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Tech Women Host Florida State

Georgia Tech (9-3, 1-1) vs. Florida State (9-2, 1-0)
Fri., Jan. 5, 2001, 7:30 p.m.
Atlanta, Ga. – Alexander Memorial Coliseum
FOX Sports South


The Opening Tip
Georgia Tech returns home for its first home conference game of the season after upsetting North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Tuesday. The Yellow Jackets bring a six-game winning streak, their longest since 1996-97, into the contest with Florida State. The Seminoles are also off to a good start, upsetting No. 12 North Carolina State, 74-70, in Tallahassee on Saturday.

From the Locker Room
Four Yellow Jackets are averaging in double figures in scoring, led by sophomore Niesha Butler’s 17.1 points per game. Butler is second on the team and near the top of the ACC with an .825 free throw percentage and made 30 in a row from the charity stripe before missing two on Tuesday. Butler scored a season-high 25 points at UNC to lead the Jackets to victory. Junior Milli Martinez is second on the squad with 14.0 points and leads Tech with 8.4 rebounds per game. One of Tech’s most consistent players, Martinez is shooting .465 from the floor and a team-best .848 from the free throw line. She turned in one of her best performances of the year against the Tar Heels with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Sophomore Sonja Mallory captured Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational Most Valuable Player honors last weekend after scoring a career-high 25 points and grabbing eight rebounds against Fresno State on Saturday. On Friday, she scored a then-career-high 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds. She has scored in double figures in five of the six games in which she has started. She is averaging 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Senior Jaime Kruppa, last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, is averaging 10.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. Sophomore Tamika Boatner is averaging 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore Nina B*rlin has started every game at point guard for the Yellow Jackets the last two seasons. She has a 6.3 scoring average and 3.2 rebounding average and is tied for second on the team with 36 assists. Sophomore Alex Stewart leads the team with 41 assists and is tied for the team lead with 28 steals. She is averaging 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest.

Scouting Florida State
Florida State comes to Atlanta with a 9-2 overall record and a 1-0 conference mark after upsetting 12th-ranked North Carolina State, 74-70, on Saturday. FSU has won five games ina row and eight of its last nine. Four Seminoles are averaging double figures in scoring, led by Brooke Wyckoff (14.6 ppg) and April Traylor (14.2 ppg, 48 assists). Levys Torres leads the Noles with 10.5 rebounds per game and is third with 10.7 points per contest. Katelyn Vujas has scored 10.6 points per game and is second on the squad with a 6.4 rebounding average.

The Series with Florida State
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series with FSU 11-10 and has a 5-5 record against the Seminoles in Atlanta. Florida State defeated Tech twice last year, but the Yellow Jackets won both meetings in 1999. In fact, the Noles and Jackets have traded series since 1996, the last time there was a split in the series. Georgia Tech’s longest game ever was against the Seminoles, when FSU topped the Yellow Jackets, 90-85, in three overtimes on Jan. 31, 1996. Niesha Butler’s career-high scoring total of 40 points cane against the Noles a few years later, when she reached that mark in a 92-70 win on Jan. 2, 1999. Last year, FSU topped Georgia Tech 93-64 in Tallahassee and 77-74 in Atlanta. Tech’s last win in the series was an 86-78 victory on Jan. 31, 1999, in Tallahassee.

Head Coach Agnus Berenato
In her 13th season as head coach at Georgia Tech, Agnus Berenato owns a 183-172 (.515) record. Under Berenato’s guidance, the Yellow Jackets have advanced to the NCAA Tournament once and the WNIT twice, including last year. Berenato was named the 2000 GAHPERD College Coach of the Year and was named to “Who’s Who in America” by Marquis Who’s Who in 1999. Berenato was named the 1992 State of Georgia Division I Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-off Club after leading the Yellow Jackets to the NWIT title. A 1980 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s, Berenato received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from her alma mater in 1995. She also became the first alumnus to return to her school as a commencement speaker. Berenato became Georgia Tech’s head coach in 1988 after spending two years as an assistant coach of the Jackets.

The Last Time Out
The Ramblin’ Wreck upset North Carolina, 82-75, in Chapel Hill on Tuesday. It was Tech’s first win over the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill since 1991. The Yellow Jackets were led by Niesha Butler (25 points) and Milli Martinez (21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) as they ran away from the Tar Heels in the second half. Tech led by one at halftime, and opened up a 17-point lead four times in the second period. UNC out-scored Georgia Tech 17-7 in the final three minutes to close the final margin.

