Georgia Tech (12-12, 3-10 ACC) at Clemson (17-8, 8-6 ACC)
Mon., Feb. 19, 7:00 p.m.
Clemson, S.C., Littlejohn Coliseum
The Opening Tip
Georgia Tech (12-12, 3-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) travels to Clemson for a contest with the Lady Tigers on Monday night. The Yellow Jackets have dropped their last two games after upsetting No. 25 Virginia in Charlottesville on Feb. 8. Clemson (17-8, 8-6 ACC) has won its last two games and is in third place in the ACC. The Lady Tigers are ranked 22nd in the USA Today/ESPN poll and are receiving votes from A.P.
From the Locker Room
Four Yellow Jackets are averaging in double figures in scoring, led by sophomore Niesha Butler’s 15.6 points per game. Butler is second on the team with 44 steals. She has scored in double figures in 21 games this season and has led Tech in scoring in 11 contests. She is seventh in the ACC in scoring and ninth in steals. Junior Milli Martinez is second on the squad in scoring (12.5 ppg), rebounding (7.2 rpg) and free throw percentage (.797). She leads the team with 45 steals, ranking her seventh in the ACC. After coming off the bench for two games, Martinez rejoined the starting lineup on Thursday and recorded 13 points and four assists against NC State. Sophomore Sonja Mallory led Tech with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots against the Wolfpack. She has recorded double-doubles in two of the last three games and is averaging 11.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. She leads the ACC with 1.57 blocked shots per game. Mallory captured Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott NW Holiday Invitational MVP honors Dec. 29-30 after averaging 23 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games. Senior Jaime Kruppa, last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, is averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. She scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Duke on Jan. 11. Sophomore Nina Bärlin has started all but one game at point guard during her career and has a 6.4 scoring average and 2.6 rebounding average. She leads the team with 76 assists and has tallied at six assists in three of the last four games. Sophomore Alex Stewart, the first player off the Tech bench, recorded just the second triple-double in school history on Jan. 30 with an 11-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist effort. She is second on the team with 72 assists and is third with 43 steals. Stewart is averaging 7.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest. Sophomore Tamika Boatner is averaging 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Scouting the Lady Tigers
Clemson is 17-8 overall and third in the ACC with an 8-6 conference mark after knocking off Virginia, 78-71, on Thursday. Chrissy Floyd leads the Lady Tigers and is third in the conference with 17.2 points per game. She is first in the ACC with an 81.4 free throw percentage and is fifth in the conference with a 45.4 average from the field. Her 1.88 steals per game rank her sixth in the conference. Erin Batth is second on the squad with 13.3 points per game and is fourth in the ACC with 8.7 rebounds per contest. Batth also ranks ninth in the conference with 0.96 blocked shots per game. Her 10 double-doubles this season rank her third in the ACC. As a team, Clemson leads the ACC from the free throw line with a .715 mark. The Lady Tigers also are first in the conference with a plus-4.72 turnover margin. In his 14th year at Clemson, Jim Davis owns a 295-136 record.
The Series with Clemson
Clemson leads the all-time series with Georgia Tech, 35-9, including a 72-64 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Jan. 18 in Atlanta. The Lady Tigers have won eight of the last nine meetings and are 17-3 against Georgia Tech at home. The Ramblin’ Wreck’s last win at Clemson was a 72-62 victory on Feb. 25, 1996.
Head Coach Agnus Berenato
In her 13th season as head coach at Georgia Tech, Agnus Berenato owns a 186-181 (.507) record. Under Berenato’s guidance, the Yellow Jackets have advanced to the NCAA Tournament once and the WNIT twice, including last year. Berenato was named the 2000 GAHPERD College Coach of the Year and was named to ‘Who’s Who in America’ by Marquis Who’s Who in 1999. Berenato was named the 1992 State of Georgia Division I Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-off Club after leading the Yellow Jackets to the NWIT title. A 1980 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s, Berenato received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from her alma mater in 1995. She also became the first alumnus to return to her school as a commencement speaker. Berenato became Georgia Tech’s head coach in 1988 after spending two years as an assistant coach of the Jackets.
