Feb. 22, 2005
Georgia Tech will make its final road trip of the regular season this Thursday when it travels to Clemson, SC to take on the Tigers at 7 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet with Matt Stewart calling the play-by-play and Clemson alumna Barbara Kennedy Dixon providing the color analysis. The Georgia Tech student station will also broadcast the game on WREK-FM, 91.1 in Atlanta, and online at www.wrek.org with Richard Musterer and Kurt Hoyt calling the action. Livestats for the game will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.
The Yellow Jackets are in the midst of a four-game losing streak in which they have hosted No. 23 NC State, met Arkansas in the Russell Athletic Shootout in Duluth, Ga., traveled to Blacksburg for a matchup with ACC newcomer Virginia Tech, and hosted No. 3 Duke. Tech is currently 13-11 this season with a 4-8 record in conference games and is currently tied for seventh in the conference standings, while Clemson enters with a 7-18 mark on the year while standing at 1-11 against ACC opponents.
Following the Yellow Jackets’ game at Clemson, Georgia Tech will return to Atlanta for its final regular-season contest of the season when it hosts Florida State at 2 p.m. Sunday.
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 in 2004-05 by leading the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) and standing second in assists (43) and steals (37). 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 third and second, 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 seven games in 2004-05 with three freshmen in the starting lineup.
LOOKING AT THE BENCH: Just because the starters are out doesn’t mean Tech’s opponents can relax…through 23 games this season, the Jackets’ bench is averaging 16.4 points per game (394 total), while the starters are averaging 42.5 points (1021 total).
MEGAN THE MAINSTAY: In the last three years (including this season), Georgia Tech has played 84 games, all of which Megan Harpring has been a part of. As a matter of fact, she is the only non-freshman on this year’s roster to have played in every single game in her career. Rookies Jill Ingram, Chioma Nnamaka and Janie Mitchell are the only other players that have played in every game in their career.
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO THE LINE: The Yellow Jackets have posted a stellar 11-3 record when converting on more free throws than their opponents, including a 3-3 mark against ACC teams. Conversely, when their opponents have made more shots from the charity stripe, Tech is just 2-8, including a 1-5 mark against conference foes. When taking more free throw attempts, Georgia Tech is 11-3 on the season and 3-2 in ACC play, but the Jackets are just 2-8 overall and 1-6 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 11 losses this season, the Jackets have made 138 free throws in 198 overall attempts, converting just 69.7 percent from the line. In comparison, Georgia Tech has converted on 185-of-256 free throws (72.3 percent) in their 13 victories.
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 8-6, but when the Jackets shoot lower in the second frame, they are 5-5. When the Jackets have scored equal to or more points in the second half, they are 9-8 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 sixth-toughest in the nation, as the Yellow Jackets will play at least 11 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 newcomers Miami (2) and Virginia Tech (3), and it stands ahead of Maryland (7), Duke (11), Virginia (14), Clemson (36), NC State (41), Florida State (50), Wake Forest (71) and North Carolina (74) .
The Jackets vs. the Tigers
The Jackets and Tigers will be meeting for the 53rd time in history Thursday evening, with Clemson holding the 39-13 edge in the series. The Yellow Jackets are 4-20 against the Tigers in Clemson, with the last win at Littlejohn Coliseum coming during the 2002-03 season.
Clemson won the first 12 meetings between these two teams, including a 103-67 win over the Jackets in the first game of the series on January 31, 1980. The series has been more even in the recent past, with Tech owning a 4-3 edge in the last seven meetings. After splitting the series in 2002, Tech swept both games from the Tigers in 2003 before Clemson came back with a pair of victories a season ago.
LAST TIME OUT: The Yellow Jackets overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to record their third ACC victory of the season by outscoring Clemson, 31-19, in the second half and defeating the Tigers, 53-48, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Rookie Chioma Nnamaka led three Yellow Jackets in double figures with 16 points, while Stephanie Higgs added 11 and Jessica Williams recorded 10 points and nine rebounds. Georgia Tech recorded 11 steals in the contest and forced 22 Clemson turnovers in the game while committing just 14 miscues of its own.
Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference
Georgia Tech is 109-262 in conference play in its 25 years as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Yellow Jackets are 7-19 in conference openers after posting a win in each of the last two season’s ACC openers, both of which came against Florida State. The Yellow Jackets have won all four meetings against Florida State when meeting the Seminoles in the ACC opener.
There are currently four ACC teams ranked in this week’s AP Poll, with Virginia and Florida State also earning votes. Georgia Tech is 1-7 against these six teams this season.
The ACC is currently the top-ranked conference in the WBCA/Summerville RPI, just ahead of the SEC and Pac 10 conferences, as one team appears in the top-10 (Duke-3), six more in the top-25 (Maryland-13, North Carolina-14, NC State-16, Florida State-17, Virginia-18, Virginia Tech-23), and a total of nine in the top-50 (Georgia Tech-38, Miami-50). Rounding out the RPI standings are ACC members Wake Forest (78) and Clemson (148).
The last time that Georgia Tech defeated a ranked ACC opponent was during the 2001-02 season, when the Jackets downed 17th-ranked North Carolina, 81-62 in Chapel Hill. Tech is 0-17 against ranked ACC opponents since then.