Tech Extends Longest Winning Streak in Four Years
Georgia Tech extended its longest winning streak since the 1996-97 season to six games with its win on Tuesday against North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets had not won six consecutive games since Dec. 22, 1996-Jan. 8, 1997. The last time Tech won more than six in a row was in 1995, when the Yellow Jackets opened the season with an eight-game winning streak.

Butler Extends Double Figures Scoring Streak
Redshirt sophomore Niesha Butler scored a season-high 25 points against North Carolina and has scored in double figures in every game this season. During her career at Tech, she has scored in double figures in 40 of her 43 contests. The last game in which she did not score in double figures was against NC State on Nov. 30, 1999, when she tore her ACL just three minutes into the game.

Martinez’ Consistency Paces Yellow Jackets
Junior Milli Martinez has been the Yellow Jackets’ most consistent player this year. She has scored in double figures in 10 of the 12 games, including the last four. She also leads Tech from the free throw line with an .848 mark, ranking her consistently near the top of the ACC. Martinez is not just a scoring threat, however. She is tied for the team lead and is among conference leaders with 28 steals and is tied for second on the team with 36 assists. On Tuesday against North Carolina, Martinez tied her season high with 21 points and equaled her career high with seven assists. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and had just one turnover as she helped lead the Yellow Jackets to victory.

Dishin’ the Rock
The Yellow Jackets, led by Milli Martinez’ seven assists, recorded a season-high 22 assists against North Carolina on Tuesday. The last time Tech recorded at least 22 assists in a game was on Dec. 29, 1999, when the Jackets had 23 assists against Western Michigan.

Mallory Earns MVP Honors With Career Tournament
Sophomore Sonja Mallory claimed Most Valuable Player honors at the Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational Saturday after a 25-point, eight-rebound, two-blocked shot performance against Fresno State. The 25 points against the Bulldogs were four more than her previous career high, set just one day earlier against St. Francis (Pa.). Mallory, who was seven-from-nine from the field, also had nine rebounds and two blocked shots against the Red Flash and, after entering Saturday’s game with just a 46.9 free throw percentage, Mallory made 11 of her 13 attempts against the Bulldogs. Mallory joins sophomore Tamika Boatner as Tech centers to earn tournament MVP honors this season.

Four Yellow Jackets Earn All-Tournament Honors
Sonja Mallory earned MVP honors at the Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Jaime Kruppa, Milli Martinez and Niesha Butler. Lindsay Logan of Fresno State and Carla Chesick of St. Francis (Pa.) also were named to the all-tournament team.

Mallory Streaks to Success
Sonja Mallory, who started the season on the Ramblin Wreck’s bench, has become dominant in the paint. The 6-4 center has scored in double figures in five of the six games since joining the starting lineup on Dec. 17. She also has blocked at least on shot in each of the games as a starter, and has blocked two or more in the last five contests. She leads the team with 16 blocked shots in nine games.

Yellow Jackets Tie Season Low with 13 Turnovers
The Yellow Jackets tied their season low with just 13 turnovers on Saturday against the Bulldogs. Tech equaled the mark which it set against Cornell on Nov. 24.

Butler’s Consecutive Free Throw Streak Ends at 30
Niesha Butler made 30-straight free throws from Dec. 8 to Jan. 2, before missing two at North Carolina. Butler is second on the team and near the top of the ACC with an .825 mark from the line.

Kruppa Turns Up the Heat
Jaime Kruppa has scored in double figures in five of the last seven contests and has grabbed double figure rebounds in three of the last four. The senior forward, who led Georgia Tech in scoring and rebounding last season, scored in doubles figures in just one of the first five games before scoring her season-high 22 points against Georgia on Dec. 8

Pacariz, Ebert Get on the Board
Freshman Jasmina Pacariz scored her first career points on Friday against St. Francis (Pa.). The Sweden native tallied four points in the contest. A day later, junior Ashley Ebert scored her first points of the season with four against Fresno State.

Ramblin’ Wreck Rebounding Machine
Before traveling to Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech was dominant on the boards in the four previous games. The Ramblin’ Wreck out-rebounded its opponents 197-96 in those contests, and twice set school records for rebounding margin. The Yellow Jackets established a new school record with a plus-33 rebounding margin at Wagner on Dec. 19. Then 10 days laster Tech out-rebounded St. Francis (Pa.), 60-24. Rebounding has been a critical component of the Yellow Jackets’ success this year. Tech is 8-1 in games in which it has out-rebounded its opponents, but 1-2 when it has been out-rebounded. The Yellow Jackets have out-rebounded their opponents in nine of 12 games this season.

