Nov. 18, 2008
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team opens a three-game homestand Wednesday evening when Kennesaw State visits Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The two Metro Atlanta programs will tipoff at 7 p.m.
Fans can listen to Richard Musterer and Kurt Hoyt call all the action on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org), Georgia Tech women’s basketball’s flagship station.
The Yellow Jackets (1-1) return to the court three days after falling to No. 1 Connecticut, 82-71, in a hard fought game. The teams were tied at 34 at the half, and it was 65-62 with seven minutes remaining before UConn closed the game on a 17-9 run. Mo Bennett scored 19 points to lead the Jackets. Jacqua Williams had 14 and Alex Montgomery added 12.
Kennesaw State women’s basketball team dropped to 0-2 on the season with a 102-68 loss at the hands of No. 4 North Carolina Tuesday night at the Dean Smith Center.
Last season, the Jackets defeated Kennesaw State, 83-68, in the finals of the Georgia Tech Hotel & Convention Center Holiday Tournament.
NEXT UP: MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE
The Yellow Jackets will return to the hardwood Saturday afternoon when they face Mississippi Valley State at 2 p.m. Last season, Georgia Tech travelled to Itta Bena, Miss., and defeated the Devilettes, 79-67. Tech is 2-0 all-time against Mississippi Valley State. The Devilettes will open the season hosting an exhibition game against Wesley College Wednesday night before traveling to Atlanta.
TECH VS. KENNESAW STATE
Georgia Tech is 3-0 in the series with Kennesaw State, including a 83-68 win over the Owls in the finals of the 2007 Georgia Tech Hotel & Convention Center Holiday Tournament final.
This is the third straight year that the two teams will meet. Prior to the Dec. 6, 2006 meeting, Tech and KSU last played on Nov. 26, 1982.
Georgia will be well represented on Wednesday, when 11 players from the state will suit up for the two teams.
Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph and KSU’s coach Colby Tilley recently shared the stage with Georgia’s Andy Landers and Georgia State’s Lea Henry at the Atlanta Tip-off Club’s annual preseason luncheon.
YELLOW JACKETS FALL TO NO. 1 HUSKIES
Maya Moore had 20 points and 14 rebounds to help top-ranked Connecticut pull away from Georgia Tech on Sunday and come away with a 82-71 season-opening win.
Georgia Tech kept the game close by hitting 10-of-15 3-point shots. Mo Bennett, who had three of those, scored 19 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (1-1). Jacqua Williams had 14 and Alex Montgomery added 12.
The teams were tied at 34 at the half, and it was 65-62 before UConn closed the game on a 17-9 run.
PICK A POCKET OR TWO
After three-plus seasons on the Flats, senior Jacqua Williams has earned the reputation as one of the best defenders in the nation. The speedster from Seattle, Wash., has racked up 269 steals so far and is just 10 shy of breaking the school record. Last season, Williams finished with a single-season school record 118 steals, leading the ACC and ranking fourth in the nation with 3.8 per game. She has registered at least one steal in 41 straight games and even held the ACC single game record for steals with 11 (later broken by former Yellow Jacket Jill Ingram with 14).
I WANT TO GO FAST
Williams is not only one of the best defenders in the nation, she is also one of the fastest players. Williams has competed in two straight NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 200-meter dash. Last season, Williams qualified for the national event after only one and a half months of competition.
SENIOR CLASS PILING UP WINS
Georgia Tech’s 2008-09 senior class of Tabitha Turner and Jacqua Williams have been a part of 58 wins since beginning their careers on the Flats. The two Jackets have helped Tech to back-to-back record-setting seasons and are on pace to become the most successful class in the history of the program. With 13 more wins this season, the pair will accumulate the most wins by any senior class to ever play for the Yellow Jackets. Last year’s seniors finished with a school-best 69 wins in their careers.
MORE ON WILLIAMS
Jacqua Williams is the only Georgia Tech women’s basketball player to ever register at least 150 points, 100 steals and 100 rebounds in the same season when she did it last year.
AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE … OYE, OYE, OYE
Junior Brigitte Ardossi started 26 games during her freshman season and helped the Jackets to their first win in the NCAA Tournament. Last season she was regulated to the first big off the bench and made the most of her opportunity by scoring 3.9 points per game and grabbing 2.8 rebounds in 14.5 minutes. Coach Joseph expects big things from her Aussie post-player in 2008-09 and has inserted her back into the starting lineup. She has played in 67 straight games, every game since coming to the Flats and has started 28 of those games.
