THE FLATS – Led by four Yellow Jackets scoring in double-figures, Georgia Tech women’s basketball and head coach Nell Fortner opened the ACC season with a 61-51 victory over Virginia Sunday afternoon in McCamish Pavilion. Lorela Cubaj paced Tech with 18 points as the Jackets improved to 10-2 overall and 1-0 in league play with the win.
How It Happened
Georgia Tech and Virginia worked through six lead changes in the first half as the Jackets held a narrow 28-27 edge at halftime. Lotta-Maj Lahtinen led Tech offensively in the opening half with nine points as neither team held a lead larger than six points. The Jackets shot 44.8 percent (13-29), while Virginia hit 37.0 percent from the field (10-27), but the Cavaliers went 5-for-7 at the free throw in the first half.
The Jackets came out in the third quarter with a presence, opening with an 11-0 run to force Virginia to use a timeout as Tech extended its lead to 39-27 with 5:42 on the clock. Virginia would climb back to within six points, but Kierra Fletcher finished the frame hitting two free throws as Tech went 4-for-6 at the charity stripe in the stanza to hold a 44-36 lead entering the fourth quarter. Coming out of the final media break in the fourth quarter, Virginia would cut the score to 48-42, but it would be the closest the Cavaliers came the remainder of the game. Cubaj sparked a 13-9 run to close the game as the junior fueled the final quarter with 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
Tech shot 43.9 percent for the game and 54.5 percent from the free throw line. Cubaj led the Jackets offensively with 18 points, followed by Lahtinen (13 points), Fletcher (11 points) and Jasmine Carson (10 points). Virginia won the rebounding battle, 36-30, paced by Jocelyn Willoughby’s double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Jackets dished out 15 assists in the contest, while committing only seven turnovers.
“I’m really pleased to start conference play with a win,” commented Fortner. “It’s important, especially on your home court. I thought the third quarter served to really separate us and give us some confidence to keep playing hard. Virginia is a good team. Jocelyn Willoughby is one of the best players in this conference. But I was really pleased with our effort tonight.”
Georgia Tech continues this ACC homestand welcoming Miami for a Thursday tilt at 7 p.m. in McCamish Pavilion. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.