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March 4, 2011
GREENSBORO, NC – The fifth-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets used a dominant effort from senior Alex Montgomery down the stretch and held off the fourth-seeded Maryland Terrapins, 70-64, in the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament Friday afternoon in the Greensboro Coliseum. Montgomery scored 11 consecutive points for the Yellow Jackets in the game’s final four and a half minutes and 17 in the game as Georgia Tech advanced to Saturday’s semifinals.
Sasha Goodlett tied a season high with 18 points and nine rebounds, Tyaunna Marshall added 16 points and Metra Walthour scored 14 for the Yellow Jackets, who tied the school record set last year with their 23rd win of the season. Deja Foster tied her season high, leading all players with 10 rebounds and helping Georgia Tech to a 36-27 advantage on the glass. Maryland entered the game ranked third in the nation with a +13.0 rebounding margin.
“I’m very proud of my team,” said Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph. “I want to give Maryland credit. They played hard on both ends and are one of the best rebounding teams in the country. For us to outrebound them says a lot about the heart and hustle of this team.”
In a meeting between teams that finished with identical 9-5 conference records and played in a buzzer-beating regular season contest, it was not surprising that Friday’s game featured seven ties and 15 lead changes. The first half alone featured six ties, 12 lead changes and a big run by each team. Neither squad led by more than three before Georgia Tech used an 11-0 run to stake a 28-19 advantage with 2:58 to play in the first period. Maryland responded with a 10-0 run of its own to lead 29-28 at intermission.
Although the Yellow Jackets scored the first basket of the second half, Maryland continued its run that started before halftime. Maryland’s 22-2 run that spanned intermission gave the Terrapins a 41-30 lead less than four minutes into the second period.
Faced with its biggest deficit of the game, Georgia Tech did not back down, streaking to a 56-47 lead with a 26-6 run. Although the Terrapins closed to within two, the Yellow Jackets never relinquished the lead.
Montgomery made sure Maryland’s comeback would fall short. After Lynetta Kizer made it a 64-62 game on two free throws with 1:17 remaining, Montgomery secured the victory with a three-point play just six seconds later.
“I thought we got beat by a better team,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Georgia Tech did an excellent job dictating the tempo they wanted. Their pressure defense gave us problems. They did a phenomenal job on the glass and outrebounded us.”
Kim Rodgers and Alyssa Thomas paced the Terrapins with 13 and 12 points, respectively, but No. 13 Maryland fell to 23-7 on the year.
Georgia Tech (23-9) will face the winner of Friday’s contest between top-seeded Duke and ninth-seeded Wake Forest at 1:00 p.m. Saturday.
Game 5 Notes:
Georgia Tech’s record in the ACC quarterfinals is 5-22, with the other wins coming in 1992, 2000, 2003 and 2010. The Yellow Jackets have advanced to the semifinals in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.
Maryland won the teams’ lone meeting in the regular season, getting a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Kim Rodgers to prevail 56-53 on Feb. 3 in Atlanta. That victory broke the tie in the ACC standings for the No. 4 seed. Both teams finished the regular season with 9-5 records.
Georgia Tech improved to 2-4 against Maryland in the quarterfinal round. The other victory by Georgia Tech over Maryland in the quarterfinals came in 1992, the year the Yellow Jackets made their lone trip to the championship game.
Georgia Tech post player Sasha Goodlett averages 9.4 points a game, but she had 10 points at halftime. Goodlett finished with 18 points, tying her season high. The output was just three points off her career high, set in 2009 against Oklahoma State.
Alex Montgomery, a second team All-ACC selection and the Yellow Jackets’ leading scorer at 14.1 points, had just six points with five minutes remaining. But she scored 11 points in a row to lift the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech guard Deja Foster tied a season high with 10 rebounds.
To say the Georgia Tech-Maryland quarterfinal was a game of runs would be an understatement. Georgia Tech used an 11-0 run to take a 28-19 lead. Maryland went on a 22-2 run spanning the halves to turn that deficit into a 41-30 lead. Georgia Tech followed that with a 26-6 run for a 54-47 lead.
Maryland is second all-time in ACC Tournament victories with 46. North Carolina is first with 52. The Terrapins are tied with North Carolina for the most tournament titles, with nine. Maryland’s record in the quarterfinals is 21-9.