Nov. 24, 2001
ATLANTA – After a sluggish start in its first-round game of the Atlanta Marriott NW Classic, the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team came out firing on all cylinders and pounded Eastern Washington by a 91-36 score to claim its fourth-straight tournament crown.
“I thought that our effort was really tremendous and we came out of the box really ready to play in this game,” said Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “I felt that our defense definitely spurred on our offense, which is something that we’ve really been looking for. I think that all five players that started the game, along with the players that came off the bench were very focused. The last three games we’ve had slow starts but today we corrected that.”
The Yellow Jackets jumped on top early in the contest and never let up, sprinting to a 30-8 lead at the 8:39 mark of the first half. The run was largely spurred by six Eagle turnovers and 10 points by junior center Sonja Mallory. With the score at 20-8 at the 11:13 mark, Tech went on a 10-0 run over the next 2:34 to take the 22-point advantage. The Jackets continued the onslaught, extending the advantage to as much as 40-11, before taking a 53-17 lead into the locker room at the half.
Senior forward Regina Tate led the Jackets in the opening 20 minutes, as she netted 14 points and grabbed five rebounds while also recording five steals. Mallory finished the half with 10 points, while junior guard Nina Barlin added 10 points. Tech recorded its top shooting half of the season, firing at a 68.6 percent clip, shooting 24-for-35 from the field.
“We’re really playing smart and disciplined in that we only had 14 turnovers,” said Berenato. “I think we’re improving every game. The team is really starting to see the benefits of everything we’re doing in practice every day and they’re believing in the system.”
The second half of the contest brought much of the same, as Tech once again made the final decision clear, upping the lead to 70-23 at the first media timeout at the 12:36 mark. The Jackets shot 46.7 percent in the second stanza and 58.5 percent in the game en route to the final 91-36 margin. The 36 points matched the third-fewest allowed by Tech in school history, tying the total the Jackets allowed in a 75-36 win over Covenant on December 1, 1981.
Tate earned tournament MVP honors, finishing with a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds to go along with five steals. For the two games, Tate had 47 points and 20 rebounds. Joining her on the all-tournament team were Barlin, who finished today’s game with 15 points and a career-high-tying 11 assists, and Mallory, who netted 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in today’s game. The final member of the all-tournament team for the Yellow Jackets was senior Milli Martinez, who had eight points, five rebounds and five assists against EWU.
“I’m just really happy for Regina Tate today,” said Berenato. “I brought the whole team aside when she went out to get her MVP award and told them that she is just an example of hard work and determination. She was out all of last year with an injury and I told them that they could be where she was if they worked as hard as she does.”
The Eagles were led by all-tournament performer Alison Chase, who had a team-high nine points, while bringing down three rebounds.
Georgia Tech will have a week off before traveling to Greenville, N.C., on December 1, to compete in the East Carolina Tournament. The Jackets will face Arkansas State in the first game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, followed by ECU and Southern at 4 p.m. The consolation game will tip off at 2 p.m. on December 2, with the championship game at 4 p.m.
2001 Atlanta Marriott NW Classic All-Tournament Team
Nina Barlin, Georgia Tech Alison Chase, Eastern Washington Sonja Mallory, Georgia Tech Milli Martinez, Georgia Tech Dorcas Miller, Hartford
MVP: Regina Tate, Georgia Tech