Feb. 8, 2005
ATLANTA – The Yellow Jackets return home after making a two-game road trip to College Park and Winston-Salem to host the No. 23/24 Wolfpack of NC State at Alexander Memorial Coliseum Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Georgia Tech student station, WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta and online at www.wrek.org with Richard Musterer calling the play-by-play and Kurt Hoyt providing the color analysis. Livestats for the contest will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.
Georgia Tech enters the contest with a 4-5 record in conference games after going 1-1 last week against Maryland and Wake Forest. The Yellow Jackets are 13-7 overall this season, while NC State enters with a 16-5 record, including a 5-3 mark in ACC play, after dropping a three-point game to top-ranked Duke and earning a six-point victory against Virginia last week.
Following the game against NC State, the Yellow Jackets will take a break from conference play to participate in the Russell Athletic Shootout this weekend, meeting Arkansas at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Gwinnett Arena. Georgia and Clemson will meet immediately following the conclusion of the Jackets’ game as part of a doubleheader for the annual event.
Georgia Tech Tidbits
LIVING UP TO THE HYPE: Prior to the season, the Yellow Jackets voted and 50 percent of the squad said that Stephanie Higgs would be the player that would surprise people this season…she’s lived up to that hype through 20 games by standing second on the team in scoring (13.0 ppg) and assists (38) and tied for second in steals (30). She is also averaging 4.5 rebounds per contest.
INTO THE FIRE: Freshmen Jill Ingram and Chioma Nnamaka were thrown into the starting lineup prior to the season opener and have performed well, as they are first and third, respectively, in scoring. Nnamaka has started every game for the Jackets this season while Ingram has been in the starting lineup in all but one contest. Two other freshmen, Janie Mitchell and Daphne Mitchell, have also appeared in the starting lineup at some point this season, and the Jackets have started three games in 2004-05 with three freshmen in the starting lineup.
LOVING THE MISS: Jessica Williams is again one of the top rebounders in the league, as she is averaging 7.2 per game while scoring 5.1 points per contest.
LOOKING AT THE BENCH: Just because the starters are out doesn’t mean Tech’s opponents can relax…through the first 20 games of the season, the Jackets’ bench is averaging 18.3 points per game (365 total), while the starters are averaging 41.5 points (829 total).
SUB, PLEASE!: After finishing the 2003-04 season with just five active players averaging more than 15 minutes per game, the Jackets currently have eight players playing more than 15 minutes per contest, with six of those averaging more than 20 minutes per game.
THE JACKETS ON “D”: Through 20 games of the season, Georgia Tech has forced 346 turnovers by its opponents, which have led to 174 Yellow Jackets steals (8.7 per game). In comparison, the Jackets have turned the ball over 19 fewer times, leading to just 134 opponent steals in 20 games (6.7 per game).
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO THE LINE: The Yellow Jackets have posted a stellar 11-1 record when converting on more free throws than their opponents, including a 3-1 mark against ACC teams. Conversely, when their opponents have made more shots from the charity stripe, Tech is just 2-6, including a 1-4 mark against conference foes. When taking more free throw attempts, Georgia Tech is 11-2 on the season and 3-1 in ACC play, but the Jackets are just 2-5 overall and 1-4 in conference matchups when their opponents reach the line more.
MAKING THE MOST OF “FREE” POINTS: Since dropping the pair of games at Tulsa and St. John’s in which the Yellow Jackets shot just 50 percent from the free-throw line (15-of-30), Georgia Tech had been much stronger from the charity stripe. In the five games following that road trip, the Jackets went 5-0 and connected on 80 percent of their free throws (64-of-80), including a season-high 90 percent mark against Alcorn State in the championship game of the GT/Atlanta Marriott NW Holiday Invitational. Overall, in their seven losses this season, the Jackets have made just 70 free throws in 115 overall attempts, converting just 60.9 percent from the line. In comparison, Georgia Tech has converted on 185-of-256 free throws (72.3 percent) in their 13 victories, a 12-point difference.
TIME TO WAKE UP: This season, the Yellow Jacket offense has, at times, had problems getting started…but that doesn’t mean they don’t eventually “wake up.” In games where the Yellow Jackets have a higher shooting percentage in the second half as compared to the first, Georgia Tech is 8-4, but when the Jackets shoot lower in the second frame, they are 5-3. When the Jackets have scored equal to or more points in the second half, they are 9-4 on the season, but when scoring fewer points in the final frame, they are just 4-3.
HOLDING THEM UNDER 60: Georgia Tech has held its opponents to under 60 points on 14 occasions in 2004-05, and in those games, the Yellow Jackets have posted a 12-2 mark. The Jackets’ defense has held ACC opponents to under 60 points on five occasions this season and have gone 4-1 in those contests. On eight occasions this season Georgia Tech has held its opponent to less than 50 points and has posted a perfect 8-0 record in those games, with three of those victories coming against ACC foes Miami, Clemson and Wake Forest.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE: According to the latest WBCA/Summerville RPI, Georgia Tech’s 2004-05 schedule is ranked the 15th-toughest in the nation, as the Yellow Jackets will play 10 games against teams that are ranked in the top-25 of this week’s RPI. Among ACC teams, Georgia Tech’s schedule is only ranked behind Miami (2), Maryland (7), Duke (8) and Virginia Tech (11).
Yellow Jacket Injury Update
Ashley Guerrant is out (back).
Jackets vs. the Wolfpack
The Jackets and Wolfpack will be meeting for the 53rd time in history, with NC State holding a 37-15 advantage in the series.
The first game between the two teams was on Jan. 12, 1980, with the `Pack winning 97-38 in the first of 16 straight victories for the North Carolina school in the series.
The Yellow Jackets first victory in the series came on Jan. 8, 1988, when Tech defeated NC State, 94-74, in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech has posted a 9-15 mark against the Wolfpack at home, with its most recent win coming a season ago, 76-61.
The Yellow Jackets have won four of the last five games against NC State, with the lone loss coming in the first of two meetings a season ago, 75-71, in Raleigh.
LAST TIME OUT: Megan Isom scored a game-high 20 points and had six rebounds while Fallon Stokes added 16 points and nine rebounds to lead Georgia Tech to a 76-61 win over visiting NC State on Feb. 26. The Yellow Jackets shot 41 percent from the field in the contest and 76 percent from the free-throw line while the Wolfpack struggled from the charity stripe, converting on just 41.2 percent from the line. Kaayla Chones paced the Wolfpack offense with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Marquetta Dickens came off the bench to score 11 points. Georgia Tech outrebounded the Wolfpack, 43-37 and had nine steals compared to NC State’s five while turning the ball over just 14 times compared to the `Pack’s 19 miscues.
Following Thursday’s game, the Yellow Jackets will step away from ACC action to play Arkansas Sunday in the first game of the Russell Athletic Shootout at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the conference’s Regional Sports Network and on WREK-Radio, 91.1 FM.