Aug. 12, 2003
ATLANTA – Games against six different teams that reached the NCAA Tournament, including perennial national powers Old Dominion and Georgia, and a minimum of five regional television appearances are among the highlights of the 2003-04 Georgia Tech women’s basketball schedule, which was announced on Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets will take to the road to open the 2004 campaign, traveling to face Florida Atlantic in the season opener on Nov. 21, before heading even farther south to compete in the Paradise Jam Tournament in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Nov. 27-29. In that event, Tech will square off with James Madison, West Virginia and Southwest Missouri State.
“I’m excited about the schedule that we have been able to put together for the 2004 season,” said Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph. “I think that we have upgraded the level of competition to help us prepare for the rigorous Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. I’m also excited that we will be able to face two of the premier programs in the women’s game in Old Dominion and Georgia. Certainly another highlight for us will be the chance to take a trip to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and face three potential NCAA Tournament teams in West Virginia, Southwest Missouri State and James Madison.”
For the second straight season, the Jackets will face at least six teams that appeared in last year’s NCAA Tournament, and a seventh foe that reached the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in 2003. Among those will be road contests with Georgia State (Dec. 6) and Old Dominion (Dec. 18) in the pre-conference schedule, along with Atlantic Coast Conference rivals Duke, Florida State (WNIT), North Carolina, and Virginia. The Blue Devils reached the Final Four for the second straight year last season after capturing the ACC crown.
For the third-straight year, the match-up with Georgia will be part of the Russell Athletic Shootout at Philips Arena on Dec. 27. The event will also include a contest between LSU and Florida State in the first half of the doubleheader.
“Once again, we are looking forward to having the chance to play at Philips Arena,” said Joseph. “This will be the third straight year we have faced Georgia there and it’s always a great game and certainly a great opportunity for our team to be a part of that event.”
For the second straight year, the Yellow Jackets’ game with Georgia will be the first television appearance of the year for Tech and will be shown as part of a doubleheader on the ACC’s regional sports network, which includes Fox Sports Net South, Comcast Sports Net and the Sunshine Network. Tech’s ACC schedule includes televised contests at Virginia (Jan. 12), as well as home games with Clemson (Jan. 18), North Carolina (Feb. 23) and NC State (Feb. 26).
“The ACC has done an outstanding job of putting together the best television package in women’s basketball,” said Joseph. “With 41 televised games this year, the package certainly provides great exposure for the best league in women’s basketball.”
For the second time in three years, Tech will host one regular-season tournament, with the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational on Dec. 30-31. The two-day tourney will feature William & Mary, Florida A&M and Charleston Southern. The Jackets will face William & Mary in the first round on Dec. 30 at 1 p.m., with Florida A&M and Charleston Southern squaring off at 3 p.m.
After reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years in 2003, Tech returns 12 letterwinners and four starters from a team that finished with the best record in school history at 20-11. Included in the group of returning starters are seniors Fallon Stokes, Alex Stewart and Megan Isom, along with sophomore Megan Harpring. Stokes and Stewart each earned third-team All-ACC honors a year ago. Stokes was second on the team in both scoring and rebounding, while Stewart led the team and the ACC in both assists and free throw percentage. The Jackets also welcome back the services of senior Nina B?rlin and redshirt-freshman April Johnson, both of whom missed most or all of last year with knee injuries. Tech also has a pair of newcomers on the roster in guard Stephanie Higgs and forward Kentrina Wilson