March 19, 2012
By Jon Cooper
Making history has been the hallmark of the 2011-12 Yellow Jackets’ Women’s Basketball team. They’ll attempt to continue to make history tonight with a win over fifth-seeded Georgetown in their NCAA Tournament second-round game. Tip-off at Carmichael Arena is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
On Sunday afternoon, the Yellow Jackets got a career-high 28 points from freshman Sydney Wallace and shot a blazing 52.9 percent in handling Northeast Conference champion Sacred Heart, 76-50. A 23-3 first-half run broke open a 9-9 game and the Yellow Jackets were never headed. Center Sasha Goodlett added 12 points and 11 rebounds, seven on the offensive end, and Mo Bennett added 11 for the Jackets. Tech led by as much as 30 in the second half, holding the Pioneers to 39.2 percent shooting for the game and forcing 20 turnovers.
The Hoyas had to work a little harder for their Tournament-opening 61-56 victory over Fresno State. Tia Magee had 17, Adria Crawford added 11 with nine rebounds and Sugar Rodgers also had 11 for the Hoyas, who led 33-23 at the half, but had to hold on due to shooting only 37.3 percent for the game. Georgetown saw its 17-point second-half lead cut to three on three separate occasions, but held off the Bulldogs. Fresno was held to 34.0 percent shooting (24.1 from three) and committed 19 turnovers.
Tonight’s game can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPN3. Fans can always catch the action 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.
And now, the Starting Five for tonight’s game.
The Last Time We Met: Tonight will be only the second time that these schools have met. The first time was Nov. 25, 2010 at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam in St. Thomas. Georgetown emerged victorious that day, 67-58. Tech led by five late in the first half and by one at intermission, but an 8-1 Hoya run broke a 47-47 tie, then a late 9-0 spurt allowed the Hoyas to pull away. Ty Marshall led Tech with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Monica McNutt had a game-high 24, including hitting 5-for-9 from three to lift the Hoyas.
Not Normally Shy Ty: The two-point, 1-for-7 day that Ty Marshall had in the Tournament opener marked her season-low output for points as well as shot attempts. Marshall’s previous lows this season were six points, against NC State on Feb. 2 and Maryland on Feb. 6. Her low for field goal attempts in a game was seven, which happened three times, the last on Feb. 26 against Clemson. Marshall shot 3-for-7 that day and had nine points. Coincidentally, the Clemson game was Wallace’s breakout game. By the way, Marshall was 7-for-13 the last time Tech played Georgetown.
Finally the Favorite: Georgia Tech is 0-3 in second-round games, but this is the first time that the Yellow Jackets enter as the higher seed. Tech’s first appearance in the round of 32 was in 2007. As a seven-seed, the Jackets fell to No. 2 Purdue, 76-63. Two years later, as a nine, they lost to top-seeded Oklahoma, 69-50. Last year, as a five, their highest ranking until this year, the Jackets lost to No. 4 Ohio State, 67-60. That was a double-whammy, as the game was played on the Buckeye’s home floor.
Double-Double Trouble: Center Sasha Goodlett had her ninth double-double of the season against Sacred Heart. That achievement surely bodes well for the Yellow Jackets, as Tech is 6-3 when Goodlett has double-figure points and rebounds and they are riding a five-game winning streak when she does so. Double-figure scoring has become the norm for Goodlett, who has scored at least 10 points in 17 of the last 19 games. Against Sacred Heart, she also matched her season high on the offensive glass, pulling down seven — she’d previously done that on Jan. 15 at Boston College. It was only the fourth time all season Goodlett had more offensive than defensive rebounds.
Hey, Mo, Hey, Mo!: Senior Mo Bennett has three double-figure scoring games this season, but all three came in huge spots and gave the club a huge lift. Bennett had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double on Dec. 11 at Middle Tennessee State, to spark Tech over the Blue Raiders, 58-47. She had her next one in the opening round of the ACC Tournament against North Carolina, where her 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting again gave Tech a shot in the arm. Bennett’s threes almost a minute apart late in the first half staggered the Tar Heels and got Tech on a roll in a game they won, 54-53. On Sunday, Bennett was at it again, scoring 11 points off the bench on 4-for-5 shooting. She also added two assists and two steals.
The Sixth Man: You can’t really blame Sacred Heart for being caught off-guard by Wallace’s offensive explosion. Prior to Sunday’s game, the freshman’s season-high was 16 points, her high for field goals was six and her best three-point-shooting game saw her drain four. They came in the same game, Feb. 26 against Clemson. The Clemson game aside, Wallace hadn’t taken as many as 10 shots in a game since Nov. 30 against Nebraska and hadn’t taken more than five threes in a game.
GEORGIA TECH LEADING SCORER: Tyaunna Marshall, 14.9
GEORGIA TECH LEADING REBOUNDER: Sasha Goodlett, 7.6 rpg
GEORGETOWN LEADING SCORER: Sugar Rodgers, 18.7 ppg
GEORGETOWN LEADING REBOUNDER: Adria Crawford, 6.0 rpg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 70.9
GEORGETOWN SCORING: 60.3
GEORGETOWN PLAYER TO WATCH: Sugar Rodgers – The 5-11 junior guard makes the Hoyas go. She’s the team’s leading scorer, the leading three-point shooter (185 3-Pt FGMs) and the best free-throw shooter, converting at 81.9 percent. Rodgers also is a solid defender, who hits the boards as her 5.4 rpg rank second on the team, as her 71 steals lead the team and her 11 blocks rank fourth. Rodgers deferred to backcourt mate Monica McNutt in the schools’ last meeting. She may not be as generous in a close game this time.