The Last Time Out
Sonja Mallory recorded her second double-double in the last three games with 18 points and 10 rebounds and added three blocked shots, but it was not enough as NC State held off Georgia Tech, 74-68, on Thursday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Milli Martinez added 13 points and four assists, and Nina Bärlin led an outstanding tean ballhandling effort with six assists, three steals and no turnovers. As a team, the Yellow Jackets turned the ball over a season-low seven times. NC State, however, overcame a solid performance by Tech. Carisse Moody led the Wolfpack with 23 points and nine rebounds. Tynesha Lewis added 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Ivy Gardner recorded 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. NC State led by as many as 13 points in the second half before withstanding a late Yellow Jacket charge.
The Last Meeting: Clemson 72, Ga. Tech 64 (Jan. 18)
The 20th-ranked Clemson Lady Tigers outlasted the feisty Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 72-64, Jan. 18 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. After battling back from an 11-0 deficit to start the game, Georgia Tech claimed its first lead, 20-19, with 7:24 to play in the first half on a jumper by sophomore Alex Stewart. The Yellow Jackets and Lady Tigers remained close with Clemson finishing the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 38-32 halftime lead. Nuria Forns paced the Lady Tigers with nine points and five rebounds in the first period, while three Yellow Jackets (Stewart, Milli Martinez and Niesha Butler) scored eight apiece. Tech opened the second half on a 6-0 run to even the score at 38. After trading leads throughout the period, Clemson’s Erin Batth took over. She scored eight consecutive points for the Lady Tigers, interrupted just by a Jaime Kruppa layup for the Jackets, and gave Clemson a four-point lead with 3:19 remaining. The Lady Tigers made 10 of 13 free throws down the stretch as they held on for the win. Butler led all scorers with 19 points and added five rebounds and four assists. Stewart finished the game with 13 points, while Kruppa and Martinez scored 12 apiece. Batth led the Lady Tigers with 18 points and tallied eight rebounds. Forns posted just her second career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Georgia Tech out-rebounded Clemson, 42-32, but shot just 37 percent from the field. The Lady Tigers shot 46 percent from the field.
Tech Sets Season Low with 7 Turnovers against NC State
The Yellow Jackets established a new season low with just seven turnovers against NC State on Thursday. The mark, just one more than the school record, is the fewest for the Jackets since Dec. 29, 1999, when Tech had seven turnovers against Western Michigan.
The Magic Number: 70
Georgia Tech’s magic number during the 2000-01 season has been 70. The Yellow Jackets are 12-2 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 0-10 when scoring fewer than 70. Tech is 7-2 when holding opponents under 70 points.
Mallory Leads ACC in Blocked Shots
With three blocked shots against NC State on Thursday, sophomore Sonja Mallory took over the top spot in the conference blocked shots leaders list. Mallory has 33 blocked shots this season, giving her a conference-best 1.571 blocked shots per game. She passed North Carolina freshman Candace Sutton, who is averaging 1.565 blocks per game.
Jackets Earn First-Ever Win in Charlottesville
Georgia Tech snapped a six-game conference losing streak with its 87-70 win over Virginia in Charlottesville on Feb. 8. The win, Tech’s first in 21 attempts in Charlottesville, gave the Yellow Jackets their first series sweep of the Cavaliers. Georgia Tech defeated UVA 70-65 in Atlanta on Jan. 7.
Stewart Dazzles with Triple-Double
With 11 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists against Charleston Southern on Jan. 30, sophomore Alex Stewart recorded the first triple-double of her career. With 10 assists, 10 rebounds and nine points already, the 5-5 guard scored on a layup with 3:44 remaining to accomplish the rare feat. Stewart is the first player in ACC history to record a triple-double off the bench. She joins former Yellow Jacket standout Kisha Ford (33 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists on Feb. 13, 1995) as just the second Tech player to tally a triple-double.
Super Sophomores Show Strength
The Georgia Tech sophomore class is the foundation of the Yellow Jacket squad this season. The Yellow Jacket quintet is accounting for 62 percent of the team’s scoring, 65 percent of the assists and 59 percent of the minutes played. Sophomore Niesha Butler leads the team in scoring (15.6 ppg); sophomore Nina Bärlin leads the team with 76 assists. Sophomore Sonja Mallory leads the Yellow Jackets in blocked shots (33) and field goal percentage (.540). Sophomore Alex Stewart leads the squad in free throw percentage (.824). All five sophomores — Butler, Stewart, Bärlin, Mallory and Tamika Boatner — have started at least three games and are averaging at least 20 minutes of action per contest. The 72 starts by Tech sophomores are the most in the ACC, 32 more than any other school’s sophomore class.
