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Starting Five: Georgia Tech (18-8, 6-4) vs. North Carolina State (10-13, 1-7)

Feb. 12, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 13.9 ppg
TECH LEADING SCORER, ACC: Tyaunna Marshall, 13.6 ppg

N.C. STATE LEADING SCORER: Bonae Holston, 15.9 ppg
N.C. STATE LEADING SCORER, ACC: Bonae Holston, 17.3 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Alex Montgomery, 8.5 rpg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Alex Montgomery, 8.2 rpg

N.C. STATE LEADING REBOUNDER: Bonae Holston, 8.1 rpg
N.C. STATE LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Bonae Holston, 7.5 rpg

TECH SCORING: 65.6/ppg/62.3 (ACC)
OPPONENT: 54.2 ppg/59.7 (ACC)

N.C. STATE SCORING: 73.9 ppg/70.8 (ACC)
OPPONENT: 68.3 ppg/76.0 (ACC)

N.C. STATE PLAYER TO WATCH: Bonae Holston – The junior forward is a double-double machine, as she has 15 for her career, seven of them this season. State’s 27th career 1,000-point scorer, Holston ranks third in the ACC in scoring, is sixth in rebounding, and has seven 20-point games this season, including a career-high 30 against Florida State on Jan. 30.

With the regular season down to its final four games, Georgia Tech will try to gain some momentum for the postseason hosting a Sunday evening contest against North Carolina State. Tip-off at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is at 5:00 p.m.

Tech will don pink uniforms and sneakers as part of its annual Pink Zone game.

The Yellow Jackets will try to avoid its season-high fourth straight loss when they take on the Wolfpack. The Jackets dropped a 73-60 decision to No. 19/15 Florida State on Friday night in Tallahassee. It was their third straight loss, all to top-20 teams. Ty Marshall led the Jackets with 18 points, but Tech shot only 34.3 percent, 23.5 from behind the arc. The loss dropped the Jackets to sixth in the conference, one game behind Maryland and two behind Miami, coincidentally, the other two teams that have beaten Tech in this recent skid.

The Wolfpack hasn’t played since losing, 94-92, Thursday night in a school-record four-overtime thriller against Virginia, which was decided on a buzzer-beater. State played all but 17 seconds of the four OTs without leading scorer and rebounder, Holston, who fouled out early in the first extra session. The ‘Pack has lost seven of its last eight overall, but beat Tech in its last meeting, 54-46, last Feb. 28, in Raleigh. The win ending a three-game series losing streak.

Georgia Tech hasn’t fared well in the series with State, having won only 18 of 58 meetings, but is 11-16 in games at AMC, and has won five of the last six home meetings.

Today’s game will be regionally televised on ESPN2, with Jon Sciambi doing the play-by-play and LaChina Robinson providing the color. As always, Tech fans can catch the game on WREK, 91.1 FM or online at www.WREK.org. Richard Musterer calls the action with Kyle Tait adding color analysis. Fans can get live stats by logging onto Ramblinwreck.com.

Now, the Starting Five for tonight’s game.

Home Sweet Home: Georgia Tech really likes home cooking, and do some of their best cooking at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Jackets are 12-2 at home this season and boast a 93-26 record at AMC in the MaChelle Joseph ERA. In fact, Tech has not lost more than two games at home since 2006-07, when they dropped three, and haven’t lost back-to-back games at home this season. Tech last fell in back-to-back home tilts last Feb. 15 and 19 when they lost to top-10 teams Florida State and Duke.

On Your Marks, Get Set…: Tech’s last two losses have seen the team come out in uncharacteristically slow fashion. The Jackets have trailed at halftime in each of the last two games, the first time all season they’ve trailed after 20 minutes in back-to-back games. Cold first-first half shooting hasn’t helped, as in the two games they’ve shot only 36.1 percent (17-for-47), and have really struggled from three, converting at 23.8 percent (5-for-21). The Yellow Jackets are 15-2 this season when taking a leading at intermission.

FTM-provement: Tyaunna Marshall was almost perfect from the line Friday night in Tallahassee, converting 6 of 7 attempts. The six free throws made were her best on the road this season and were one off her season-best, a 7-for-8 night in the ACC opener against North Carolina. The freshman snapped out of a two-game slump from the line, during which she made three of eight tries (3-for-6 at Miami, 0-for-2 vs. Maryland). Marshall, who leads the team with 88 free throw attempts, is shooting 59.1 percent from the line on the year.

Stealing the Show: Marshall’s game-high three steals against Florida State — only two fewer than the entire Seminoles team — gave her at least one swipe in four straight games (her high is seven straight games). She’s now third on the team with 42 steals and has gone only five games all season without recording at least one theft. Marshall has learned well from the example of the upperclassmen, as junior Metra Walthour is tied for fourth in the ACC with 2.7 steals per game in ACC play, while senior Alex Montgomery is tied for 10th, with 1.9 spg and fellow senior Deja Foster is 13th with 1.7 spg, giving Tech three players in the conference’s top 15 in steals.

5 and Dimes: Walthour is not only tenacious on the court, she’s hard to get off it, as her 35.7 minutes per game lead the ACC. That’s up seven minutes a game from last season and nearly 14 from her career average. “Me-Me” is making good use of her time, as she ranks is second in the conference in assists (4.4 per game) and is fourth in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio, at plus-1.8. Her negative assist-to-turnover margin against Florida State (2 assists vs. 3 turnovers) was very much an aberration, as it was only the third time she had a minus game all season.

The Sixth Man: There’s never been any doubt about Deja Foster’s desire. That desire is showing up in all kinds of ways, as she’s in the top 20 in the ACC in rebounding, with 6.0 per game, and offensive rebounding, where her 2.9 ORPG tie for eighth in the conference. Foster is an equal opportunity rebounder, as she’s grabbed 59 on the offensive end and 54 defensively. In ACC play she’s as consistent, pulling 29 offensive and 31 defensive caroms. Her 29 offensive rebounds are second on the team to Sasha Goodlett, who has 31.

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