Jackets Down Chattanooga To Advance In Women’s NIT
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 18) — Sophomore Milli Martinez scored a game-high 20 points to lead five Georgia Tech players in double figures as the Yellow Jackets rallied and hung on late to defeat Chattanooga, 81-74, Saturday night at McKenzie Arena in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Martinez scored six of Tech’s last nine points as the Jackets (17-13) closed the game on an 11-4 run. Senior Danielle Donehew started Tech’s late-game surge on a jumper with 2:43 remaining to tie the game at 70.
Tech’s Candice McCallum hit made the first of two free throws, and Martinez put back McCallum’s miss on the second to give the Jackets a 73-70 advantage with 1:45 left.
Tishay Lewis pulled Chattanooga (26-5) to within one on a pair of free throws with 1:28 remaining but that was as close as the Mocs would get. Jumpers by Donehew and Martinez put Tech up 77-72 with 28 seconds left. Tech then went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 18.2 seconds before Chattanooga’s Nneka Irons scored at the final buzzer.
“We’re really excited to come away with the win,” said Georgia Tech head coach Agnus Berenato. “We believed coming in that we could win, but we knew it would be very difficult with their crowd. Everytime they rallied we handled it well and showed a lot of poise.
“We have to win with a lot of people scoring and doing little things, and we did that tonight. This was a tough, hard-fought game, and we’re pleased to be leaving with a win.”
Junior Jaime Kruppa added 14 points for Tech before fouling out with 10:40 to play. Donehew finished with 13, freshman Amy Lingenfelder added 11 and Regina Tate had 10 for the Jackets.
Tech led by as many as 12 in the first half before Chattanooga rallied to take a 44-39 lead at halftime.
The Mocs went on a 14-0 run in the final 2:37 of the first half and did a lot of damage from the foul line. Chattanooga went 12-of-17 from the free throw line in the first half, while Tech was just 2-of-5. The Mocs were a perfect 5-of-5 from the line during their 14-0 run to end the half.
Kruppa cut the Chattanooga advantage to 44-41 with the first bucket of the second half before the Mocs reeled off six straight baskets to go up nine at 50-41 with 18:06 left. Tech then called timeout and used an 11-2 run to tie the game at 52 with 14:34 remaining.
After trading baskets, Tech stretched its advantage to six with 7:15 to play. Chattanooga came back to tie the game at 68 with 3:27 left and took a two-point lead on a pair of Lewis free throws. Donehew tied the game at 70 on her jumper with 2:43 remaining to lift Tech down the stretch.
The Jackets shot 54.8 percent (34-of-62) from the floor and outrebounded the Mocs 44-34. Chattanooga made the most of its opportunities from the foul line, going 20-of-25 for the game, while the Jackets were 7-of-13.
Georgia Tech, which improved to 5-0 all time in the WNIT, advances to the third round where the Jackets will play the winner of Saturday’s second round game between Arkansas and Missouri at a date and location to be determined.
GEORGIA TECH (17-13)
Stewart 0-1 0-0 0, Donehew 5-10 0-0 13, Lingenfelder 4-9 0-0 11, Barlin 1-3 2-5 4, Boatner 0-0 0-0 0, Martinez 9-16 2-2 20, Kruppa 6-8 2-4 14, Mallory 0-1 0-0 0, Tate 5-10 0-0 10, McCallum 4-4 1-2 9. Totals 34-62 7-13 81.
Carmichael 3-6 2-3 9, Bullock 3-14 1-1 7, Irons 6-10 0-1 13, Lewis 2-10 6-6 11, Rollins 2-5 0-0 5, Wilson 5-12 2-2 12, Banks 1-3 2-2 4, Dykes 3-6 7-10 13. Totals 25-66 20-25 74.
Halftime–Chattanooga 44, Georgia Tech 39. 3-point goals–Georgia Tech 6-13 (Lingenfelder 3-5, Donehew 3-7, Martinez 0-1), Chattanooga 4-11 (Carmichael 1-2, Irons 1-2, Lewis 1-4, Rollins 1-1, Bullock 0-2). Fouled out–Kruppa. Rebounds–Georgia Tech 44 (Barlin 9, Martinez 9), Chattanooga 34 (Lewis 8). Assists–Georgia Tech 17 (Lingenfelder 5), Chattanooga 14 (Carmichael 3, Bullock 3, Lewis 3). Total fouls–Georgia Tech 25, Chattanooga 12. A–3,544.