March 3, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Prior to Georgia Tech’s (22-9, 9-5 ACC) ACC Tournament opener against Virginia Tech (11-19, 1-13 ACC) Thursday morning at the Greensboro Coliseum, head coach MaChelle Joseph told her team that the first five minutes would go a long ways in determining the course of the game.
And her squad responded in a big way, taking an 11-1 lead over the first five minutes of play, and cruising to an 81-58 win over the Hokies, and setting up a quarterfinal rematch against the No. 13/15 and fourth seeded Maryland Terrapins at 11 a.m. Friday morning.
“I’m very proud of my team for the start we had,” Joseph said. “It was great to play 12 people double digit minutes, not only get some rest for our starters and our role players, but to have an opportunity to have an opportunity to play in this incredible environment.
“We’re very focused on what we came in here to do and that was to earn some respect for our program,” Joseph said. “We know we’re playing in the best conference in the country and against some of the best teams in the country. We know we have to bring it for 40 minutes. I told the team I thought the first five minutes were going to be crucial and I thought they came out and really made a statement.”
By the time the game reached intermission, freshman Tyaunna Marshall had tallied her 22nd career double digit scoring game with 14 points. The entire Yellow Jacket offense was running like a well-oiled machine as it churned out 40 points on 48.4 percent shooting.
After struggling to convert from the field in the regular-season finale, the Yellow Jackets found much better success against Virginia Tech. In addition to Marshall, senior Alex Montgomery had eight first half pints and junior point guard had six on a pair of threes.
For the game, Georgia Tech tossed in a season-best nine three pointers, keyed by four from Montgomery.
The Yellow Jacket defense was equally impressive as it held the Hokies to 14 points, the second lowest first half scoring total of the season by a Jacket foe.
Georgia Tech began the second half in similar fashion, extending the 26 point halftime lead to as many as 38, 55-17, at the 15:28 mark of the half.
With the large lead, Joseph took some liberty in getting her bench involved. All 15 Yellow Jackets saw playing time and 12 played double digit minutes.
The Yellow Jacket scoring was likewise distributed across the Tech lineup. Marshall and Montgomery tied for team-high honors with 14 points, while Walthour and Mo Bennett each added 10 points. Junior LaQuananisha Adams finished 4-of-5 from the field and tossed in nine points off the bench.
The win makes the 2011 senior class of Alex Montgomery and Deja Foster the winningest class in Yellow Jacket history, surpassing the 88 total victories the 2010 class claimed during its tenure on the Flats.
Friday’s game against Maryland will be televised on the ACC’s regional sports network, with tip-off coming at 11 a.m. The Terps beat the Jackets 56-53 on a buzzer-beating three on Feb.3 in Atlanta.
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