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Tech Women Host #12/5 Tar Heels Sunday Afternoon

Jan. 28, 2005

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech will play host to No. 12/5 North Carolina Sunday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on “Take a Kid to the Game” day in which one free youth ticket is available for every adult ticket purchased. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Georgia Tech student station WREK-FM, 91.1 in Atlanta, and online at www.wrek.org. Richard Musterer will call the play-by-play for the broadcast and he will be joined by Kurt Hoyt providing the color commentary. Livestats for the game will also be available at www.ramblinwreck.com. The Yellow Jackets will have a special ceremony at halftime to honor all Tech women’s basketball alumni in attendance, as more than 130 women have been members of the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team in the last 30 years.

The Yellow Jackets enter the contest on a two-game win streak after earning a win at Miami and then defeating Clemson at home in the last week, and have an overall record of 12-5 on the season with a 3-3 mark in ACC play. UNC enters with a two-game win streak of its own, with wins over top-ranked Duke and Wake Forest in the last week, and stand at 16-3 on the season while holding a 4-2 record against ACC opponents.

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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 17 games, leading the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) while standing second in assists (34) and steals (25). 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 second 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.

LOVING THE MISS: Jessica Williams is again one of the top rebounders in the league, as she is averaging 7.4 per game while scoring 5.6 points per contest.

LOOKING AT THE BENCH: Just because the starters are out doesn’t mean Tech’s opponents can relax…through the first 17 games of the season, the Jackets’ bench is averaging 18.4 points per game (313 total), while the starters are averaging 43.1 points (733 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 seven players playing more than 15 minutes per contest, with six of those averaging more than 20 minutes per game.

THE JACKETS ON “D”: Through the first 16 games of the season, Georgia Tech has forced 293 turnovers by its opponents, which have led to 149 Yellow Jackets steals (8.8 per game). In comparison, the Jackets have turned the ball over 29 fewer times, leading to just 103 opponent steals in 17 games (6.1 per game).

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 five losses this season, the Jackets have made just 39 free throws in 78 overall attempts, converting just 50 percent from the line. In comparison, Georgia Tech has converted on 180-of-247 free throws (72.9 percent) in their 12 victories, a 23-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 8-2, but when the Jackets shoot lower in the second frame, they are just 4-3. When the Jackets have scored equal to or more points in the second half, they are 9-2 on the season, but when scoring fewer points in the final frame, they are just 3-3.

Yellow Jacket Injury Update

Ashley Guerrant is out (back).

Jackets vs. the Tar Heels

• North Carolina holds a 42-11 series lead and enters the game with a five-game win streak against the Yellow Jackets. • Georgia Tech’s last victory over the Tar Heels came on January 17, 2002, which was also the last time that the Yellow Jackets defeated a ranked ACC team, as North Carolina appeared at No. 17 in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls that week.

• The Jackets and Tar Heels will be meeting for the 25th time in Atlanta, with UNC holding an 18-6 lead on Tech’s homecourt and a 23-6 mark against the Jackets away from Chapel Hill. The last time that Georgia Tech defeated UNC in Atlanta was on January 24, 1999, by a score of 91-84.

• Georgia Tech is 4-23 against the Tar Heels when they are ranked, and 7-19 against unranked UNC teams.

• North Carolina won the first 17 meetings between the two teams, including a 93-61 win against the Jackets in the first game of the series on January 9, 1980.

• Note of Interest: The last time that Georgia Tech hit the century mark in an ACC game came against the Tar Heels in 1991, with the Jackets winning, 101-86 in Atlanta on January 9, 1991.

• LAST TIME OUT: Georgia Tech could not overcome an eight-point halftime deficit after being held to only 17 points in the first half, as North Carolina went on to win 58-46 in Atlanta on Feb. 23, 2004. Senior point guard Alex Stewart paced the Yellow Jacket offense with 18 points, going 8-for-13 from the floor and 2-for-5 from beyond the three-point arc, before fouling out in the last minute of the game. UNC held Tech’s top scorer Fallon Stokes to just eight points and three rebounds, while killing the Jackets from the perimeter, as freshmen Camille Little and Ivory Latta each scored 13 points while leading the Tar Heels offensively. North Carolina also played big on the boards, outrebounding the Yellow Jackets, 43-31.

