GREENSBORO, N.C. – Georgia Tech led for nearly 35 minutes of the game, but a tough Virginia squad used a strong fourth quarter to pull out a 60-58 victory in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Francesca Pan finished with 25 points, falling just one point shy of tying her career-high.
“It was a tough game to lose because we led for 95 percent of the game,” noted head coach MaChelle Joseph. “I thought that Francesca Pan carried us offensively. She needed some help, but we weren’t able to get anyone to step up and make plays to help her. I thought their [Virginia] players stepped up – Dominique Toussaint hit a big three with two seconds on the shot clock. With a nine point lead, they hit back-to-back threes and that really changed the momentum of the game. Even though we got stops after that, we weren’t able to connect on the offensive end.”
How It Happened
Tech’s 87.5 percent (7-8) shooting clip from the free throw line in the first half sent the Jackets to the locker room with a 34-29 halftime lead. Virginia shot 57.1 percent (12-21) from the field to Tech’s 35.3 percent (12-34) shooting efficiency in the first half, but the Cavaliers only attempted four free throws in the opening half. It was a face-paced opening 20 minutes as the Jackets grabbed the lead right out of the gate. Tech led by as many as five points in the first quarter, but extended its lead to seven twice in the second frame.
The Jackets led by nine points following a Francesca Pan three-pointer at the 3:34 mark of the third frame and the sophomore gave Tech a 53-45 edge at the 8:09 mark of the final quarter, connecting on a pair from the charity stripe. But a competitive Virginia squad used a 10-0 run after Pan’s free throws to grab its first lead of the game, hitting back-to-back triples for a 55-53 lead with 5:10 to play.
Kierra Fletcher snapped the run and converted the old-fashioned three-point play to return the lead to the Jackets, 56-55, with 3:52 on the clock. The advantage was short-lived as Lauren Moses returned the lead to the Cavaliers for the final time with a layup at the 2:44 mark, giving Virginia a 57-56 edge. With one minute to play, the Cavaliers pulled down two offensive rebounds on a missed layup, converting the second board for a three-point lead. Fletcher cut the score to 59-58 with a jumper as the Jackets forced a Virginia turnover on the next possession to regain control of the ball, but the Cavaliers forced a final turnover and converted a free throw for the final score.
* Pan finished with 25 points on 8-of-23 shooting from the field and 4-of-12 from three-point range
* Pan led Tech’s effort from the free throw line, going 5-for-8 as Tech finished 11-for-15
* Tech won the battle on the glass, 36-30, paced by Fletcher’s seven
* For the game, Tech shot 34.4 percent (21-61), while Virginia shot 43.8 percent (21-48)
* Virginia outscored Tech in the fourth quarter, 20-10