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FT. MYERS, Fla. – Wake Forest women’s basketball’s 2015-16 season came to an end Monday night in the second round of the WNIT with a 67-48 loss at Florida Gulf Coast inside Alico Arena.
The Demon Deacons finish their best season under fourth-year head coach Jen Hoover at 17-16 overall. Down the stretch of the season, Wake Forest went 8-7 in its final 15 games after starting ACC play 0-5. The 17 wins overall and six in conference play mark the most in a season under Hoover, while the six ACC victories are the tied for the third-most in program history. Florida Gulf Coast’s season continues, now standing at 30-5 overall. FGCU has now won 30 games in back-to-back seasons and for the fourth time overall in program history.
Though Wake Forest scored on its first possession with a floater by Ariel Stephenson, the 2-0 lead stood until Kaneisha Atwater scored eight points in a row for FGCU to give the Eagles an 8-2 lead with 5:37 to go in the quarter, forcing a Wake Forest timeout. From there, Florida Gulf Coast continued to build its lead with an overall 20-5 run after the first bucket to take a 13-point lead to the second quarter.
After shooting 8-for-19 in the first quarter, FGCU cooled off in the second quarter as the two teams combined for 19 points, but the Eagles still extended their lead to 19 at multiple points throughout the quarter. It wasn’t until the last minutes of the frame that Wake Forest went on a mini run to cut the lead to 31-15 at halftime thanks to a mini 4-1 run in the last 83 seconds fueled by a three from Stephenson and a free throw from Destini Walker.
Out of the break, Wake Forest hit six shots in the third quarter after only five in the first half, but FGCU matched the effort in hitting six shots while knocking down three from long range. Though the Eagles extended their lead to a 22 with 7:36 to go in the quarter, Wake Forest went on a run to cut the lead to 13 in the final seconds of the quarter, leading to a 15-point deficit entering the fourth.
At the start of the final quarter, Milan Quinn hit a layup to pull the FGCU lead back to just 13, but the Eagles went on a 14-2 run to build a game-high 25-point lead with 6:30 to play that ended Wake Forest’s comeback chances.
The Demon Deacons were led by 14 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds from Quinn, who notched her third double-double in four games and her fourth in the last six dating back to Feb. 25 against Virginia Tech. She finishes the 2015-16 season with 11 double-doubles overall. The 15-rebound night marks the second time in four games she’s had 15 rebounds. Stephenson was the only other Deacon to hit double-digits, scoring 12 points in the contest. She finishes her freshman season scoring in double figures 24 of 33 games.
Atwater led all scorers in the game with 23 points on 8-for-19 from the floor. She was followed by a 18-point night from Stephanie Haas on 8-of-13 shooting. Overall FGCU shot 40.3 percent in the game on 25-for-62.
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team (20-13) lost a close game to Tulane (23-11) 64-61 in the second round of the WNIT at McCamish Pavilion on Monday night.
“We’re going to take a step back and look at this season and evaluate things we did well and the things we didn’t do well,” head coach MaChelle Joseph said. “Right now all I can think about is our three seniors. Aaliyah Whiteside and Roddreka Rogers, the four years they gave to this program, the leadership they provided this year and the toughness they showed night in and night out. Irene Gari came in for six months and had such an impact and helped us through a tough ACC schedule.”
How it Happened
The Yellow Jackets ran away with a 9-1 lead in the opening 3:22 of the game and was led by sophomore Imani Tilford who scored four of those nine points. The Yellow Jackets only allowed the Green Wave to score seven more points that period and took a 18-8 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
After the Yellow Jackets took as much as an 11 point lead in the beginning of the second quarter, the Green Wave utilized a 12-2 run to get within one point of Georgia Tech’s 26-25 lead at 4:04. Tulane tied up the score at 28 all and took its first lead of the game at 1:25, 34-33. The two teams went into the locker room at halftime tied at 36-36.
The Green Wave came out of halftime on a 9-2 run, taking a 45-38 advantage on the scoreboard 3:13 into the third period. The Yellow Jackets clawed back to get within one, 48-47, but the Tulane made one more shot and ended the third period with a 50-47 lead.
Tulane went ahead by nine, 60-51, with 5:21 left on the clock but both graduate student Irene Gari and junior Katarina Vuckovic hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Tech’s deficit to just three points, 60-57, with 4:11 left. Vuckovic’s shot from behind the arc would be the last field goal the Jackets would make in the game.
Tulane’s Taylor Emery hit a jumper at 2:16 to make it 62-57 in favor of the Green Wave and the rest of the game would be determined on the free throw line. Tilford and Whiteside went a combined 4-for-4 from the charity stripe while Tulane went 2-for-4 in the final 55 seconds of the game, but Tulane prevailed 64-61, eliminating Tech from the postseason.
Whiteside led the Yellow Jackets with 25 points, going 10-for-11 from the foul line against Tulane. It was her 38th time scoring in double figures in the past 40 games and her 18th time this season scoring at least 20 points. Whiteside hit double figures before the half, marking her 14th game this season scoring at least 10 points in the first half. She scored 14 of her 25 total points before halftime.
Whiteside finishes her career as a Yellow Jacket in seventh on Georgia Tech’s all-time scoring list with 1,580 career points. Her 644 points this season are second on Tech’s single scoring list. Her 19.5 points per game season average is fourth on Tech’s single season scoring average list.
Rewriting The Record Book
Seniors Roddreka Rogers and Aaliyah Whiteside had outstanding careers in Georgia Tech uniforms. The two have cemented their place in Georgia Tech’s record book.
Rogers finished her career with 963 career rebounds which is third on Georgia Tech’s all-time rebounding list. She is the third Yellow Jacket in women’s basketball history to have at least 900 career rebounds. She finished her career with 965 career points.
Whiteside finished her career with 1,580 career points and seventh on Georgia Tech’s all-time scoring list.
Whiteside is second all-time on Tech’s single season scoring list with 644 points. Her 19.5 points per game season average is fourth on Tech’s single season scoring average list.
Whiteside became the all-time leader in career free throws against Boston College. Tonight she went 10-for -11 from the foul line and has 502 career made free throws. Heading into tonight’s game, Whiteside ranked second in the nation in career free throws made and was tied for seventh in career free throws made among active players in the NCAA. Her 502 made free throws are seventh in the ACC career record book.
Whiteside is also 10th on Georgia Tech’s all-time 3-pointers made list with 108 made 3-pointers in her caree