Feb. 15, 2005
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team will travel to Blacksburg to begin its final stretch of the season by meeting ACC newcomer Virginia Tech Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Georgia Tech radio station, WREK-FM 91.1 in Atlanta, and online at www.wrek.org, while livestats will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com. Richard Musterer will call the play-by-play for the radio broadcast and he will be joined at halftime by the director of women’s basketball operations for Georgia Tech, LaChina Robinson.
The Jackets are coming off a 12-point loss to Arkansas this past weekend at the annual Russell Athletic Shootout and look to end a two-game skid in Blacksburg facing the Hokies, who have lost their last three games to Miami, North Carolina and Virginia. Georgia Tech enters the game with a 13-9 overall record and stands seventh in conference play with a 4-6 record, while Virginia Tech is 14-9 this year with a 3-7 mark in ACC games.
Following the game at Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets will return home to host the Duke Blue Devils Sunday in a 1 p.m. game that will be televised on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network, which includes FSN South, Sunshine and Comcast.
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 22 games by leading the team in scoring (13.5 ppg) and standing second in assists (43) and steals (33). She is also averaging 4.4 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 five 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 7.0 per game while scoring 4.8 points per contest.
LOOKING AT THE BENCH: Just because the starters are out doesn’t mean Tech’s opponents can relax…through the first 22 games of the season, the Jackets’ bench is averaging 17.3 points per game (380 total), while the starters are averaging 42.4 points (932 total).
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO THE LINE: The Yellow Jackets have posted a stellar 11-2 record when converting on more free throws than their opponents, including a 3-2 mark against ACC teams. Conversely, when their opponents have made more shots from the charity stripe, Tech is just 2-7, 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 2-7 overall and 1-5 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 nine losses this season, the Jackets have made just 106 free throws in 157 overall attempts, converting just 67.5 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 8-5, but when the Jackets shoot lower in the second frame, they are 5-4. When the Jackets have scored equal to or more points in the second half, they are 9-6 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 12th-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 (3), Virginia Tech (5), Maryland (6), and Duke (9).
When Tech and Tech Meet
The Jackets and Hokies will be meeting for just the second time in history, with Virginia Tech holding a 1-0 edge in the series. This game will mark the first time that the two teams meet as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The only other game between the two teams was in the NCAA Tournament in 2003 when the Hokies defeated the Yellow Jackets on March 22, 2003, 61-59.
LAST TIME OUT: Fallon Stokes scored 25 points against the Hokies, but it wasn’t enough as Virginia Tech advanced to the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament with a 61-59 victory over Georgia Tech at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. The Jackets and Hokies each had two players to score in double figures, but Virginia Tech shot 53.2 percent from the field while holding Georgia Tech to just 38.3 percent.
TECH-TECH CONNECTION: Georgia Tech’s Mack McCarthy will be coaching against his alma mater and former employer when the Yellow Jackets meet the Hokies Wednesday evening. A 1974 graduate of Virginia Tech, McCarthy spent his first two years out of college as a graduate assistant with the men’s basketball program at Tech before moving on to East Tennessee State in 1977. Tonia Brown, an administrative assistant for the Georgia Tech women’s basketball program, is also familiar with the Virginia Tech program as she hails from nearby Roanoke, Va.
Tech vs. First-time ACC Opponents
Wednesday night the Yellow Jackets are looking to record just their fourth win over an opponent when playing them for the first time with both teams being members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Jackets are 3-6 in first-time meetings between ACC members, including posting a 62-46 win at Miami earlier this season.
The only other times that the Yellow Jackets have won the first contest between two teams that are members of the ACC was during the 1979-80 season, when Tech defeated Wake Forest 94-67 at the Virginia Tipoff Tournament on November 24th and during the 1991-92 season when the Jackets downed Florida State in Tallahassee, 70-68, on December 11th.
The Yellow Jackets have played seven of their nine games in this situation on the road, with the only two contests in Atlanta coming against Duke and North Carolina during the 1979-80 season.
Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference
Georgia Tech is 109-260 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 Florida State and Virginia also earning votes. Georgia Tech is 1-6 against these seven 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 two teams appear in the top-10 (Duke-3, Maryland-9), five more in the top-25 (North Carolina-15, Florida State-18, NC State-21, Virginia Tech-24, Virginia-25), and a total of nine in the top-50 (Georgia Tech-36, Miami-49). Rounding out the RPI standings are ACC members Wake Forest (78) and Clemson (144).
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 0-16 against ranked ACC opponents since then.
The Jackets vs. Ranked Opponents
The Yellow Jackets have met six ranked opponents this season, defeating the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 55-49 in December before dropping a 59-82 game at #1/1 Duke, a 41-55 contest against #12/5 North Carolina, a pair of games to Maryland, 72-65 at home and 84-67 in College Park, and a 59-83 game against NC State.
With five of the Yellow Jackets’ opponents ranked in the top-25 this week, Georgia Tech will have the opportunity to play eight games against a ranked team this season, as the Jackets will play Duke, Maryland and Florida State twice in 2004-05.