Tech Atop ACC in Rebounding Margin, Offensive Rebounds
With a plus-6.0 rebounding margin, Georgia Tech ranks first in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets have out-rebounded opponents in 16 games this year, and are 11-5 in those contests. Tech is 1-7 when being out-rebounded. The Ramblin’ Wreck has twice set school records for rebounding margin this season. The Yellow Jackets established a new school record with a plus-33 rebounding margin at Wagner on Dec. 19. Then 10 days later Tech out-rebounded St. Francis (Pa.), 60-24. Tech is also atop the ACC in offensive rebounds per game with 16.79 per contest.
Bärlin Turns Up the Heat
Sophomore Nina Bärlin has broken out of a mid-season slump with a season-high six assists in three of the last four games. She has also become more of an offensive threat, scoring 15 points against Florida State on Feb. 5 and 17 points against Virginia on Feb. 8. Before breaking out with 15 against FSU, Bärlin was averaging 3.6 points per game for the previous 14 contests. Bärlin’s 17 points against UVA are the most she has scored since Nov. 25, when the 5-9 guard established a career high with 22 points against Mount St. Mary’s.
Pacariz Gets on the Board
Freshman Jasmina Pacariz recorded the first assist of her career on Feb. 12 and finished the game with a team-best three assists. The 6-1 guard also tallied the first blocked shot of her career against Duke.
Butler On Pace to Reach 1,000 Points
Redshirt sophomore Niesha Butler has scored 375 points this season, keeping her on track to join the 1,000 Point Club this year. Butler has 949 career points and could become just the third player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in her second full season. Butler, who is averaging 15.6 points per game, needs to average 12.75 points per contest during the final four games of the season to reach 1,000 points.
Stokes Shines in Starting Role
Freshman Fallon Stokes stepped into a starting job Feb. 8 and made her presence known. The 5-10 forward scored eight points and established a new career high with 11 rebounds against Virginia. She grabbed two huge offensive rebounds off of missed free throws and sank two free throws in the final minute to help the Yellow Jackets preserve their first-ever victory in Charlottesville. She has started the last three games, averaging 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest.. Stokes also excelled in her first career start, setting a career high with 12 points against Charleston Southern on Jan. 30.
Career Bests Mark Mallory’s Steady Improvement
Sonja Mallory continues to emerge as a powerful force under the basket. She posted the fourth double-double of her career and her second in the last three games against NC State on Feb. 15, recording team-bests with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. She turned in one of the best performances of her career on Jan. 30 against Charleston Southern. The 6-4 sophomore scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds. On Jan. 25 Mallory set a new career high with four blocked shots against Wake Forest. Her 33 blocked shots are the highest season total since 1997-98 and give her 50 in her career. With three blocked shots against Florida State on Feb. 5, Mallory passed Marielle Walker for 10th on Tech’s career blocked shots list.
Martinez Keeps Jackets Buzzing
Junior Milli Martinez has been a reliable fixture in the Yellow Jacket lineup this season. Martinez, who came off the bench for the first time this season to score a team-high 20 points against Virginia on Feb. 8, leads the team in steals (45), is second in rebounds (7.2 rpg), scoring (12.5 ppg) and free throw percentage (.797) and third in assists (63). She has scored in double figures in 18 of Tech’s 24 games. Martinez has posted five double-doubles, led Tech in rebounding eight times and assists five times. She scored 20 points against Virginia on Feb. 8, the fourth time this season she has reached that mark. On Jan. 2 against North Carolina, Martinez tied her season high with 21 points and equaled her career high with seven assists. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and had just one turnover as she helped lead the Yellow Jackets to their first victory in Chapel Hill since 1991.
Dishin’ the Rock
The Yellow Jackets, led by Alex Stewart’s 11 assists, recorded a season-high 23 assists against Charleston Southern on Jan. 30. The last time Tech recorded at least 23 assists in a game was on Dec. 29, 1999, when the Jackets had 23 against Western Michigan.
