ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team won its first game of the year, coming from behind to defeat Cornell, 74-68, in the opening game of the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Classic at O’Keefe Gymnasium.
Redshirt sophomore Niesha Butler scored a game-high 20 points in her first game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee last November. The preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate also recorded a game-best three steals, two assists and four rebounds. She led four Yellow Jackets in doubles figures in scoring.
Sophomore center Tamika Boatner set new career highs with 15 points and 14 rebounds in her first career start. It was also the first double-double of her career.
Senior forward Jaime Kruppa scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Junior Milli Martinez added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Despite Tech’s offensive balance, the Yellow Jackets had to rally for the victory. Cornell shot 60 percent from the field in the first half to hold an early lead. The Big Red led by as many as 12 points in the first half and clung to a 40-37 halftime advantage.
Katie Romie led the Big Red with 15 points while Karen Force and Deborah Stevens added 13 apiece. Breean Walas scored 12 points for Cornell.
The Yellow Jackets claimed their first lead of the second half, 53-51, on a jumper by Butler with 7:49 remaining and never again trailed. Over the next four minutes, Georgia Tech went on a 12-3 run to secure the victory.
Georgia Tech won its season opener for the second-straight year while Cornell fell to 1-2. The Yellow Jackets face Mount St. Mary’s tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. in the tournament’s championship game. Cornell plays Winthrop at 2:00 p.m.