The win against the Bulldogs marked the highest-ranked opponent that the Yellow Jackets have defeated since the 1991-92 season, when Tech defeated No. 4 Maryland, 68-67 in its first win in an ACC Tournament game in history. It was also the first win for the Jackets against a team ranked in the top-10 since the 1998-99 season, when Tech downed No. 7/6 North Carolina, 91-84.
Georgia Tech’s last win against a ranked ACC opponent came during the 2001-02 season, when the Jackets downed 17th-ranked North Carolina, 81-62 in Chapel Hill. Tech is 0-15 against ranked ACC opponents since then and just 2-17 overall against ranked opponents since that game.
The last time that the Yellow Jackets won more than one game against ranked opponents in the same season came in 2000-01, when the Jackets went 2-8 against teams in the top-25. That year, the Yellow Jackets defeated Virginia twice when they were ranked.
The Yellow Jackets are 23-174 all-time against ranked opponents, including a 55-49 win over No. 6 Georgia this season. Georgia Tech is 1-10 all-time against teams ranked in the top-25 under current head coach MaChelle Joseph.
Last Time Out
The Yellow Jackets stepped out of conference for a meeting with the Arkansas Lady’Backs at the Russell Athletic Shootout, but were unable to overcome a 24-point performance by Sarah Pfeifer as Arkansas earned a 71-59 victory over the Yellow Jackets at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The Lady’Backs outscored the Yellow Jackets, 42-30 in the second half and had four players to score in double figures while holding the Jackets to just 25 percent shooting in the second frame after Tech converted on 46.4 percent from the field in the first half. Georgia Tech had four players score in double figures on the afternoon, including all three freshmen starters, Nnamaka, Jill Ingram and Janie Mitchell. Nnamaka paced the Yellow Jackets with 17 points in the game while Ingram added 15 and Mitchell, 12. Sophomore Stephanie Higgs and junior Jessica Williams rounded out the Tech scoring on the afternoon, with 13 and two points, respectively.
Home Games vs. Playing on the Road
After dropping a pair of road games in early December, the Yellow Jackets looked forward to their return to Atlanta, where the they have posted an overall record of 199-156 since the 1979-80 season. The Jackets are 10-4 at home this season after dropping three games at home in January. Conversely, Georgia Tech is 94-194 on the road since 1979-80, and 3-4 this year.
The Jackets hold an edge on the road in shooting percentage, averaging 37.3 percent away from Atlanta and just 36.6 from the field at home, but opponents are hitting 38.6 percent of their shots away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum, while converting on just 36.1 percent at AMC. Meanwhile, the Jackets are converting on just 25.7 percent of their three-point attempts at AMC, but enjoy playing shooting the trey on the road, as they have shot 35.9 percent from beyond the arc away from the Coliseum.
A couple of the most notable differences in scoring are of the Yellow Jackets’ top two underclassmen in Chioma Nnamaka and Stephanie Higgs. Nnamaka is averaging 10.9 points per game at AMC, but is scoring 17.7 points in each of the seven road contests. Conversely, Higgs enjoys playing in Atlanta, where she is averaging 14.8 points per game, while averaging 11.1 points on the road.
After recording five wins to open the season and five more following a pair of losses at Tulsa and St. John’s, the 2004-05 Georgia Tech women’s basketball team helped secure the 400th win in program history with a win at Miami on Jan. 23, 2005 by a score of 62-46 in the first meeting between the two schools as ACC members. It took the team nine seasons to win its first 100 games and nine years to win its next 100. The team recorded its 300th victory on November 28, 1998.
Sophomore Kentrina Wilson recorded 15 blocked shots this season prior to tearing her left anterior cruciate ligament, which is ninth for most blocked shots by a sophomore.
Stephanie Higgs has tallied 13 blocks in 2004-05, which places her 10th for most blocks by a sophomore, and just two blocked shots behind current teammate Kentrina Wilson. The Lawrenceville, Ga. native is also just eight points away from making the top-10 list for most points scored by a sophomore, as she has scored 298 points already this season.
Jill Ingram is sixth for most steals by a freshman in Georgia Tech history. She currently has 48 steals to her credit in 2004-05. The rookie from Charlotte, NC is also just six assists away from making the top-10 list for most assists by a freshman, as she has already dished out 61 helpers this year.
Fellow rookie Chioma Nnamaka has scored 292 points in 2004-05, which is good for seventh in the annals for most points scored by a rookie in Georgia Tech history. The last time that a freshman scored more than 260 points was during the 1998-99 season, when Niesha Butler tallied 521 total points during her rookie campaign.
Junior Kasha Terry recorded 30 blocks this season, with an average of 2.5 blocks per game, which ties for the highest percentage ever by a Georgia Tech junior. She ranks third for most blocks by a junior in the Georgia Tech annals.
Terry has 140 blocks in her career as a Yellow Jacket, which is fourth on Georgia Tech’s all-time list. She is just 30 blocks behind Joannah Kauffman (1995-98), who stands third.