Jan. 6, 2002
Raleigh, N.C. — The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team remained close for the first 21 minutes of the game, but was unable to overcome 31 points from NC State sophomore Kaayla Chones and fell by a 75-63 score to the Wolfpack on Sunday afternoon at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C.
“My compliments to NC State on a well-played game,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “In the first half, I thought both teams struggled a little bit. But State came out in the second half and took control of the game to get the win today. They beat us in almost every category today and it started on the free throw line with them going 25-of-34.”
The Yellow Jackets (7-6, 1-3 ACC) took advantage of a tight game early on, claiming a three-point lead at 9-6 with 15:23 remaining in the first half, on the strength of a layup by senior guard Milli Martinez. Junior center Sonja Mallory added four of her 11 first-half points in the opening run for Tech.
NC State (8-6, 2-1 ACC) answered with a 12-5 run of its own over the next 8:27, as it got six points from Chones off the bench in the span to take an 18-14 lead with 6:56 remaining in the half. The Wolfpack would not relinquish the advantage for the remainder of the game, settling for a 28-24 lead at halftime after Tech junior Nina Barlin made a layup at the buzzer to cut the State lead to four just before intermission.
Mallory led all scorers with 11 points in the half, as she also pulled down six rebounds in the opening frame. Chones was the Wolfpack’s top scorer in the first half as she finished the period with nine points and two boards.
Tech immediately cut into the NC State lead as the second half opened, recording three-point baskets by Martinez and junior Niesha Butler, to make the score 32-30 with 19:16 to play in the half. That would be as close as the Jackets would get for the remainder of the game however, as the Wolfpack mounted a 9-0 run over the next 4:59 to put the game out of reach.
A three-point play by Mallory with 14:15 remaining ended the Tech drought, and cut the State lead to just eight at 41-33. The Yellow Jackets’ shooting would go cold again however, allowing the Pack to pull away once again with an 11-2 spurt that made the score 52-35 with 10:05 to play. Chones continued to give Tech fits over that span as well, netting seven points to lead the NC State charge.
The Yellow Jackets cut a 20-point advantage to 12 over the final 1:19 on the strength of a pair of three-pointers from Megan Isom and another three from freshman Nefertiti Walker, but the run proved to be too little too late.
Martinez scored 13 of her team-high 15 points in the second half to lead Tech and also pulled down a team-best seven rebounds in the game, five of which came in the second stanza. Mallory joined Martinez in double figures, as she scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, while also recorded a pair of blocked shots. Barlin was the Jackets’ third-leading scorer with nine points, and also had her fifth double-digit assist game of the year with 10 in the contest.
Chones’ 31 points led the Wolfpack as she scored 18 points from the field and recorded the rest on a 13-17 performance at the free throw line. Nanna Rivers followed Chones with nine points for NC State, as she also recorded five rebound and six assists in the game. The Wolfpack shot the ball well in the contest, finishing with a shooting percentage of 48.1 as compared to the Yellow Jackets’ 38.5-percent performance. State won the game at the free throw line, as it hit on 25-of-34 attempts for a percentage of 73.5.
“Chones was huge for them with 31 points off the bench today,” said Berenato. “She was the difference in the game.”
Georgia Tech will look to get back into the win column on Thursday night, when it hosts ACC-foe Virginia in a game that will tip off at 7:00 p.m. and be shown regionally on Fox Sports Net South.