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#TGW: Starting Five: Georgia Tech (17-8, 7-5, ACC) at No. 2/2 Notre Dame (24-0, 11-0, ACC)

Feb. 15, 2014

By Jon Cooper

The Good Word

Georgia Tech will celebrate Presidents’ Day by giant-hunting in South Bend, Ind., taking on No. 2/2 Notre Dame in the first meeting between the schools as ACC rivals. Tip-off at Purcell Pavilion is set for 7 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets won their conference-high fourth straight game on Friday night, taking care of Virginia, 95-76, at McCamish Pavilion. Tech’s 1-2 punch of Ty Marshall and Kaela Davis led five double-figure scorers, with Davis scoring a game-high 27 — 23 in the first half. Marshall added 20, eight rebounds and a game-best seven assists. Aaliyah Whiteside pulled down a game-high nine rebounds for the Jackets, who outrebounded the Cavaliers, 46-28 — 30-15 on the defensive end. Tech used an early 13-2 run to open up a 16-point lead and the Jackets took a 50-35 lead into the break. The Jackets led by double-figures for most of the second half, shooting 64.3 percent.

The Fighting Irish raised their record 24-0, topping Boston College, 82-61, Thursday night at Conte Forum. Their 24-0 start is the best in program history, passing the 23-0 start by the 2000-01 team, while the 24 straight wins are six shy of the school record set last season. Kayla McBride scored a game-high 19 to lead the way, while back court mate Jewell Loyd added 18 as Notre Dame led almost wire-to-wire, taking a 41-26 lead into the break and leading by as much as 29 in the second half. The Fighting Irish shot 53.6 percent for the game and scored 33 points off 20 Eagles turnovers.

Monday’s game will be only the second between the two schools and the first as ACC rivals. Georgia Tech lost the first game, 76-69, back on Nov. 29, 1996 in a game played in Atlanta.

The game can be heard on WREK, 91.1 FM, or online at with Richard Musterer and LaQuananisha Adams on the call. Fans can get live stats on and get instant updates by following the team on Twitter at @GTWBB. For more information on the team like them on Facebook at GTWomensBasketball.

And now, the Starting Five for Monday night’s game.

The Last Time We Met: Guard Carla Munnion scored 27 points, including the 1,000th of her career, and Kisha Ford added 14 points and seven assists, but Georgia Tech lost to No. 9 Notre Dame, 76-69, in the championship game of the Comfort Inn Downtown Classic, on Nov. 30, 1996, at O’Keefe Gym. Kenya Williams added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Jackets, and Kathy Dortch added 11 points, all in the first half. Agnus Berenatos’ Jackets led 42-28 at the break, holding Notre Dame to 37.1 percent shooting, 20.0 percent from three-point range (2-for-10), but the Irish shot 58.1 percent in the second half and used a 20-1 run to take the lead, then held off the upset-minded Jackets.

Rank Is Just A Number: Georgia Tech has seen plenty of ranked opponents in the MaChelle Joseph Era and has had its share of success. Joseph’s Jackets have won 11 games against ranked opponents, a third of the school’s total, with eight of those 33 coming on the road. No. 2/2 Notre Dame is the latest in the ’13-14 gauntlet of games against top-25 competition. It’s Tech’s eighth against a team in the top 25 or also receiving votes and while Tech is 1-6, they’ve hung tough in just about all of them. Three of the losses came away from Atlanta in non-conference play, at No. 4/3 Tennessee, No. 23/21 Georgia and in a neutral-site game against No. 13/16 Oklahoma State, by a total of 26 points. Additionally, four of the Jackets’ ACC losses this season have come against teams in the top 25, but the Jackets beat No. 13/11 North Carolina in its last game, at McCamish Pavilion. The last win against a ranked team away from home was came on March 20, 2012, in the NCAA Tournament, when Tech knocked off No. 17/16 Georgetown, 76-64.

Isn’t She (Two-) Grand!: When Ty Marshall scored on a lay-up with 11:04 remaining Friday night against Virginia, she once again made history, becoming the 24th player in ACC history to reach the 2,000-point mark and the first Yellow Jacket to do so. It continues the roll for Marshall, who was named ACC Player of the Week last week and ESPNW National Player of the Week after a 32-point effort against North Carolina, during which her 32nd point made her Georgia Tech’s all-time scorer. The 20-point game against UVA was her 36th career 20-point game. Georgia Tech is 28-8 in such games. Marshall also matched her career high with seven assists against Virginia. It’s the fourth time in her career and the third time this season she’s handed out seven assists. She’s also been dynamic on the boards, pulling down 34 over the last four games (8.5 rpg).