Yellow Jackets Among ACC Leaders
The Yellow Jackets are well-represented on the ACC Leaders Board. As of Jan. 2, Niesha Butler is fourth in the conference with 16.4 points per game and second with an .852 free throw percentage. Milli Martinez is sixth in the ACC with a .472 field goal percentage, first with an .862 free throw percentage, fifth with 8.3 rebounds per game and fifth with 2.45 steals per game. As a team, Georgia Tech is second in the conference in scoring offense with 77.5 points per game, rebounding offense (44.2), rebounding defense (33.7) and offensive rebounds per game game (18.8).

Tech Totals 18 Steals Against Georgia State
Georgia Tech tallied 18 steals against the Georgia State Lady Panthers on Nov. 29. Every player who saw action grabbed at least one steal, and Jaime Kruppa, Niesha Butler and Milli Martinez had four apiece. The 18 steals were the most by the Yellow Jackets since Nov. 23, 1999, when Tech stole 24 from Georgia State.

Boatner Claims MVP Honors
Sophomore Tamika Boatner was named Most Valuable Player of the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Classic after averaging 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. She posted a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds in her first career start on Nov. 24, setting new personal bests in both categories. She then scored 16 points and set a career best with two blocked shots against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 25.

Three Yellow Jackets Earn All-Tournament Honors
Junior Milli Martinez and redshirt sophomore Niesha Butler joined Tamika Boatner on the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Classic All-Tournament team last weekend. Butler scored a game-high 20 points against Cornell and followed that performance with 12 points against Mount St. Mary’s. Martinez posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 reboounds against the Mountaineers after recording 11 points and eight rebounds against Cornell.

Butler Named Pre-Season Player-of-Year Candidate
For the second-straight year, Tech guard Niesha Butler was selected as one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith Player of the Year Award by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. Butler earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 after leading the Jackets with 19.3 points per game and 120 assists. She tore her ACL on Nov. 30 last year and received a medical redshirt.

Butler Tabbed Preseason First Team All-ACC
Niesha Butler was named to the preseason All-ACC team by the media at the ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day in October. She joins North Carolina senior LaQuanda Barksdale, Virginia sophomore Schuye LaRue, Duke senior Georgia Schweitzer and Virginia senior Svetlana Volnaya on the team.

Yellow Jackets Picked Sixth in ACC Preseason Poll
Georgia Tech was picked to finish sixth in the ACC by the conference’s media at the ACC Media Day in Greensboro, N.C., in October. Duke is the preseason favorite, followed by Virginia, North Carolina State, North Carolina and Clemson. Maryland, Florida State and Wake Forest were picked to finish seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.

Barlin Selected One of Atlanta’s Most Beautiful People
Tech guard Nina Barlin was chosen as one of Atlanta’s 50 Most Beautiful People by Jezebel Magazine. She is featured in the November issue, along with celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Kenny Rogers, Michael Stipe, Dikembe Mutombo and Miss Georgia Patti Dunn.

Yellow Jackets Select Team Captains
The Yellow Jacket players selected team captains for the 2000-01 season. Leading the squad as captains are: senior Jaime Kruppa, sophomoe Alex Stewart and sophomore Niesha Butler.

Georgia Tech Lands One in Early Signing Period
Georgia Tech signed center Eva Kadlecova to a national letter of intent in the early signing period. Kadlecova, a 6-4 post player from the Czech Republic, averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per gameas a freshman at Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y., last season. She was named to the All-Region first team and All-Tournament Team after helping lead her squad to the regionals last year.

Injury Report
Senior F Regina Tate will be out until at least Jan. 13 with a severe stress fracture in her left shin. Tate scored 6.7 points per game last season and was second on the squad with 6.8 rebounds per contest.

A Glance Ahead
Georgia Tech stays home to take on 24th-ranked Virginia at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Cavaliers are 10-4 overall and 2-0 in the ACC after defeating 12th-ranked NC State, 77-64, on Tuesday in Charlotetesville. The Cavs play host to Maryland on Friday before visiting Atlanta. Schuye LaRue leads UVA with 15.3 points per game and is the ACC’s leading rebounder with 11.0 rebounds per contest. LaRue and teammates Telisha Quarles (12.5 ppg, 2.46 spg) and Svetlana Volnaya (12.0 ppg) have all earned ACC Player of the Week honors this season.


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