Dec. 31, 2004
ATLANTA – Tournament MVP Jessica Williams continued her stellar play in the Yellow Jackets’ annual Holiday Classic while leading Georgia Tech (8-2) to a 62-43 win over Alcorn State (4-4) in the championship game of the 2004 Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational Friday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
The junior from Riverdale, Ga. recorded the second double-double of her career with 14 points and a season-high 12 rebounds against the Lady Braves while earning the second tournament MVP of her career.
“I think Jessica felt like she didn’t do as much as she was capable of doing yesterday,” said Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph. “But today, she was all over the boards, all over the place. She rebounded the way that I know she’s capable of, and that’s why she leads the conference in offensive rebounds, because of what she did today.”
Leading the Jackets in scoring on the afternoon was sophomore Stephanie Higgs, who recorded 19 points while shooting 50 percent from the field in the contest. She also recorded four steals, two rebounds and an assist against Alcorn State. For her effort, Higgs was named to the all-tournament team along with Kasha Terry, who had four points, four rebounds and two blocks in the game.
“I’ve been really impressed with how much Stephanie has turned her work ethic around since last year,” said Joseph. “She has been impressive all year and she has just responded so well to being placed in the starting lineup [with 30 points and ACC Player of the Week Honors] and she has been steady and consistent since then. She had an average game yesterday but then came back today and was really impressive.”
The Jackets began the game on a 9-1 run but were unable to maintain the lead as they carried just a 23-19 edge heading into the locker room at the half. Williams paced Tech with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the frame, while Higgs added five, and Chioma Nnamaka, four. Tnonealyer Powers led Alcorn State with six points in the half.
Alcorn State pulled within two points at 17:31 in the second half before Georgia Tech went on a 12-1 run over the next 5:48 to take a 39-26 lead at 11:35. During that span, Higgs stole a pair of passes which led to a pair of shots, including a three-pointer, and she also dished out an assist for a Megan Harpring trey.
“I was very impressed with Megan today,” said Joseph. “I thought she came in and gave us a huge spark defensively and really opened up the game for us. We went on a run when she came in and she really played well today.”
Tech outscored Alcorn State 39-24 in the second half and outrebounded the Lady Braves 41-30 in the game. The Jackets turned the ball over just 12 times while recording eight steals in the game.
“Alcorn State really knows how to win, and we knew that this was going to be a battle from beginning to end,” Joseph said.
Alcorn State’s LaToya Johnson scored 16 points against the Jackets, which earned her all-tournament honors with Powers, who added eight points and seven rebounds.
Georgia Tech will return to action Monday when it hosts UAB in the Yellow Jackets’ final non-conference game prior to their ACC opener. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and be broadcast on WREK-Radio, 91.1 FM in Atlanta and online at www.wrek.org. Livestats for the contest will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.