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March 3, 2011
GREENSBORO, NC – Four players scored in doubles figures to lead the fifth-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to an 81-58 victory over the 12th-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies in the opening game of the 2011 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament Thursday afternoon in the Greensboro Coliseum. Tyaunna Marshall and Alex Montgomery scored 14 points each as Georgia Tech advanced to play in the tournament’s quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last five years.
Freshman Dawnn Maye set a career high with six steals to pace the Yellow Jackets, who turned a Virginia Tech season-high 33 turnovers into 38 points. As a team, Georgia Tech recorded 20 steals, setting a new ACC Tournament first-round mark.
Georgia Tech raced out to an 18-5 lead and held an 11-1 advantage before Nia Evans made the Hokies’ first field goal more than five minutes into the game. The Jackets outscored the Hokies 25-2 on points off turnovers in the first stanza to build a 40-14 halftime lead.
“I told the kids the first five minutes were going to be crucial,” said MaChelle Joseph. “I think we came out and really made a statement.”
Virginia Tech regrouped in the second half, shooting 48 percent from the field and 50 percent (5-of-10) from behind the arc. Brittany Gordon scored all of her game-high 15 points and Elizabeth Basham added all of her 10 points in the second period, but the Hokies were unable to overcome Georgia Tech’s large lead.
“Obviously we struggled with their full-court pressure,” said Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger. “I give them a lot of credit. But I also credit our kids with perseverance, not giving up and continuing to fight.”
Georgia Tech, which improved to 22-9, is one win shy of its school record for wins in a season. The Yellow Jackets will face No. 4 seed Maryland (23-6) Friday at 11:00 a.m. Virginia Tech fell to 11-19.
Game 1 Notes: Georgia Tech improved to 5-5 in first-round games in the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Yellow Jackets are now 2-1 in the past two tournaments, having reached the semifinals of the 2010 tournament before losing to No. 1 seed Duke.
This is the sixth year of the 12-team tournament format, and No. 5 seeds are now 5-1 against the No. 12 seed in the first round. The lone upset was No. 12 Clemson over No. 5 Georgia Tech, 81-69, in 2009. Last year’s 5-12 game went to overtime, with No. 5 Wake Forest defeating No. 12 Miami 66-65.
Georgia Tech advances to Friday’s quarterfinals, taking on No. 4 seed Maryland at 11 a.m. Maryland won the teams’ lone meeting this season, getting a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Kim Rodgers to prevail 56-53 on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech’s record in the ACC quarterfinals is 4-22, including last year’s 52-45 defeat of No. 5 Wake Forest. The other quarterfinal victories came in 1992, 2000 and 2003.
The Yellow Jackets made a season-high nine 3-pointers. The previous high was seven in a 61-46 victory over Missouri on Nov. 27 in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech recorded 20 steals, a tournament record for the first round. The all-tournament record for steals in a game is 26 by North Carolina vs. Wake Forest in 1978, the first year of the tournament.
Georgia Tech freshman Dawnn Maye recorded a season-high six steals. Her steals also tied Georgia Tech’s season high for individuals. Alex Montgomery had six steals against Jacksonville State on Jan. 2. Georgia Tech’s season high for team steals is 23 in an 82-11 rout of Tennessee State.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series against the Hokies 5-4. The Yellow Jackets have won five in a row against Virginia Tech, a streak that dates to Feb. 29, 2008. Virginia Tech is 2-7 all-time in the ACC Tournament. The Hokies’ victories came in 2006 and 2007 in the first round.
In the second half, Virginia Tech more than tripled its first-half scoring output. After trailing 40-14 at halftime, Virginia Tech scored 44 in the second half, including 34 points in the final 9:45 of the game.