Butler Sets Career High with Eight Steals against Wake
Niesha Butler set a career high with eight steals against Wake Forest on Jan. 25, tying the third-most in a single game at Tech. Bonnie Tate holds the Yellow Jackets’ single game record with 11 against Spelman on Feb. 15, 1977.
Stewart Sparks Tech
Sophomore Alex Stewart, Tech’s first player off the bench, has provided a spark for the Yellow Jackets this season. She leads Tech with an .824 free throw percentage, is second on the team with 72 assists and third with 43 steals. Stewart is averaging 7.8 points per game and is the Ramblin’ Wreck’s best player at penetrating opposing defenses. She is sixth in the ACC with a 1.20 assist/turnover ratio and 10th in steals (1.79 pg). Although she generally does not start (she has three starts this season), Stewart has played more minutes than all but three players on the team. A team captain and Tech’s representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, Stewart led the Yellow Jackets to victory over Charleston Southern on Jan. 30 with her first career triple-double. The 5-5 guard recorded 11 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists in 26 minutes of action off the bench.
Kruppa Tackles Nation’s Elite
Jaime Kruppa scored a career-high 28 points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to lead Georgia Tech against fifth-ranked Duke on Jan. 11. In two games against top-five teams this season, Kruppa is averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots.
Yellow Jackets Among ACC Leaders
The Yellow Jackets are well-represented on the ACC Leader Board. Niesha Butler is seventh in the conference with 15.6 points per game, ninth with 1.83 steals per contest and ninth with a .717 free throw percentage. Milli Martinez is sixth with 7.2 rebounds per game, second in the conference with 3.46 offensive rebounds per contest and seventh with 1.88 steals per game. Jaime Kruppa ranks fifth in the conference with 7.3 rebounds per game and 5.22 defensive rebounds per contest and is seventh with a .721 free throw percentage. Alex Stewart is sixth in assist/turnover ratio (1.20) and 10th in steals (1.79 per game). Nina Bärlin is fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.21) and ninth in assists (3.30 per game). Sonja Mallory leads the ACC with 1.57 blocked shots per game, is seventh with 7.0 rebounds per contest, sixth with 2.86 offensive rebounds per game and 10th with 4.19 defensive rebounds per game. As a team, Georgia Tech leads the ACC with a plus-6.0 rebounding margin and 16.79 offensive rebounds per game. Tech is second in the ACC in rebounding offense (42.0 pg).
Butler Named ACC Player of the Week
After leading Georgia Tech to victories over North Carolina and Virginia, Niesha Butler was named the ACC’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Week on Jan. 8 by conference media. Butler, a 5-8 guard who garnered seven ACC Rookie of the Week awards as a freshman in 1998-99, was the first Georgia Tech player to be named ACC Player of the Week since Kenya Williams on Nov. 23, 1998. Butler averaged 19.3 points per game as the Yellow Jackets faced league foes North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia and finished 2-1 on the week. The New York, N.Y., native finished the week 25-52 from the floor (.442), including 4-9 from behind the three-point arc, and 8-11 from the free throw line. She scored a game-high 25 points in Georgia Tech’s 82-75 victory over UNC, the first win for Tech in Carmichael Auditorium since 1991. In the Jackets’ victory over No. 25 Virginia, Butler tallied 22 points to lead Georgia Tech to its first victory over the Cavaliers since 1997. Butler has scored in double figures in 21 games this season and has reached the 20-point mark seven times.
Tech Knocks Off Tar Heels, Cavaliers
Georgia Tech knocked off North Carolina and Virginia Jan. 2 and Jan. 7, the first time the Yellow Jackets have defeated the Tar Heels and the Cavaliers in the same year since 1988-89, head coach Agnus Berenato’s first year at the helm of the program. Tech defeated North Carolina 82-75 on Jan. 2, the Ramblin’ Wreck’s first win in Chapel Hill since 1991. Then just five days later, Tech handed No. 25 Virginia its first conference loss of the season, 70-65. On Feb. 8, the Yellow Jackets once again toppled Virginia, earning their first-ever win in Charlottesville, 87-70.
