March 5, 2013
By Jon Cooper
From the day Tyaunna Marshall arrived on campus Georgia Tech women’s basketball head coach MaChelle Joseph told anyone that would listen that Marshall would one day be one of the elite players in the ACC.
Marshall’s game, her work ethic and determination to improve her game and her leadership in making those around her better made her hard to ignore.
Following her freshman year she was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and was Third Team All-ACC. After her sophomore campaign she was voted Second Team All-ACC.
In 2012-13, a season where she was the one depended upon, the one who drew every team’s best defensive player and for whom game defensive plans were drawn up, the conclusion was inescapable — Ty Marshall is an elite player.
“I think she’s a lock for First Team All-ACC.” said Joseph following Marshall’s gargantuan 37-points on Feb. 24th in Tech’s incredible 68-64 win over Miami (the high game for an ACC player this season), in which Marshall almost single-handedly kept the team in the game then, at the end, stole it and won it. “I don’t know how they can deny her that.”
Turns out they couldn’t and Monday Tech’s star junior guard was voted First Team All-ACC. She became the first Yellow Jacket in the Joseph era to earn the honor (the fourth ever and first Jacket since Sonja Mallory in 2003) and the 15th to be named All-ACC (the 34th in school history).
“Actually, I was in class and Coach Jo called me,” said Marshall, who was in the midst of a marketing class. “I called her back at the end of class and she was like, ‘Do you know you made First-Team? Congratulations. You deserve it.’ I was just very excited. I called my mom and dad afterward. It’s definitely an honor.”
It’s a well-deserved honor. Marshall is the only player in the ACC this season to rank in the conference’s top 10 in scoring (17.9 ppg, 2nd), rebounding (8.3, 6th), and steals (2.5, fourth), and in ACC games she turned up her scoring (19.1 ppg, 2nd) and steals (2.7, second) while grabbing 7.9 rebounds (9th).
Marshall was a dynamic offensive presence, with 27 double-digit-scoring games — she has 19 straight — with nine 20-point games.
She also has eight double-doubles, a tribute to a greater commitment to defense and rebounding this season.
“I really think my defense has picked up this year,” she said. “My rebounding has been incredible this year and I’m stealing the ball and being more active on defense. Just having more than scoring is a great thing to have.”
Marshall grabbed two more rebounds per game in 2012-13 than in ’11-12 and was especially active on the offensive end, where she grabbed 111 rebounds, 21 more than last season.
Marshall’s presence among the conference’s top rebounders is a tribute to her hard work. Consider who’s ahead of her — Maryland’s twin towers of Alyssa Thomas (6-2) and Tianna Hawkins (6-3), Clemson’s Quinyotta Pettaway (6-3), UNC’s Krista Gross (6-0), and Miami’s Morgan Stroman (6-1).
Marshall is listed at 5-9.
“She’s the best rebounding guard in the ACC. There’s no doubt about it,” said Joseph “Ty is a 5-8 guard. She’s a tremendous rebounding guard and a great defensive player. She’s one of the players that can single-handedly take over a game on the defensive end.”
Marshall has taken over the leadership role on this young team that regularly plays five freshmen, often starting three of them. She credits her leadership skill to the leaders she observed over her first two years.
“We’ve had such great leaders since I’ve been here,” she said. “I had Deja [Foster] and Alex [Montgomery] my freshman year, I had the five seniors last year. I definitely learned a lot.
“This season we a lot of growing to do, but they taught me a lot,” she added. “I’m ready to lead this team and go into the tournament. We had a rough year but it’s a whole new season right now. Anybody can make a run and this is our time.”
When Marshall leads seventh-seeded Georgia Tech onto the court of Greensboro Coliseum to take on 10th-seed Wake Forest, she knows the Jackets have a number of young options that have grown up and are ready to step up and make a name for themselves like sharpshooter Sydney Wallace did last postseason.
“Syd and Brittany [Jackson] can step up and I really believe that Aaliyah [Whiteside] will definitely be a help for us,” said Marshall. “She’s a great shooter and great in transition. She’s just a great kid and a great player.
“Honestly, I think anybody can step up at this point in time. It’s whoever wants to,” she added. “Definitely our post players, and everybody has great all-around games. We’ve been playing together the last couple of games. That’s what we’re going to look for.”
They know what to look for against Wake, having beaten them in both games this season, both times getting Herculean efforts from Marshall.
In the first game, an 88-82 overtime win Jan.31st at McCamish Pavilion, she matched her then-career-high, scoring 28 points, and pulled down a career-best 17 rebounds, handed out seven assists and made four steals. On Feb. 21st at Joel Coliseum she again demonized the Demon Deacons going for 27 and 10 with five steals in an 82-64 win.
Both times Wallace was second in command, hitting 4-of-11 threes and scoring 23 points in the first game then hitting 5-of-8 from three and scoring 20 in the rematch.
The Jackets are finally playing down the stretch the way Joseph said they would.
“I think the difference has been the young players finally understanding, the freshmen,” said Joseph. “We have six freshmen. Five of them are impact players. They make a difference on our team. I think as they’ve grown, we’ve grown as a team.
“I think Ty Marshall has stepped up and accepted her role as a go to player,” she added. “I think those two things are the key difference-makers for our team.”
To Marshall, it boils down to the Jackets simply doing what they do best and what they did down the stretch.
“We just have to play our game. We can’t come out worried. We have to come out with a mindset that we’re a young team on the road, we have to play hard,” she said. “Everybody has to come out and play their role. The last game we played them, we just played great game together all around. That’s what we have to do again.”
Tech hopes to repeat what they did in last year’s ACC’s, when, as a four seed, they edged North Carolina, then blew out NC State before pushing Maryland to the limit in the Championship game, finally falling 68-65.
This team has the same tough mindset and hunger, personified in Marshall, who scored 21, 20 and 25 points in last year’s tournament.
Despite those numbers and a career of terrific numbers, Marshall has one number she’s determined to get as Tech heads into this year’s tournament. That number is four.
“Our goal is to win four games in four days and do as well as we can to accomplish that goal and make that happen,” she said. “We’re not scared of anybody and we respect everybody in the tournament. I see us being really confident going into the ACC Tournament and we’re ready to make some noise.”