March 6, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team captured its 20th win of the season, edging Virginia, 77-76, in the second round of the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Yellow Jackets advance to the quarterfinals to play #2-seeded Duke tomorrow at 6 p.m. The game will be shown on the ACC Regional Sports Network and Fox Sports South in Atlanta. Tech fell to the then #3-ranked Blue Devils in its only meeting this season, 64-47, at McCamish Pavilion in its ACC opener on January 5th.
“I have to give Virginia a lot of credit,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “I thought their seniors really battled out there when they were down 14. I thought they did a tremendous job of making plays. One of the things Coach Boyle did a good job of was go to a zone at the end. We struggled to score against that the 3-2. I want to give my players a lot of credit. When we had to come up with big defensive stops, we were able to do that. I thought we had some big plays down the stretch.”
With the win, the Jackets (20-10, 9-7 ACC) recorded their seventh 20 win season out of the past eight seasons under Joseph. The victory also marked the first-ever triumph against Virginia in the ACC Tournament. Tech had previously gone 0-8 against the Cavaliers in post-season matchups.
The Yellow Jackets were led on offense by the dynamic duo of senior Tyaunna Marshall and Kaela Davis. The pair combined to score 74 percent (54-of-77) of Tech’s points against Virginia. Davis scored a team-high 28 points while Marshall recorded a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds. This is the seventh time this season that both Marshall and Davis have scored at least 20 points in the same game.
With her 28 points tonight, Davis broke the record for points in a single season by a freshman with 562 points. The previous record was 539 points which Karen Lounsbury set during the 1988-89 season. She is just the third freshman to score 500 points in their first season on the Flats. This was Davis’ 14th 20 point game of the season.
Marshall’s double-double was her seventh of the season and the 21st of her career. She also led the Jackets in steals with three. Senior Dawnn Maye dished out a team-high five assists while sophomore Aaliyah Whiteside contributed seven points and completed a three point play in the final seconds of the game to secure the win for the Jackets.
“Aaliyah Whiteside struggled throughout the game but came up with a big three point play at the end,” Joseph said. “I think one of the things we built this program on is defensive rebounding. One of the things we pride ourselves on is our resiliency. I thought today we were bending, but we didn’t break. We were able to come away with a win.”
The Jackets led by as much as 14 at one point in the game, but the Cavaliers crawled back to tie up the game, 74-74 with 42 seconds left. With Marshall and Davis both being guarded closely, Whiteside drove hard to the basket and made her layup, getting fouled along the way by Kelsey Wolfe. Whiteside hit nothing but net on her foul shot, putting the Jackets up by three, 77-74, with 13.5 seconds on the clock.
The Cavaliers would charge down the court on the ensuing possession, giving the ball to Lexie Gerson who went up for a 3-point shot. Sophomore Nariah Taylor came up with a huge block on the shot, but was called for a technical after celebrating. Ataira Franklin sank both of her free throws, making it, 77-76, in favor of the Jackets, but a tight Tech defense prevented Virginia from scoring the go ahead basket and punched the Jackets’ ticket to the quarterfinals.
Marshall and Davis combined to score the 28 of Tech’s first 30 points in the first half. Davis scored 18 points out of the Jackets’ 38 in the first half and hit 4 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Jackets came out strong, going on a 6-0 run to open up the game. Tech held the Virginia to without a field goal for the first three minutes of the game before the Cavaliers tied it up 6-6 at the 16:39 mark. Virginia would extend their lead to 13-8 but Davis would score five-straight points to tie it up 13-13 at 11:52. Davis’ first 3-pointer of the night at 11:52 broke the school record for most points for a freshman in a single season.
With 6:28 left until half, Davis scored eight-straight points to put the Jackets ahead, 25-22.
The Jackets would extend their lead to 38-34 heading into half. Tech would come out of halftime hot, outscoring the Cavaliers, 10-2. Senior Shayla Bivins scored six of the Jackets’ 10 points during the run that put Tech ahead, 50-39 at 16:28.
Tech would stretch its lead to 14, 57-43, with 13:31 after going 5-for-6 from the foul line. The Cavaliers then went on to outscore the Jackets, 11-2, to come within five of the Jackets’ 63-58 advantage. The Yellow Jackets answered with two straight buckets, but the Cavaliers were back after Tech’s lead, coming within two points, 68-66, with 5:26 left in the game.
The Cavaliers and Jackets would battle it out until the end, but Tech would prevail and advance to the quarterfinals.
Virginia was led by Sarah Imovbioh, who scored 27 point and grabbed 10 rebounds. Kelsey Wolfe added 16 points for the Cavaliers.