Nov. 22, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Off to a fast start, 3-0 Georgia Tech will try to stay perfect in 2014-15 when it takes on rival No. 24 Georgia, also 3-0. Tip-off for the Sunday matinee at McCamish Pavilion is set for 2:00 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets blasted Kennesaw State its last time out, routing the Owls, 77-48, Wednesday night at McCamish. Kaela Davis scored 15 points to lead four double-digit scorers and Aaliyah Whiteside added a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double as Jackets closed the half on a 19-2 run to take a 35-23 halftime lead and built the lead to as much as 29 late in the second half. Tech forced 28 turnovers and outscored Kennesaw 26-5 off miscues.
The Bulldogs raised their record to 3-0 the hard way, going into Columbus and knocking off Ohio State, 67-59. Georgia trailed 28-24 at the half and 44-35 with 14:50 to play, but rallied. A Tiaria Griffin three-pointer with 4:47 to play gave the Bulldogs a 52-50 lead and was part of a 20-6 second-half run. UGA stretched the lead to seven and salted the game away at the line, as Marjorie Butler went 4-for-4 in the final 19 seconds. Griffin led four Bulldog double-figure scorers with 16.
The game will be the 37th in a series that dates back to 1974. Georgia has won 32 of the 36 previous meetings, including the first 24, and has won three straight, but Coach MaChelle Joseph has three of Tech’s four wins in the series, including back-to-back home wins in 2008 and 2010.
The game can be seen online on ESPN3, with Brandon Gaudin and Angel Gray calling the action, or can be heard on WREK, 91.1 FM, or online at www.WREK.org with Richard Musterer and Hannah Gebresilassie on the call. Fans can get live stats on RamblinWreck.com and also can get instant updates by following the team on Twitter at @GTWBB and can get more information on the team by liking them on Facebook, GTWomensBasketball.
And now, the Starting Five for this year’s renewal of “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,” Women’s hoops style…
The Last Time We Met: The Yellow Jackets made a valiant effort to overcome an 11-point, second-half deficit, but came up short, falling 63-57. Kaela Davis led Tech with 13 points, while Sydney Wallace and Ty Marshall added 11 each. The Jackets surrendered the game’s first nine points, trailed 33-26 at the half and 42-31 with 14:44 to go, went on an 8-2 run, featuring a Davis three, two free throws by Roddreka Rogers and a field goal and free throw by Shayla Bivins to get back in the game and would twice cut the lead to three, the last time on a Wallace three-pointer with 4:27 to play ,but couldn’t equalize. The Jackets were hurt by 27 turnovers, although they only allowed 15 points off those turnovers.
Don’t Spare the Rodd: Junior Forward Roddreka Rogers has been all over the boards this season. The 6-0 junior is grabbing 12.0 rebounds per game, 8.0 on the defensive end, both of which lead the team and which rank her third and second in the ACC. Rogers leads the Jackets with 4.6 offensive rebounds per game. Her domination on the boards has helped the Jackets to a plus-20 rebound differential in their first three games. Rogers, who grabbed a team-high seven rebounds last year against Georgia, has become a double-double machine this year, as she’s recorded the sixth and seventh of her career, going for 10 points and 13 rebounds on Nov. 13 at Loyola then 17 and 17 Nov. 16 game against Morgan State.
White Hot!: Junior guard Aaliyah Whiteside has been a factor on both ends of the floor in 2014 as she is second on the team in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.3). She comes into the Georgia game only two boards shy of averaging a double-double for the season. Her productivity this season is greater than her first two seasons combined, which give her 16.1 ppg (8.3 and 7.8 ppg) and 8.1 rpg (2.8 and 5.3). The most noticeable difference is in her shooting, as behind the arc Whiteside is shooting 55.6 percent (5-for-9) after making only 31.9 and 25.4 percent of her three-point attempts her previous two seasons. She’s shooting 55.2 percent overall, also up from her first two seasons, when she had field goal percentages of 36.3 and 36.1. Aaliyah lit it up against Morgan State, scoring a career-high 26 points and followed by getting her second career double-double (14-11) against Kennesaw State.
It’s a 41-derful Life: The Yellow Jackets continue to thrive from three-point range. They enter Sunday’s game with a success rate of 41.3 percent from downtown. Sydney Wallace leads the way with eight three-pointers, while three other Jackets, Davis, Whiteside and forward Katarina Vuckovic each have made at least five 3-point field goals. As impressive is that three of the four Jackets are shooting at least 50 percent (Whiteside, 55.6 on 5-for-9, Wallace (8-for-16) and Vuckovic (5-for-10) at 50.0). Davis is at 27.8 percent (5-for-18). Right behind that quartet is Italian-born freshman point Antonia Peresson, who is just a whisker off 50.0 percent, having shot 3-for-8.
30-Something: While the Jackets are shooting the lights out, they’re also defending well both in front of and behind the arc. Tech is holding opponents to 36.8 percent success from the three-point line (14-for-38). That’s actually better than their shooting from inside three, as they’re making only 36.3 percent of their shots from inside the arc.
The Sixth Man: Fans are encouraged to bring canned goods to the game and will receive $3 tickets for doing so…Georgia Tech’s 91.3 ppg offensively ranks second in the ACC, behind only Florida State (97.5) and makes them one of two ACC teams scoring better than 90 points a game…The Jackets were one of 10 ACC teams that came into the weekend without a loss…Georgia Tech is not only swatting away shots like crazy but are getting blocks from a variety of sources. Six different players have at least one block, led by Davis’ three. Vuckovic and center Nariah Taylor each have two, while Rogers and Freshmen Zaire O’Neil and De’Ashia Jones have one each…The Jackets are spreading the offensive wealth around as well, as five different Jackets are averaging double-figure points (Davis, 18.0, Whiteside, 16.3, Wallace, 13.3, O’Neil, 12.3, and Rogers, 12.3). Vuckovic is knocking on the door at 9.0…Tech is outscoring its opponents in the paint by an average of 17.3 ppg. That bulge was helped by the 48-18 edge over Kennesaw…The Jackets have doubled up their opponents on second-chance points in every game (28-13 at Loyola, 24-6 vs. Morgan State and 28-14 vs. Kennesaw State).
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Kaela Davis, 18.0 ppg
GEORGIA SCORING LEADER: Tiaria Griffin, 15.7 ppg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER: Roddreka Rogers, 12.7 rpg
GEORGIA REBOUNDING LEADER: Shacobia Barbee, 8.7 rpg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Antonia Peresson, 4.0 apg
GEORGIA ASSISTS LEADER: Marjorie Butler, 4.0 apg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING: 91.3 ppg
OPPONENT: 60.3 ppg
GEORGIA SCORING: 65.7 ppg
OPPONENT: 49.3 ppg
GEORGIA PLAYER TO WATCH: Shacobia Barbee – The 5-10 junior guard/forward can play anywhere and do it all everywhere. Last season she became the first player in school history to lead the team in scoring (12.2 ppg), rebounding (7.9, rpg), assists (3.2 apg) and steals (2.6 spg) in the same season. She was the only player in the SEC to accomplish the feat and one of only seven in all of D-I. So far in 2014-15 the Murfreesboro, Tenn., native is either first or second on the Bulldogs in all four categories, averaging 10.7 ppg (second), 8.7 rebounds (first), 3.0 assists (second) and 2.3 steals (tied for first). Georgia Tech remembers Barbee well from last year, when she scored 14 points, grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and handed out four assists.