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#STINGDAILY: Tech Women Win

Jan. 31, 2013

by Matt Winkeljohn, Sting Daily –

It has taken a while, but the Georgia Tech women snapped their six-game ACC losing streak Thursday night largely by riding the player that head coach MaChelle has known all along that the Yellow Jackets would need to be, “our go-to player.”

Ty Marshall was all that and more in McCamish Pavilion as she tied her career high with 28 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds in an 89-82 overtime conquest of Wake Forest. The junior from Upper Marlboro, Md., added a game-high seven assists and four steals, too.

It’s tempting to suggest that we now see what a benching can do for a fabulous-yet-off-kilter player. There’s more to Marshall’s recent surge than that, but the fact that she’s averaged 22 points and 11.3 rebounds in four games since Joseph took her and starting point guard Dawnn Maye out of the lineup for what the coach described as, “disciplinary reasons,” is hard to miss.

“The motivation was to play for my team through adversity,” Marshall said after making 11-of-22 shots and grabbing 10 offensive rebounds. “No matter if I’m starting or coming off the bench . . . I had to look within myself and think, ‘If my team is going to win, night in and night out I have to not take plays off.’ [The benching] just happened to be that extra push.”

That demotion was not the the only explanation for Marshall’s ramp-up.

Frankly, it took her a while to accept her new role.

This may be an oblong concept at first thought. Marshall, after all, made the ACC All-Freshman team two years ago, and was second team All-ACC last season. She did some fairly spectacular things each season, and at times she was Tech’s go-to player.

But she didn’t wear the label on a full-time basis. This year, after the Jackets graduated five seniors from a Sweet 16 team and welcomed six freshmen – four of whom started Thursday – that label was there from the jump and Marshall wore it like a yoke.

“Since she hasn’t been in the starting lineup she’s gotten a little bit more hungry as far as we’ve been talking about her having to lead this team,” Joseph said. “She had the luxury of playing with two [WNBA] first round draft picks in Alex Montgomery and then Sasha Goodlet, and she didn’t  have to take over a game at the end.

“I think she’s just now getting comfortable and understanding what she has to do. I think she’s really stepped up and accepted the responsibility and put this team on her back.”

The Jackets (9-12, 2-8) trailed 34-33 at halftime to Wake Forest (10-11, 3-6 ACC).

Freshman Rodrekka Rogers quickly gave the Jackets the lead with a layup, but the second half became a see-saw. Wake took the lead on six more occasions, Tech on six, and there were six ties leading to overtime.

Marshall had 11 points, six rebounds four assists and a steal after halftime and twice scored directly off of offensive rebounds. She also scored a layup for a 60-59 lead with 5:04 left after stealing the ball at midcourt from Wake senior Asia Williams.

There was help. Sydney Wallace scored 12 of her 23 in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers (one that just beat the shot clock), and Rogers had six of her career-high 13 points and half of her career-high 10 rebounds against the alma mater of her father, Rodney.

Marshall wasn’t perfect, and the Jackets – who led at halftime in half the games during the six-game skid and in half their ACC losses – went a bit jittery down the stretch (twice actually).

After Wake pulled within 69-67 on a free throw with 25 seconds left, Ty turned it over as Williams picked off her inbound pass.

Wake missed a quick shot, and Tech’s Nariah Taylor was fouled upon grabbing the rebound. She missed the front end of a one-and-one with 17 seconds left, and Wake rebounded. Specifically, Asia Williams did, and after the Deacons moved the ball around for a bit, she went hard down the lane.

Taylor tried to take a charge, but an official saw it as a block.

Williams made both free throws, and after a Wake timeout the Demon Deacons stole freshman Aaliyah Whiteside’s pass and Chelsea Douglas not only heaved the ball from about 50 fit, she rattled it in and out at the buzzer amid gasps.

In overtime, all that is good and bad about Tech was on display.

The Jackets scored the first 12 points in the most glorious 80 seconds imaginable.

First, it was a three-point play by Marshall, and then after a Wake turnover Marshall assisted on a Wallace trey. Marshall stole the ensuing Wake inbound pass to set up a layup by Maye, and nine second later Marshall picked Williams again and scored a layup. Immediately after that, Wallace picked off Williams and scored yet another bunny.

Unaccustomed to prosperity in ACC games, Tech then surrendered nine straight Wake points and led just 83-80 with 37 seconds left in overtime.

Maye hit a free throw with 33 seconds to go, and when she missed the second Marshall rebounded and scored quickly for an 86-80 lead with 31 seconds left. That essentially sealed the deal as Tech added three free throws in the next 17 second and Marshall rebounded Wake’s final shot with eight seconds remaining.

The Jackets survived without freshman Brittany Jackson, who has been nearly superb recently. “Brittany’s out for a violation of team rules,” Joseph said. “[Her future is] up in the air. It’s an indefinite suspension.”

This is for sure: winning feels a lot better.

“When you’re starting four freshmen, it’s not hard to keep morale up,” the coach said. “[These players] know they’re building for something down the road, and these experiences are just going to make us stronger.

“We have an urgency to get better. I thought tonight was the first time that we played without fear and played to win. We’re trying to teach these six freshmen how to win, and you’re in a transition trying to teach Ty to be the go-to player and Dawnn to be the point guard. It’s a tremendous transition year.

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