Feb. 16, 2003
ATLANTA – Despite 20 points from senior center Sonja Mallory, the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team was unable to rally down the stretch and dropped a 56-54 decision to Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Ga.
“I’m very disappointed with the loss today,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “We just couldn’t get over the hump down the stretch and came up short. It hurt us to not be able to get to the free throw line and Virginia did a good job of getting to the line and that’s what got them the win at the end.”
The Yellow Jackets (15-9, 4-8 ACC) looked to climb back into the game against the Cavaliers (12-12, 6-7 ACC) at the start of the second half, mounting an 8-2 run to open the half, closing a 31-22 halftime deficit to 33-30 with 16:39 remaining. Four different players contributed to the spurt, with a layup by Mallory capping the run. Virginia answered with a 9-4 run of its own over the next 5:15, as Anna Crosswhite netted four points over the span to put the Cavs’ lead at 42-34 with 11:24 to play. Tech would not go away, as a jumper by Kasha Terry pulled the Jackets to within 43-40 with 7:59.
With 1:49 remaining, the Jackets pulled as close as they had been since the opening tip, when a layup by Fallon Stokes put the score at 48-47 in favor of Virginia. The Cavaliers, who had been 11-for-22 at the free throw line in the first 39 minutes of the game, went 6-for-8 in the final minute to ensure the final margin. Virginia’s Cherrise Graham was 3-for-4 in the span.
“I’m not sure what else we could have done,” said Berenato. “In the second half, we picked up our defense and did a better job of not turning the ball over. We held them to just five field goals in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.”
In the first half, Virginia took control of the game with a solid shooting performance. The Cavaliers took a 27-13 lead with 4:30 remaining in the period on the strength of a 15-6 run that was keyed by five points by Graham. Tech was then able to close the gap to 31-22 at the intermission behind 12 points from Mallory. The Cavs hit 12-of-23 shots from the field for a 52.2 field goal percentage and also hit 4-of-6 shots from beyond the three-point arc in the opening frame.
Mallory led the Jackets with her 20 points and seven rebounds, the 11th time this year that she has scored 20 or more points in a game. Stokes added nine points and a game-high eight rebounds, while rookie forward Kasha Terry and junior guard Alex Stewart added eight points and seven rebounds apiece with Stewart contributing six assists.
Graham led all scorers in the game for Virginia with 22 points, while Brandi Teamer, LaTonya Blue and Anna Crosswhite added nine apiece.
Georgia Tech will be back in action on Wednesday, when it hosts Georgia Tech in a key ACC match-up for both teams that will tip off at 7 p.m. at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.