Cleaning The Glass: If you’re looking for an omen, keep an eye on the glass. Georgia Tech is +10.9 in rebounding in games they’ve won but are only +0.3 in losses. The Yellow Jackets have outrebounded their opponent in 21 of 25 games this season and are grabbing 45.6 rebounds per game, tops in the ACC. They’re also fourth in rebounding margin, grabbing 7.2 more rebounds per game than their opponent. Notre Dame is right up there in rebounds, pulling in 43.3 caroms with a plus-10.2 margin, second in the conference. Georgia Tech has two players in the top 15, with Ty Marshall, ranking 10th, with 7.7 RPG, and sophomore center Roddreka Rogers 12th with 7.4. Tech has been especially productive on the offensive glass, where they lead the ACC with 18.2 ORPG (Notre Dame is ninth at 14.4). Marshall and Rogers are in the top 10 in offensive rebounding, with Marshall tied for fourth with 3.7 ORPG, and Rogers 10th, with 3.1. The sophomore big has pulled down at least three offensive rebounds in each of the last five games, grabbing 16 overall. N.D. has two players in the top 15 in defensive rebounds, with Natalie Achonwa fourth (5.7) and Kayla McBride 15th (4.3).

Aali-yeah!!!: Sophomore guard Aaliyah Whiteside has become a major contributor on both ends of the floor in ACC play. Whiteside has scored in double-digits in three of the last four games and just missed her second double-double in three games, going for 12 and 9 against Virginia. She recorded her first double-double on Feb. 6 against No. 13/11 North Carolina, going for 10 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-0 guard has grabbed 28 rebounds in the last three games and has moved up to fourth on the team in scoring (7.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.0 rpg). She also has eight double-figure games, fourth most on the team. Whiteside has been lethal at the foul line, shooting 77.1 percent, up 50 points from her freshman season. She’s at 74.5 in league play, both are second on the team.

The Sixth Man: Kaela Davis ranks in the top 10 in the ACC in scoring 18.0 ppg, three-point field goals, with 2.5 per game, and is just out of the top 10 in free throw percentage, at 79.7. In conference play she’s 12th in scoring (17.4 ppg), and fifth in 3-PTFGMs (2.5). She’s also 15th in 3-PTFG percentage (34.6)…Aaliyah Whiteside went 3-for-4 at the foul line down the stretch against Virginia, but missed her first attempt with 36 seconds remaining. It was her first miss in “crunch time” (inside 5:00 and overtime) this season. She’d make her next three and is now 8-for-9 overall (88.9 percent). Coincidentally, Sydney Wallace and Katarina Vuckovic also missed their first crunch-time free throws of the season and are no longer perfect. It should be noted that game was not in doubt when Whiteside, Wallace and Vuckovic missed their FTAs…Vuckovic set her career-high with 14 points and six field goals against Virginia. Her previous bests were 11 points, on Dec. 29 against Alabama State and five FGMs vs. Alabama State and Wake Forest…Georgia Tech’s bench came through in a big way against UVA, outscoring the Cavs, 30-15, but the Jackets were out-scored in the paint, 42-30, off the fast break, 18-8, and off turnovers, 29-27…Tech’s 27 turnovers against the Cavs matched their season-high…Sydney Wallace has been in a groove over her last three games. She’s averaging 16.0 points, having hit 18-for-39 (46.2 percent) and is 7-for-14 from behind the arc. The stretch marks Wallace’s first back-to-back-to-back double-figure-scoring games in ACC play this season and her first since doing so in four straight games Dec. 20-30…Shayla Bivins matched her career-high with three blocks against Virginia. It’s the third time this season she’s swatted three shots in a game.

NOTRE DAME SCORING LEADER: Jewell Loyd, 17.7 ppg

NOTRE DAME SCORING LEADER (ACC): Jewell Loyd, 18.8 ppg

NOTRE DAME REBOUNDING LEADER: Natalie Achonwa, 7.6 rpg

NOTRE DAME REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Natalie Achonwa, 7.2 rpg

GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Ty Marshall, Dawnn Maye, 3.3 apg
NOTRE DAME ASSISTS LEADER: Kayla McBride, Lindsay Allen, 3.8 apg

NOTRE DAME ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Kayla McBride, Lindsay Allen, 3.8 apg

OPPONENT/ACC: 68.8/74.6 ppg

OPPONENT/ACC: 60.7/61.5 ppg

NOTRE DAME PLAYER TO WATCH: Kayla McBride – The 5-11, senior guard, is a tri-captain and one of three Wooden Award Candidates on the Fighting Irish. She’ll have extra incentive as Monday night is Senior Night. The team’s main long-distance threat, McBride is converting on three-point field goals at 45.5 percent, third in the ACC. She’s also in the top 10 in free throw percentage (83.6, fifth) and assist-to-turnover ratio (plus-1.7, ninth) and ranks among leaders in assists (3.7 apg, 12th), scoring (17.0 ppg, 13th), and defensive rebounds (4.3 DRPG, 15th) “K-Mac” went over the 1,600-point mark in N.D.’s last game, and ranks seventh all-time in school history in scoring. She is second on the team in scoring in ACC play and had her lone double-double of the season on Feb. 2 in the win over #3 Duke. McBride is an elite ball-handler, having had only three games all season with a minus in assists-to-turnovers, only one in ACC play.

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