Jan. 14, 2002
ATLANTA – Led by the play of post players Sonja Mallory and Regina Tate, the Georgia Tech (9-6, 3-3 ACC) women’s basketball team turned in its second-straight solid team effort and rallied to defeat Atlantic Coast Conference foe Maryland (9-7, 2-3 ACC) by a 61-58 score on Monday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
“This is a great win for us,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “I think that this team is really coming together and starting to believe in what we are trying to do. It really was an outstanding performance by everyone that got in the game tonight for us.”
A tight first half saw the two teams trade the lead three times and tie the score eight other times, including the 30-30 score at the end of the period. Maryland jumped on top early, staking itself to a four-point lead at 14-10, with 11:32 to go in the half, on the strength of six points from senior forward Deedee Warley.
The Yellow Jackets answered with a 5-1 spurt of their own to knot the score at 15-15 with 9:03 to play, as sophomore Megan Isom and Tate each had buckets in the run. Tech would take its first lead of the game at the 5:44 mark when senior Milli Martinez put in a fast-break layup off of a feed from Nina Barlin to make the score 22-21. Both teams then took two-point leads near the end of the half, before another layup by Martinez knotted things at 30-30.
The Terrapins found the hot shooting hand as the second half opened up, with Maryland building an eight-point advantage at 44-36 with 10:55 to play as Terri Daniels hit a three-pointer on a pass by Marche Strickland. Tech would not go away however, staging a 10-2 run over the next 4:47 to tie the score for the 10th time in the game at 46-46 with 6:46 to go. Sophomore Fallon Stokes had four points to lead the spurt, while Martinez closed the run with a layup. The play of the span was a steal by Isom that led to the tying by Martinez.
“I think that the play of the game was the tip and steal by Megan Isom,” said Berenato.
After the Terps took a two-point advantage on a pair of free throws by Renneika Razor, the Yellow Jackets took the lead for good on three-straight points from Mallory. The Jackets then made 10-of-12 free throws over the final 5:02 to hold off a late Maryland rally. Tech scored its last six points from the charity stripe, including three from Tate, who added a field goal with 1:39 remaining.
Maryland got as close as one at 59-58, as Daniels made a three-pointer with 15 seconds to play, but was unable to get any closer as the Jackets made a pair of free throws to seal the final 61-58 score.
“Maryland is a great team and this really is a great win for our program,” said Berenato. “I think that this team will be known for its desire and hustle. I don’t think we ever lost sight of our overall goal tonight and that was to win the game.”
Mallory led all scorers in the game, as she finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for her second double-double of the year. In the game, Mallory shot a season-best 8-for-10 from the free throw line to lead a Yellow Jacket team that finished with a season-best 17-22 (.773) performance at the line. She was joined in double figures by Tate, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Martinez, who had 14 points to go along with six boards and four assists.
“I just felt like the post was really open for me tonight,” said Mallory. “I felt like I had a very big size advantage over their post player and I had a clear sight of the basket all night.”
Warley led the Terrapins, as she recorded a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Two other Maryland players finished with double-figure scoring nights, as Razor had 12 points and Strickland had 11.
Georgia Tech will not have too much time off before its next game, as the Yellow Jackets will travel to North Carolina for a game on Thursday night beginning at 7 p.m. Maryland will be back in action on Thursday as well, when it hosts Virginia in a game that will tip off at 7:30 p.m.