackets are concerned, the closer, the better. In the six victories over the Tar Heels in the MaChelle Joseph era, including the five-game winning streak that was snapped last month, the Jackets’ largest margin of victory was seven, done twice. The other five games were decided by a total of eight points. Tech has broken even in close games this season, going 4-4 in games decided by seven-or-fewer points. Their loss to Virginia Tech on Friday snapped a modest two-game winning streak in such games.

The Sixth Man: When Brittany Jackson went 10-for-10 from the foul line against NC State on Jan. 27th. It was the first time a Jacket had done that since Brigitte Ardossi did it against North Carolina on Feb. 26, 2010. The Jackets won that game, 64-57 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, starting their five-game winning streak against the Tar Heels…Dawnn Maye came to life against the Hokies, scoring 14 points, on 6-for-11 shooting, with five rebounds and four steals. The 14 points were one fewer than her previous three games combined. Her six field goals matched the total of her previous three games, and her four steals were one more than her last three games. She’s had four assists in each of the last three games…Aaliyah Whiteside also snapped out of a slump against Va. Tech. Whiteside went for 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting, 2-for-4 from three. In her previous four games she’d totaled 12 points, two field goals, and two three-pointers. Whiteside had been 2-for-16 over her previous three games…Georgia Tech has had the edge in points off turnovers in seven of its last 10 games.

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 16.8 ppg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING SCORER: Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, 14.1 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER (ACC): Tyaunna Marshall, 17.6 ppg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING SCORER (ACC): Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, 13.8 ppg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Tyaunna Marshall, 8.6 rpg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING REBOUNDER: Xylina McDaniel, 7.2 rpg

GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER(ACC): Tyaunna Marshall, 8.3 rpg
NORTH CAROLINA LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Krista Gross, 7.0 rpg

GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 66.6/66.2 ppg.
OPPONENT: 67.5/72.3 ppg.

NORTH CAROLINA SCORING: 68.8/66.5 (ACC) ppg.
OPPONENT: 58.2/62.6 (ACC) ppg.

NORTH CAROLINA PLAYER TO WATCH: Tierra Ruffin-Pratt – The 5-10 senior guard is going out with a bang. She’s leading the Tar Heels and is 15th in the ACC at 13.8 ppg in conference play, is second in assists per game, with 5.4 apg, is fourth in steals, making 2.4 spg, and is eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.1. She’s led the Heels in scoring 11 times, in assists 18 times, and even in rebounding once. Ruffin-Pratt has the most double-figure scoring games on the team with 19 and has reached double-digits in seven straight games and 14 of the last 15 — she had nine in the one game she missed, Jan. 10 at NC State.

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