SHE CAN DO IT ALL
Anyone who watched Alex Montgomery play last season knows she can really do it all. She is not only the team’s top returning scorer (10.8) and rebounder (5.4), Montgomery has also shown she can dish it, steal it, block it or even win a jump ball. A starter of 26 games as a freshman, Montgomery has become the center of the Yellow Jackets offense. She is averaging a team-leading 16.0 points, has grabbed 6.0 rebounds a game and is shooting 64 percent from beyond-the-arc.
Sophomore Iasia Hemingway excelled as an undersized post player for the Jackets last season, scoring over 20 points against the likes of Maryland’s Crystal Langhorne and Tasha Humphrey of Georgia. This season, Coach Joseph has added some taller players to the Jackets roster that will allow Hemingway to take her game outside to the wing. Hemingway will now have a chance to not only post up players her height, she will also be able to take the ball to the basket and box out smaller guards for rebounds.
GOODLETT IS GOOD
For the second straight year, Coach Joseph started a freshman on opening night. 6-5 Sasha Goodlett made a “big” impression on the coaching staff this preseason and has added a new dimension to the Yellow Jackets lineup. Joseph called her 2007-08 squad “the best 6-0 and under team in the country” but by adding Goodlett will give the Jackets the true center they have been missing. Along with Goodlett, Tech now lists five players at 6-2 or taller.
Most teams are lucky enough to have a solid starting five, maybe even a sixth player that can step in and replace someone in the lineup. This season, Joseph feels she can list seven starters on her roster. Sophomore’s Deja Foster and Shaday Woolcock have shown the ability to step on the court and make an instant impact for the Jackets.
STILL “MO”RE TO COME
Ranked as high as the 29th-best prospect coming out of high school, Mo Bennett has burst on the college scene with some impressive performances. In her debut, the Statesboro, Ga., native scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds against Troy. Two days later, Bennett dropped 19 points in 30 minutes on No. 1 UConn at Gampel Pavilion. Members of the newly created ACC Blue Ribbon Panel were so impressed that they named Bennett the ACC Rookie of the Week on Nov. 17. Something tells me there will be “Mo”re to come.
The 2008-09 Georgia Tech roster is noticeably young with 10 players listed as sophomores and freshmen. Though young, the team is the most athletic team Coach Joseph has had since taking over at Georgia Tech.
FULL COURT PRESS
Last season, Georgia Tech finished the season with a school record 456 steals and led the NCAA with 14.3 steals per game. This has to be credited to Coach Joseph’s pressing defense. Joseph will press for 40 minutes with numerous pressing schemes to keep the offensive off-balance. Joseph wants her team to “be an impressive running defensive team that creates opportunities for the offense.”
WINNING WITH COACH JO
In just her sixth season at the helm, Coach MaChelle Joseph is already the second winningest coach in Georgia Tech history. Joseph has registered an 85-67 (.559) records. She has led Tech to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournaments. (bio on page 5)
TECH INKS THREE IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
Three high school women’s basketball standouts have signed letters of intent to play at Georgia Tech beginning in the 2009-10 season, head coach MaChelle Joseph announced.
Joining the Yellow Jacket program are 5-9 Sharena Taylor from Pontiac, Mich., 6-2 Kennesaw, Ga., native Jasmine Blain and 6-5 center Shayla Bivins of Jacksonville Fla. The trio has formed the No. 18 rated class in the nation by All-Star Girls Report.
JACKETS PICKED SIXTH IN ACC PRESEASON POLL
Georgia Tech’s women’s basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference this year, as determined by a vote of the newly formed Blue Ribbon Panel at the ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day in Greensboro, N.C. (see chart on page 3)
TOUGH SCHEDULE AHEAD
The Georgia Tech coaching staff has once again put together a challenging schedule for the Yellow Jackets. Tech will face nine teams ranked or receiving votes in the AP and ESPN/Coaches Polls. The team will also face three teams – UConn, North Carolina, Maryland – that were No. 1 seeds in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Tech will face at least two teams ranked or receiving votes in each month besides March, where they will face a nationally-ranked Virginia team prior to postseason play.
I WOULD WALK 500 MILES AND I WOULD WALK 500 MORE
The Yellow Jackets will not only travel 500 miles, they will travel over 16,000 miles this season. With trips to Storrs, Conn., Boca Raton, Fla., Portland, Ore., Nassau, Bahamas and multiple trips during the ACC season, Tech will be road warriors over the next five months. Georgia Tech hopes to add to the mileage as they try to extend their postseason streak to three straight seasons.
TECH IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Georgia Tech is not in the preseason top 25 but it is receiving votes in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The last time Tech was ranked in the top 25 was on Jan. 21, 2008. It was the first time the Yellow Jackets were ranked in the nationally polls since Jan. 19, 1993, 14 years to the week.