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#STINGDAILY: Zoning In

Nov. 13, 2012

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Ty Marshall on Tuesday night became the 26th player in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history to score 1,000 career points, yet that was hardly the story at McCamish Pavilion. That was a lock; she is not among the questions on this team.

The Yellow Jackets beating Kennesaw State 80-51 was not the story, either. You knew they would win because KSU is weak, and there was no way coach MaChelle Joseph’s team was not going to bounce back with more focus and energy than they had in Sunday’s disjointed opener against Tennessee.

Most importantly – even better than the benefit of beating the snot out of somebody when doubt might be plotting a sneak attack — the Jackets found a specific sort of work they needed.

The Owls (0-2) went zone, and for Tech (1-1) zone was a problem – and a big one – against the Lady Vols. The Jackets attacked it Tuesday. On Sunday they did not.

On Tuesday, the Jackets scored 44 points in the paint. On Sunday, starting center Nariah Taylor and starting power forward Danielle Hamilton-Carter did not even shoot in the first half.

Taylor and Hamilton-Carter each scored eight points against KSU, and reserve post player Shayla Bivins had six points and 11 rebounds.

“There are things we won’t know until we take on another BCS-level opponent what we learned from the loss to Tennessee,” Joseph said. “One thing I did see was that we attacked more aggressively against the zone and we were able to get inside the zone instead of shooting around the zone.

“If you look, Nariah (4-for-12) and Shayla (3-for-11) had the most shots. One of the things we talked about yesterday was we’ve got to play from the inside out and I thought we did that.”

As for Marshall, she was quiet – for Marshall.

She scored 14 points, which is about her career average, and she did it in just 18 minutes of playing time.

Marshall has 1,010 career points now, and a shot at a top three spot in Tech scoring history before she’s done. She’s a junior.

“It’s definitely an honor,” she said. “This is just one accomplishment for me, and I definitely have many more to go, but it shows how much I mean to this team and how much I try to help my team.”

Don’t misunderstand that; it’s reality.

It would be impossible to overstate how much Marshall, a scorer with a wicked penchant for getting from the wing to the rim in a hurry, means to the Jackets.

There can be a fine line between a scorer wanting so much to score that she disrupts the rest of her team and a scorer scoring because she has to as long as it fits the plan.

Marshall knows the deal. She took just eight shots, making six, and yet found time to add four stellar assists with nine rebounds (to tie freshman sub Roddreka Rogers) and a team-high three steals.

“My role is to shoot 15 to 20 shots a game, and I’m not going to back down from it,” she said, embracing the job of alpha gal.

There are still nuances to be addressed, and the Jackets’ next chance will be Sunday at home against Marquette.

Joseph said she was glad Tech played again so soon so as to quickly wash off some of the stench of the Tennessee game, and at least two important boxes were checked.

Sometimes, it’s good to kick somebody else’s butt even though you figured that you would even if just to confirm the concept of believing and then seeing belief confirmed so as to make it OK to keep believing.

And, again, as Joseph said, “That was really good for us because we got to play against the 2-3 zone, and everybody is going to play us 2-3 until we prove we can start scoring against it.”

Comments to stingdaily@gmail.com.

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