Oct. 3, 2011
Head Coach MaChelle Joseph enters her ninth season at the helm of the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team with the most veteran squad during her tenure on The Flats. Joseph returns 12 letterwinners from the 2010-11 team that set a school record with 24 wins, advanced to the ACC Tournament Semifinals and the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
On Monday, Joseph, staff and the Yellow Jackets took the floor for the first time in full team practice in advance of the Nov. 11 opener against Alabama State, which will tip at 5:30 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett.
“It’s exciting to get on the floor with five seniors and players who have impacted our program,” Joseph said following practice. “I really like the depth of this team, the speed, the size but most of all, the experience. Having 12 letterwinners back is a huge advantage and add in the fact that our three freshmen can play at such a high level, it’s exciting.”
Georgia Tech boasts five seniors and four juniors, matching the most seniors Tech has had under Joseph. The nine upperclassmen compared to six underclassmen marks just the second time in her career Joseph will have more veterans than not to rely on.
Joseph noticed the impact on day one.
“I feel like the team is further along in understanding our system at this point than we ever have been. We have 12 letterwinners back and they all played in the NCAA Tournament, the five seniors have played there three times. It makes the transition from conditioning and individual workouts to full practice much easier.”
One of the rookies, Sydney Wallace from nearby Johns Creek, certainly agreed.
“The upperclassmen have been here for three or four years, they know what to do, know what not to do, and they can kind of help guide you through things you have trouble with.
“At first, I was kind of shaky because I have to get acclimated to everything, learn new things,” Wallace continued. “Once you start getting used to it, it gets a lot easier to understand. Overall, today was good, it was competitive. I just have to make adjustments so I’m more prepared for the next practice.”
Senior center Sasha Goodlett thought the team showed up and competed hard on the first day of practice. She also noted that the Jackets shouldn’t pat themselves on the back too much.
“We had our little rough patches, but we’re going to work out the kinks, it’s just the first day. We did pretty well. We did great effort wise, and we can only get better from here.
“I feel like our freshmen are learning. I think Me-Me [Metra Walthour] came in and did a great job as always, calming down and running the team. We have to go up from here on out. Today was a good day, but tomorrow has to be better and the day after has to be even better.”