Jan. 8, 2012
By Jon Cooper
– After serving as guests for back-to-back ACC home openers, Georgia Tech gets its opportunity to host its conference home opener against 12th-ranked Miami. Tip-off at The Arena at Gwinnett Center is at 7:00 p.m.
The Jackets are looking to bounce back from Friday night’s heartbreaking 77-74 loss at No. 5 Maryland. Sasha Goodlett had a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double, Ty Marshall added 16 and LaQuananisha Adams grabbed a team- and game-high tying 11 rebounds. The Jackets used a 16-0 run to take an 11-point half time lead, then made an 11-0 spurt, that extended the lead to 20 with 17:39 to play But Alyssa Thomas scored 18 second-half points, including a short jumper in the lane with 17 seconds remaining, to give Maryland the lead for good.
The Hurricanes evened their ACC record at 1-1, beating N.C. State, 78-68, Thursday night at the BankUnited Center in its ACC home opener. Riquana Williams scored a game-high 22 points to lead four double-figure scorers as the Hurricanes saw their 20-point lead trimmed to five before going on a 12-0 run to pull away. The win was Miami’s school-record 33rd straight at home, the third-longest streak in the nation.
Tonight’s game can be seen on ESPN3, with Mike Morgan and Maria Taylor on the broadcast. Tech fans can catch tonight’s game on WREK, 91.1 FM or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and Michele Van Gorp 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.
Now, the Starting Five for tonight’s game.
The Last Time We Met: Last season was not a banner one for the Yellow Jackets against Miami and ended on a sour note as the Hurricanes came away with a 70-59 victory in the Jackets’ final game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Ty Marshall had a team-high 15 and seniors Alex Montgomery and Deja Foster both had superb final home games, with Montgomery going for 13 points and 11 boards, while Foster had nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, with four rebounds. The Hurricanes extended a one-point halftime lead by shooting 51.9 percent in the second half. Riquna Williams scored a game-high 32 to lead the ‘Canes.
Weather-Proof: Last year’s sweep at the hands of Miami was quite rare. In fact, it marked only the second losing streak in the series for Georgia Tech since the schools became ACC rivals in 2005. Prior to last season, the Yellow Jackets had won 10 of the previous 11 games in the series and had lost only once at home to Miami. Of the 10 wins, seven weren’t particularly close, only three were by fewer than 14 points and the average margin of victory was 15.2 points. The series appears to be tightening up as the teams have split the last four games, with only one game decided by more than 10 (the 70-59 Tech loss at Miami last Feb. 27).
Rank This: While all four of Georgia Tech’s losses this season have come against ranked teams, the Yellow Jackets are quite used to taking down the top 25, especially when they’re in the ACC. Tech has 32 wins all-time against ranked teams, with 28 of them coming against conference foes. Under Joseph the Jackets have recorded nine of those wins. Joseph knows all about beating ranked teams, as she was part of Purdue teams that knocked off 13 ranked squads in her four years. A win today would be historic, as Tech has never beaten Miami when the Hurricanes are ranked.
Feelin’ It: Metra Walthour is off to a hot start in her final ACC season. Walthour has started conference play with her first back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts of the season, Me-Me has five field goals in both games 47.6 percent shooting (10-for-21) and is a blazing 60 percent from three (6-for-10, 3-for-5 in each game). She also has 11 assists vs. six turnovers in the two games. Walthour is a career 30.2 percent shooter in ACC play, 29.5 from three. Her hot streak actually extends to her last six games, as in those games she has four double-figure efforts and four five-field goal games, while shooting 47.1 percent.
Oh Thank Heaven For 7-11: Center LaQuananisa Adams had a monster game on the boards against Maryland. In a season-high 26 minutes, the senior grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds, including a career-best seven coming on the offensive glass. In fact, the 11 boards match Adams’ best two-game effort this season. The senior has gathered 17 caroms in Tech’s first two ACC games, having pulled in six in the conference opener at NC State.
The Sixth Man: Georgia Tech has done a good job in the turnover battle against ranked teams and has taken advantage of the takeaways. The Jackets have committed 24 fewer turnovers (68-92) and hold an 89-66 edge in points off turnovers against No. 13 Rutgers, No. 18 Green Bay, No. 14 Georgia and No. 5 Maryland. Against the Terps, the Jackets was plus-eight in turnovers (19-11) and had a 27-13 edge in points off them.
MIAMI LEADING SCORER: Riquna Williams, 16.5 ppg
LEADING SCORER (ACC): Riquna Williams, 19.0 ppg
MIAMI LEADING REBOUNDER: Shenise Johnson, 7.6 rpg
LEADING REBOUNDER (ACC): Morgan Stroman, 6.5 rpg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING/ACC: 73.9/75.0
MIAMI SCORING/ACC: 82.4/70.5
MIAMI PLAYER TO WATCH: Shenise Johnson – The returning ACC Player of the Year and its Preseason Player of the Year, the 5-11 senior guard has hit for double figures in every game this season and is on a run of 86 straight games in which she’s scored at least 10 points. It’s the longest streak of any player in the country. She’s third in the ACC in assists (5.3 apg) and is fourth in assists-to-turnover ratio (2.1). Williams also takes care of business on the defensive end, as her 3.9 steals per game lead the ACC and are sixth in the country.