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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (13-4, 1-0) vs. Clemson (8-8, 1-0)

Jan. 8, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

TECH LEADING SCORER: Alex Montgomery, 14.7 ppg/13.0
CLEMSON LEADING SCORER: Sthefany Thomas, 12.9 ppg/23.0

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Alex Montgomery, 8.6 rpg/9.0
CLEMSON LEADING REBOUNDER: Jasmine Tate, 7.5 rpg/8.0

TECH SCORING: 67.6 ppg/71.0
OPPONENT: 52.3 ppg/70.0

CLEMSON SCORING: 61.8 ppg/76.0
OPPONENT: 64.1 ppg/74.0

CLEMSON PLAYER TO WATCH: Sthefany Thomas – The senior wing is going out with a bang, averaging career-highs in scoring, rebounding and assists and has already set a single-season-best for three-point field goals made (37). Thomas is shooting 36.1 percent from behind the arc and is third in the ACC with 2.3 three-pointers per game. She’s made as many as five three-pointers in three different games and scored a career-high 23 in the win over N.C. State on Thursday night.

Following one of the most dramatic wins in school history, Georgia Tech looks to go 2-0 in ACC play when they visit Littlejohn Coliseum to play Clemson. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets have won 10 straight, the longest streak in the MaChelle Joseph era and longest in eight years, and will look to avoid an emotional letdown following their 71-70 win over North Carolina at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night. Ty Marshall scored a game-high 24 and grabbed seven rebounds in her ACC debut, while Metra Walthour’s clutch three with 25 seconds left capped a Jackets’ 8-0 run in the final 64 seconds. Alex Montgomery added 13 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

The Tigers are 1-0 in conference play, knocking off N.C. State, 76-74, in Raleigh on Thursday night. Sthefany Thomas put in a career-high 23, giving first-year head coach Itoro Coleman her first conference win. The win was the second straight for the Tigers following a six-game losing streak.

Clemson holds a 42-22 all-time edge in the series, but Georgia Tech has won 9 of the last 10 — the lone loss coming at the 2009 ACC Tournament — and four straight at Littlejohn.

This afternoon’s game will be televised by CSS with Fred Cunningham and Debbie Leonard on the call. The game can be heard on WREK 91.1 FM. Richard Musterer and Kyle Tait call the action. Fans also can follow the game on Ramblinwreck.com.

Now, the Starting Five for today’s game.

Good Things Come In Threes: Three was a magic number for Georgia Tech and Co-Captain Deja Foster on Thursday night. Foster scored three points, while making three steals and dishing out three assists in the victory over Carolina, her third straight home win for over the Heels. Foster’s second and third points cut UNC’s deficit to 70-68, with 28 seconds left, then her third steal, off Jessica Breland’s inbounds pass, led to her third assist, the game-winning three-pointer by Walthour, fittingly, three seconds after her basket.

Deja’s House: Foster likes Littlejohn, as two of her best days have come there. She had her best days in Clemson back on Feb. 22, 2009. Foster set her career-high with 24 points, while making a career-best 10 field goals in a career-high 19 attempts, a not-too-shabby 52.6 percent shooting. Last year at Littlejohn, Foster scored 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting in the Jackets’ 68-53 romp.

The Bigger They Come…: Tyaunna Marshall answered any questions about whether she would be able to keep up her stellar play in ACC competition Thursday night. Marshall shot 8-for-20, and hit seven of eight free throw attempts, while fearlessly challenging the gargantuan Tar Heel frontline. Big competition doesn’t rattle Marshall as she has scored in double-figures in four of five games against ranked teams. The freshman is averaging 17.6 points in those games (23 vs. UConn, 17 against Georgetown, 4 vs. Tennessee, 20 against Georgia and 24 against North Carolina). Take away the four-point game against Tennessee and she’s averaged 21.0 points a game.

She’s A 10: Alex Montgomery’s 13 points against UNC moved her into sole possession of 10th place in Georgia Tech’s all-time scoring list. Montgomery passed Stephanie Higgs with her jumper at 18:22 of the first half and is coming up on Fallon Stokes, who is only 35 points ahead. Alex has moved up 10 spots in the career-scoring list this season. Montgomery, who already has cracked the top 10 in rebounding, is about to join another exclusive club, 700 rebounds. She enters today’s game with 684 career boards. Montgomery, who has averaged 10 rpg over her last three games, has a career-best of 15, set last year against UNC.

Glass Plus: Georgia Tech put in another blue-collar effort on the boards against North Carolina, outrebounding the Tar Heels, 39-29. Carolina came in averaging 51.3 rebounds per game, Tech especially dominated the glass in the second half, when they held a 21-10 edge, 12-2 on the offensive end. For the year, the Jackets are averaging 40.7 rebounds per game, and are plus-9.5 in rebounding margin. This year they’ve out-rebounded top 25 teams Connecticut (40-38), Georgetown (35-30), Tennessee (37-36) and Carolina. Clemson is last in the ACC in rebounding, at 39.1 rpg and have a slim plus-1.1 margin, also last in the conference.

The Sixth Man: Coach Jo’s goal of making more free throws than Tech’s opponent takes was met big time on Thursday, as the Jackets scored 21 points while Carolina managed only 11 free throw attempts and eight points. It was the third straight game and 10th time this season that the Jackets accomplished this goal. In fact, Marshall (7-for-8) and Sasha Goodlett (5-for-8), combined for 12 points, with Marshall, alone, nearly outscored Carolina from the line.

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