The Opening Tip
Georgia Tech (12-13, 3-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) travels to Maryland for its final road game of the year on Thursday. The Yellow Jackets have dropped their last three games after upsetting No. 25 Virginia in Charlottesville on Feb. 8. Maryland snapped a three-game losing streak on Monday with a 69-53 victory over Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C.
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 tied for 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 (7.0 rpg) and free throw percentage (.803). She leads the team with 49 steals, ranking her fifth in the ACC. Martinez scored 12 points and recorded a game-high four steals on Monday at Clemson. Sophomore Sonja Mallory led Tech with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots against NC State on Feb. 15. She has recorded double-doubles in two of the last four games and is averaging 10.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. She is second in the ACC with 1.5 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 7.4 rebounds per game. She posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against Clemson on Monday. Sophomore Nina Bärlin has started all but one game at point guard during her career and has a 6.2 scoring average and 2.5 rebounding average. She leads the team with 79 assists and has tallied at least six assists in three of the last five 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 74 assists and is tied for second with 44 steals. Stewart is averaging 7.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest. Freshman Fallon Stokes has started the last four games. She is averaging 3.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest. Sophomore Tamika Boatner is averaging 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game off the bench.
Scouting the Terrapins
Maryland is 16-9 overall and 7-7 in the ACC. A streaky team this season, the Terps snapped a three-game losing streak with 69-53 victory at Wake Forest on Monday. Before losing to Virginia, Florida State and Duke, Maryland rattled off five conference wins in a row. Junior Marche Strickland leads the Terrapins with 13.5 points per game. Junior Deedee Warley is second on the squad with 12.9 points per contest and leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game. Sophomore Renneika Razor is averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and is fourth in the ACC with 2.36 steals per contest. Freshman Kiki Wimbush is second in the conference with 4.52 steals per game. Head coach Chris Weller has compiled a 485-266 record in her 26th year at Maryland.
The Series with Maryland
Maryland leads 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 an 18-2 advantage over Tech in College Park. Last year the Jackets defeated the Terps, 73-67, at Maryland.
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
Clemson defeated Georgia Tech, 68-49, Monday night at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum. After trailing by 11 at halftime, the Yellow Jackets pulled to within seven after two quick three-pointers by Milli Martinez to start the second half. But after cutting the lead to 39-32 with 17:08 remaining in the game, Tech was unable to mount an offensive attack. The Jackets scored just four points over the next 14:17 before freshman Jasmina Pacariz sank a three-point field goal with 2:51 remaining. Pacariz finished the game with a career-high nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc. The play of Pacariz was one of few highlights for the Yellow Jackets, who fell to 12-13 (3-11 ACC) on the year. Jaime Kruppa turned in a solid performance with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Jackets, her fifth double-double of the year. Martinez added 12 points and four steals.But the Yellow Jackets were overmatched. Clemson’s Chrissy Floyd scored a game-high 21 points and led the Lady Tigers with three steals. Krystal Scott added 13 points for CU and Erin Batth celebrated Senior Day with a game-high 12 rebounds, four points and four assists. Clemson held Georgia Tech to just 28 percent shooting from the field in the second stanza and forced 22 turnovers in the game. The 49 points scored by the Yellow Jackets were the fewest by Tech since scoring just 43 at Clemson on Jan. 31, 2000.
The Last Meeting: Maryland 66, Ga. Tech 62 (Jan. 21)
The Maryland Terrapins out-battled the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, coming from behind to defeat Tech, 66-62, Jan. 21 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Georgia Tech outscored Maryland 16-5 to close the first half with a 34-22 lead. But Maryland fought back in the second half and claimed its first lead in 36 minutes with 3:19 remaining on a Kiki Wimbush jumper. Over the last seven minutes of the game, Maryland outscored the Yellow Jackets 17-6 to earn the victory. Georgia Tech shot just 11-for-23 (48 percent) from the free throw line in the game. Sophomore Niesha Butler scored a team-high 18 points, but made just four of nine free throw attempts. Senior Jaime Kruppa scored 14 points and recorded eight rebounds, but scored just four points in the second half and was one of four from the charity stripe. Junior Deedee Warley led Maryland with 20 points and was eight-of-eight at the free throw line. Sophomore Renneika Razor scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Wimbush contributed nine points and nine assists.
