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Starting Five: No. 19 Georgia Tech (18-5, 6-1) at. No. 24 Miami (19-2, 5-1)

Jan. 29, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

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

MIAMI LEADING SCORER: Riquna Williams, 21.1 ppg
MIAMI LEADING SCORER, ACC: Riquna Williams, 25.0 ppg

TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Alex Montgomery, 8.3 rpg
TECH LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Alex Montgomery, 7.6 rpg

MIAMI LEADING REBOUNDER: Shenise Johnson, 8.0 rpg
MIAMI LEADING REBOUNDER, ACC: Shenise Johnson, 7.2 rpg

TECH SCORING: 65.7/ppg/62/0 (ACC)
OPPONENT: 52.9 ppg/56.7 (ACC)

MIAMI SCORING: 81.0 ppg/72.7 (ACC)
OPPONENT: 57.2 ppg/62.2 (ACC)

MIAMI PLAYER TO WATCH: Riquna Williams: With so much attention having to be paid to Shenise Johnson, Johnson’s back court mate, Williams is getting space and is taking advantage, as she’s leading the ACC in scoring — Johnson is second, by a bucket per game. In addition, the sophomore guard, who is 12th in the nation in scoring. also is in the top 10 in the ACC in free throw percentage (79.0, third), steals (3.2 spg, fourth), three-point field goals made (2.1, sixth) and minutes, 29.9 mpg, eighth).

It will be a battle of top-25 teams when Georgia Tech invades Coral Gables to take on the University of Miami. Tip-off at the BankUnited Center is at 3:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets are looking to make it three straight wins and two straight on the road in the ACC, knocking off Virginia Tech, 78-57, in Blacksburg in their last game, on Thursday. Ty Marshall had a game-high 22 points, eight of them coming in a crucial 12-2 run late in the first half that broke open a close game. GT would lead by as many as 32 in the second half.

The ‘Canes have been tough to beat anywhere, but especially at the BUC, where they are 16-0 this season and have won their last 20 games. Miami won its last time out, topping N.C. State, 84-77, on Thursday night. Riquna Williams had a game-high 27 points, while Morgan Stroman added 18 and Shenise Johnson had 17, and the Hurricanes converted 20 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points. It was UM’s first game since their 17-game winning streak was snapped by Florida State in Tallahassee on Monday.

Georgia Tech holds an 11-7 edge all-time against the U, but is 11-4 in the MaChelle Joseph Era and has won five straight and 10 of 11. Tech has broken even in eight trips to South Beach. but is 4-2 under Joseph and has won three of the last four games in Miami.

Today’s game will be televised on CSS, with Jason Solodkin doing the play-by-play and Robin Muller 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.

As Easy As 1-2-3?: Georgia Tech continues to prove that the best offense is a good defense. The Yellow Jackets defense is the best in the ACC and has already shut down the conference’s top scoring team, Boston College, and the second-highest scoring team, North Carolina. Miami currently stands in third, scoring 81.0 ppg. In beating B.C. and UNC, the Jackets held the Eagles, who came in averaging 82.8 points per game to 54, while the Tar Heels, who were scoring 86.9, managed only 70.

That’s Our Ty: After a pair of off games against Duke and Boston College, Ty Marshall broke out against Virginia Tech. Marshall, who had eight points combined in the previous two games, went off for 22, a three-pointer off her career-best, while shooting a sizzling 8-for-10, 2-for-2 from three. The eight field goals were the most she’d made since the ACC opener against North Carolina, while the two three-pointers were a season-high and matched her total for 3-FGMs over the previous 22 games.

Downtown Closed: Heading into the Boston College game back on Jan. 23, we talked about the resilience of Alex Montgomery — and there may not be a more resilient player on the Jackets — following her 0-fer day against Duke. While a bounce-back is expected following her second 0-fer day in three games, there may be cause for concern in the sudden drought from three. Montgomery has made only two threes in 20 attempts over her last five games, including an 0-for-6 night against Virginia Tech. Prior to this recent skid Montgomery had made at least two threes in 12 of 13 games and three three-pointers in nine of those games. Of course, as we also noted before, Montgomery found other ways to contribute, pulling down a team-high eight rebounds against the Hokies, to add on to her ACC-leading rebound total of 153 (6.7 per game).

Downright Offensive: A good way to measure one’s desire is on the offensive boards. In that regard, Deja Foster is off the charts. Of the 15 rebounds that Foster has pulled down in the last to games 11 have come on the offensive end. That included the game against B.C., in which Foster grabbed eight rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end. The senior co-captain has grabbed more than one offensive rebound in 15 of the 16 games she’s played since coming back after missing the season’s first six games, and has recorded more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds seven times.

Makin’ ’em Pay: The trademark of Georgia Tech under MaChelle Joseph has been pressure defense and the ability to force turnovers. Through 23 games, the Yellow Jackets have forced 486 turnovers. That’s 21.1 per game. They’re also cashing in the opportunities, converting the T.O.s into 495 points, 21.5 points per game off turnovers. Miami is one of the few teams in the ACC better at forcing turnovers than Georgia Tech, leading the conference with a plus-9.86 margin (Tech is fifth at plus-1.96), and forcing 26.2 turnovers per game, to Tech’s 21.1. The Hurricanes also lead the ACC in steals (325, 15.5 spg). Tech is fourth (257, 11.2).

The Sixth Man: Mo Bennett has made the most of increased playing time from Coach Jo, over the last two games. Against Boston College, Bennett played a season-high 23 minutes and hit a season-best five field goals in matching her season high 10 points. In Thursday’s game against Virginia Tech, Bennett quietly contributed five points, while pulling down four rebounds (two on each end) and dishing out two assists.

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