March 2, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Behind 21 points from sophomore Tyaunna Marshall, the fourth-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets got past the fifth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels, 54-53, Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament in the Greensboro Coliseum. Seniors Mo Bennett and Metra Walthour added 11 points each as the Yellow Jackets pulled out the victory.
“I just want to say what a great played game that was on both sides on the defensive end. Obviously it wasn’t either one of our teams’ best offensive performances of the year, but I felt like defensively both teams were out there really getting after it on the defensive end,” Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “I give (North) Carolina a lot of credit for as aggressively as they played and how well they played throughout the course of the game. But when it mattered down the stretch, it really felt like our time. Tyaunna Marshall, as she did when we were at North Carolina, took over the game at the very beginning and then just decided not to be denied and went to the rim about three or four times in a row and was able to capitalize. That and our defense at the end of the game, getting stops when we needed to, was huge for us.”
Georgia Tech claimed its first lead of the game at 16-15 with 7:02 remaining in the first half. The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to as many as seven points in the first 10 minutes of the second period, but UNC responded with a 9-0 run to reclaim the lead with 6:33 remaining. The teams traded baskets and defensive stops in the final minutes. After Marshall’s layup gave the Jackets a 54-53 lead with 1:35 remaining, the Yellow Jackets held on and survived. UNC freshman Brittany Rountree’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the front rim.
“I am proud of these young ladies on my team for fighting hard and the way they played today,” North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “One possession, one rebound, one foul and you know one thing here and there, that would have made it a different story here because I really felt like we were going to win this game. I am proud of them for fighting hard and battling the way they did.”
Seniors She’la White (13 points) and Laura Broomfield (12 points, 8 rebounds) and junior Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (12 points) paced the Tar Heels, who dropped to 20-11 on the year.
Georgia Tech defeated North Carolina for the fifth consecutive meeting and improved to 23-7. The Yellow Jackets will face the winner of Friday afternoon’s game between top-seeded Duke and 9th-seeded NC State Saturday at 11:00 a.m.