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Women’s Basketball Picked to Finish Third in ACC

THE FLATS – No. 17 Georgia Tech women’s basketball was picked to finish third in the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, while Lorela Cubaj and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen were tabbed preseason all-ACC, the league office announced Wednesday.

Last season, Tech made its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and first since 2014, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history with wins over Stephen F. Austin and West Virginia.  The Yellow Jackets capped a successful 2020-21 season with an outright third-place finish in the ACC – the best in program history – after being picked to finish ninth by the Blue Ribbon Panel and fifth by the league’s head coaches in the preseason poll. Tech was last picked to finish third in the ACC in 2012-13 following its first run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

The reigning ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Cubaj returns after averaging a double-double last season behind 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Cubaj led the team and ACC in rebounding, while ranking 12th in the nation last season. She currently ranks fourth in the Georgia Tech record book with 909 career rebounds. After becoming the first-ever defensive player of the year in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history, Cubaj also collected all-ACC first team honors, ACC all-tournament team (second) recognition and WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-American honorable mention accolades.

Joining Cubaj on the 2021 all-ACC first team (media), Lahtinen was named the ACC Most Improved Player last season after averaging 15.0 points per game to lead the Jackets and shot 43.0 percent from the field, including a 34.3 percent average beyond the arc. The Yellow Jacket recorded 14 games scoring 15 or more points last season and was one of only six players in the ACC to score 30 points or more in a game when she scored a career-high 30 against NC State. Lahtinen returns for her senior season also having garnered WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America honorable mention honors last season.

Cubaj and Lahtinen were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team this season by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and head coaches, and Tech was predicted to finish third by both parties as well.

Tech takes the hardwood for the first time on Monday, Nov. 1 hosting Clayton State for an exhibition contest at 6 p.m. in McCamish Pavilion. The official tip-off of the season will take place on the road at Central Michigan on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

The Yellow Jackets’ competitive schedule is highlighted by 17 home games, including a visit from No. 2 UConn on Thursday, Dec. 9. Season and single game tickets for the 2021-22 women’s basketball season are on sale now. Season ticket packages are just $65, offering fans the best ticket value and a reserved seat for all Georgia Tech women’s basketball home games. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.ramblinwreck.com/tickets, by calling 1-888-TECHTIX, or in person at the Georgia Tech Ticket Office. Fans can also sign up at https://ramblinwreck.com/ticket-form/ to receive information on special offers and presale opportunities.

Head Coaches & Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Player of the Year
Elissa Cunane, NC State, Sr., C

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason All-ACC Team (57 voters)
Taylor Soule, Boston College, Sr., F (1)
Delicia Washington, Clemson, Gr., G
Lorela Cubaj, Georgia Tech, Sr., F (1)
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, Georgia Tech, Sr., G

Hailey Van Lith, Louisville, So., G (1)
Jakia Brown-Turner, NC State Jr., G (1)
Elissa Cunane, NC State, Sr., C (42)
Maddy Westbeld, Notre Dame, So., F
Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech, Jr., C (10)
Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech, Gr., G (1)
() Indicates preseason player of the year votes

Blue Ribbon Panel Newcomer Watch List
Payton Verhulst, Louisville, Fr., G
Teonni Key, North Carolina, Fr., F
Diamond Johnson, NC State, So., G
Olivia Miles, Notre Dame, Fr., G
Sonia Citron, Notre Dame, Fr., G

Blue Ribbon Panel Predicted Order of Finish (57 voters)
NC State (50 first-place votes) – 847 points
Louisville (7) – 789
Georgia Tech – 691
Virginia Tech – 644
Florida State – 607
Notre Dame – 580
North Carolina – 488
Duke – 464
Miami – 355
Clemson – 324
Boston College – 297
Wake Forest – 250
Syracuse – 227
Pittsburgh – 160
Virginia – 117
() Indicates first-place votes

Head Coaches Preseason All-ACC Team
Taylor Soule, Boston College, Sr., F
Delicia Washington, Clemson, Gr., G
Lorela Cubaj, Georgia Tech, Sr., F
Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, Georgia Tech, Sr., G

Hailey Van Lith, Louisville, So., G
Jakia Brown-Turner, NC State Jr., G
Elissa Cunane, NC State, Sr., C (13)
Maddy Westbeld, Notre Dame, So., F
Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech, Jr., C (2)
Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech, Gr., G
() Indicates preseason player of the year votes

Head Coaches Newcomer Watch List
Celeste Taylor, Duke, Jr., G
Payton Verhulst, Louisville, Fr., G
Diamond Johnson, NC State, So., G
Olivia Miles, Notre Dame, Fr., G
Sonia Citron, Notre Dame, Fr., G

Head Coaches Predicted Order of Finish
NC State (14 first-place votes) – 224 points
Louisville (1) – 207
Georgia Tech – 192
Virginia Tech – 172
Florida State – 152
Notre Dame – 149
North Carolina – 127
Duke – 125
Miami – 92
Clemson – 83
Boston College – 78
Syracuse – 60
Wake Forest – 59
Pittsburgh – 47
Virginia – 33
() Indicates first-place votes

 

Alexander-Tharpe Fund
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

 

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