The Jackets vs. Ranked Opponents

• The Yellow Jackets have met just three ranked opponents this season, defeating the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 55-49 in December and dropping a 72-65 decision to #15/17 Maryland and a 59-82 game to #1/1 Duke in the last month.

• With six 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 both Duke 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 0-12 against ranked ACC opponents since then and just 2-14 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 24-170 all-time against ranked opponents, including a 55-49 win over No. 6 Georgia this season. Georgia Tech is 1-6 all-time against teams ranked in the top-25 under current head coach MaChelle Joseph.

Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference

• Georgia Tech is 108-257 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 five ACC teams ranked in this week’s AP Poll, with another two earning votes. Georgia Tech is 1-3 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), three more in the top-25 (Florida State-19, Virginia Tech-22, Georgia Tech-24), and a total of eight in the top-50 (Virginia-40, NC State-42, North Carolina-48). Rounding out the RPI standings are ACC members Wake Forest (62), Miami (74) and Clemson (122).

• 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 0-12 against ranked ACC opponents since then.

Last Time Out

The Yellow Jackets outscored the Tigers 31-19 in the second half and overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to record their second-straight win against Clemson, 53-48, Wednesday evening at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets were paced offensively by freshman Chioma Nnamaka, who scored 16 points and went 7-for-8 from the free throw line, while Stephanie Higgs added 11 points and Jessica Williams chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds on the night. After shooting less than 30 percent from the field in the first half, Georgia Tech responded by converting on 45.5 percent of its shots in the second frame while holding the Tigers to just 29 percent in the half. The Jackets also forced 22 Tiger turnovers while committing just 14 of their own and made 15 free throws in the game, while allowing Clemson to get to the line on just three occasions.

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 199-153 since the 1979-80 season. The Jackets are 10-2 at home this season after dropping their first contest at AMC this past week against Virginia. Conversely, Georgia Tech is 93-192 on the road since 1979-80, and 2-3 this year.

The Jackets are fairly equal in shooting percentage at home and on the road, averaging 38.2 percent on the road and 37.1 from the field at home, but opponents are hitting 38.6 percent of their shots away from Alexander Memorial Coliseum, while converting on just 34.1 percent in Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Jackets are converting on just 25.9 percent of their three-point attempts at AMC, but enjoy playing shooting the trey on the road, as they have shot 38.7 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 11.0 points per game at AMC, but is scoring 19.8 points in each of the five road contests. Conversely, Higgs enjoys playing in Atlanta, where she is averaging 15.0 points per game, while averaging 10.8 points on the road.

Late Addition

Prior to the first game against the Clemson Tigers this season (Jan. 26), volleyball standout Lauren Sauer joined the 2004-05 women’s basketball team. The honorable mention All-American in volleyball was a two-time all-ACC selection that also earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2001. She was a four-year starter for the Yellow Jacket program that reached the NCAA Elite Eight in 2003 and the Sweet 16 in 2004 and finished her career ranked second in solo blocks (99) and fourth in kills (1,706), and kills per game (3.60). The 6-4 Huntsville, Ala. native was a two-year letterwinner for coach Charles Derrick at Grissom High, where she set the record for most assists in 1999, after spending the three previous years at Irmo High School.

Milestone Watch

• 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 has recorded 14 blocked shots this season, which is ninth for most blocked shots by a sophomore.

Setting the Precedence

The last time that the women’s AND men’s teams at Georgia Tech began the season at 5-0 was during the 1977-78 season. The women opened with a 10-0 start and went on to record a 23-4 record at season’s end, which marks the best record in a season ever for the Yellow Jackets. The men’s team started with a 6-0 record en route to a final 15-12 mark during their third season of play in the Metro Conference.

Following a win at Florida State, the women’s team was 10-2 overall in 2004-05, while the men recorded a win the same evening against Miami to improve to 10-2 on the season as well. With a 2-3 mark for both teams since that Jan. 6 evening, including victories in each team’s last game, Georgia Tech basketball (both men and women) is 12-5 overall this season and 3-3 in conference play.

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