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 0-11 when scoring fewer than 70. Tech is 7-3 when holding opponents under 70 points.
Pacariz Scores Career-High Nine Points against Lady Tigers
With three thee-point field goals, freshman Jasmina Pacariz scored a career-high nine points against Clemson on Monday. The 6-1 guard sank three treys in the final three minutes of action to help the Yellow Jackets break out of a scoring slump. She finished the game three-for-five from behind the arc, scoring nine of Tech’s final 11 points. She also recorded one blocked shot against the Lady Tigers.
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 Feb. 15. 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.
Mallory Second in ACC in Blocked Shots
With 33 blocked shots, sophomore Sonja Mallory is in second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Her 1.50 blocked shots per game rank her just behind North Carolina freshman Candace Sutton, who is averaging 1.54 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 61 percent of the team’s scoring, 64 percent of the assists and 58 percent of the minutes played. Sophomore Niesha Butler leads the team in scoring (15.6 ppg); sophomore Nina Bärlin leads the team with 79 assists. Sophomore Sonja Mallory leads the Yellow Jackets in blocked shots (33) and field goal percentage (.537). 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 74 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-5.2 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 1-8 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 16.56 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 five 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.
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 four games, averaging 5.5 points and 6.3 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 (49), is second in rebounds (7.0 rpg), scoring (12.5 ppg) and free throw percentage (.803) and third in assists (64). She has scored in double figures in 19 of Tech’s 25 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 74 assists and tied for second with 44 steals. Stewart is averaging 7.8 points per game and is the Ramblin’ Wreck’s best player at penetrating opposing defenses. 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.
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 eighth with a .717 free throw percentage. Milli Martinez is seventh with 7.0 rebounds per game, fourth in the conference with 3.32 offensive rebounds per contest and fifth with 1.96 steals per game. Jaime Kruppa ranks fifth in the conference with 7.4 rebounds per game and 5.25 defensive rebounds per contest and is seventh with a .730 free throw percentage. Nina Bärlin is eighth in assist/turnover ratio (1.16) and ninth in assists (3.29 per game). Sonja Mallory is second in the ACC with 1.5 blocked shots per game, is eighth with 6.8 rebounds per contest, sixth with 2.77 offensive rebounds per game and 10th with 4.00 defensive rebounds per game. As a team, Georgia Tech leads the ACC with a plus-5.2 rebounding margin and 16.56 offensive rebounds per game. Tech is second in the ACC in rebounding offense (41.4 pg).
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.
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. 25 vs. Wake Forest, Noon
The Yellow Jackets play their final regular-season game of the year on Sunday when they host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Noon at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Wake Forest is 11-15 overall and 3-12 in the ACC. The Deacs have lost seven in a row since beating Georgia Tech. 79-71, in Winston-Salem on Jan. 25. Freshman Eafton Hill leads Wake Forest with 11.2 points per game and 35 blocked shots. She is second on the squad with 6.0 rebounds per contest. Hill is tied for third in the conference in blocks and is among the top 20 in the ACC in both scoring and rebounding. Seniors Kristen Shaffer and Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick are averaging 10.4 points per game. Shaffer is also second on the team with 51 assists while Kirkpatrick leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game. In their first meeting this year, Shaffer scored 20 points and Kirkpatrick grabbed eight rebounds to lead Wake Forest to victory over Georgia Tech. Wake head coach Charlene Curtis has compiled a 30-79 record in her fourth year at the helm of the Demon Deacons. Although the Deacs won the first game between the teams this year, Georgia Tech has won nine of the last 11 meetings and 10-straight in the series aat home. The last time the Demon Deacons won in Atlanta was Jan. 6, 1990. Overall, the Yellow Jackets hold a 23-18 series advantage over Wake Forest.