Mallory Earns MVP Honors With Career Tournament
Sophomore Sonja Mallory claimed MVP honors at the Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational Dec. 30 after averaging 23 points and 8.5 rebounds per game against St. Francis (Pa.) and Fresno State. She scored a career-high 21 points against the Red Flash on Dec. 29 and then bettered that mark with a 25 points against the Bulldogs on Dec. 30, making 11 of her 13 free throw attempts against Fresno State. Mallory joins sophomore Tamika Boatner as Tech centers to earn tournament MVP honors this season.
Four Jackets Earn All-Tournament Honors at Holiday Inv.
Sonja Mallory earned MVP honors at the Georgia Tech/Atlanta Marriott Northwest Holiday Invitational and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Jaime Kruppa, Milli Martinez and Niesha Butler. Lindsay Logan of Fresno State and Carla Chesick of St. Francis (Pa.) also were named to the all-tournament team.
Tech Totals 18 Steals Against Georgia State
Georgia Tech tallied 18 steals against Georgia State on Nov. 29. Every player who saw action grabbed at least one steal, and Jaime Kruppa, Niesha Butler and Milli Martinez had four apiece. The 18 steals were the most by the Yellow Jackets since Nov. 23, 1999, when Tech stole 24 from Georgia State.
Boatner Claims MVP Honors
Sophomore Tamika Boatner was named Most Valuable Player of the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Classic after averaging 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. She posted a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds in her first career start on Nov. 24, setting new personal bests in both categories. She then scored 16 points and set a career best with two blocked shots against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 25.
Three Yellow Jackets Named to All-Tournament Team
Junior Milli Martinez and redshirt sophomore Niesha Butler joined Tamika Boatner on the Atlanta Marriott Northwest Classic All-Tournament team Nov. 24-25. Butler scored a game-high 20 points against Cornell and followed that performance with 12 points against Mount St. Mary’s. Martinez posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Mountaineers after recording 11 points and eight rebounds against Cornell.
Butler Named Pre-Season Player-of-Year Candidate
For the second-straight year, Tech guard Niesha Butler was selected as one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith Player of the Year Award by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. Butler earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 after leading the Jackets with 19.3 points per game and 120 assists. She tore her ACL on Nov. 30 last year and received a medical redshirt.
Butler Tabbed Preseason First Team All-ACC
Niesha Butler was named to the preseason All-ACC team by the media at the ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day in October. She joins North Carolina senior LaQuanda Barksdale, Virginia sophomore Schuye LaRue, Duke senior Georgia Schweitzer and Virginia senior Svetlana Volnaya on the team.
Bärlin Selected One of Atlanta’s Most Beautiful People
Tech guard Nina Bärlin was chosen as one of Atlanta’s 50 Most Beautiful People by Jezebel Magazine. She was featured in the November issue, along with celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Kenny Rogers, Michael Stipe, Dikembe Mutombo and Miss Georgia Patti Dunn.
Yellow Jackets Select Team Captains
The Yellow Jacket players selected team captains for the 2000-01 season. Leading the squad as captains are: senior Jaime Kruppa, sophomore Alex Stewart and sophomore Niesha Butler.
Senior forward Regina Tate had surgery on Jan. 19 to repair a severe stress fracture in her left shin and will redshirt this season. Tate scored 6.7 points per game last season and was second on the squad with 6.8 rebounds per contest.
On Deck: Feb. 22 at Maryland, 7:30 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets play their last road game of the year when they travel to College Park, Md., to take on the Terrapins on Thursday. Maryland is 15-9 overall and 6-7 in the ACC. The Terps have been a streaky team this season and enter a Monday night matchup with Wake Forest on a three-game losing streak. Before losing to Virginia, Florida State and Duke, Maryland rattled off five conference wins in a row. Junior Marche Strickland leads the Terrapins with 13.8 points per game and junior Deedee Warley is second on the squad with 12.6 points per contest. Sophomore Renneika Razor leads Maryland with 6.1 rebounds per game and is fourth in the ACC with 2.38 steals per contest. Freshman Kiki Wimbush is third in the conference with 4.33 steals per game. Head coach Chris Weller has compiled a 484-266 record in her 26th year at Maryland. The Terrapins lead the all-time series with Georgia Tech, 32-11, including a 66-62 victory over Georgia Tech on Jan. 21 in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets have won two of the last three meetings in the series, but Maryland holds and 18-2 advantage over Tech in College Park.