GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Georgia Tech executed the March ritual of “survive and advance” to perfection Thursday evening.
The seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets weathered fast starts by 10th-seeded Wake Forest at the beginning of both halves, and then overtook the Demon Deacons at the finish for a 67-65 win in the second round of the ACC Women’s Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Roddreka Rogers’ layup off a feed from penetrating point guard Imani Tilford with seven seconds remaining accounted for Tech’s winning basket. The outcome wasn’t settled, however, until a layup attempt by Wake Forest’s Amber Campbell in heavy traffic missed its mark, and the final buzzer sounded during the ensuing scramble for the rebound.
Georgia Tech (19-11) advanced to Friday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal game against second-seeded Louisville (24-6). The Cardinals claimed a 78-65 win when the teams met in Atlanta on Jan. 3.
Wake Forest (16-15) fell short on Thursday night despite shooting a season-high 53.2 percent from the floor.
Aaliyah Whiteside led Georgia Tech with 19 points, and Rogers finished with 16.
Wake Forest freshman Ariel Stephenson led all scorers with 21 points, while Milan Quinn had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Campbell also finished with 16 points.
The Demon Deacons knocked the Yellow Jackets back early, burying their first five shots from 3-point range and building a 25-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. Stephenson went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and led all players with 11 points in the first 10 minutes.
But Georgia Tech tightened the defensive clamps, limiting Wake Forest to nine second-quarter points and closing within 34-31 at the break.
The Demon Deacons began the second half much the way they started the game – scoring the first seven points of the third quarter and rebuilding their lead as high as 11 points. Again, Georgia Tech counterpunched late, trimming the margin to five points (54-49) with 10 minutes left.
The Yellow Jackets finally took the lead down the stretch, going up by as many as seven points following a 3-point basket, and then a steal and layup by Whiteside on successive plays.
It was Wake’s turn to fight back, and the Demon Deacons tied things up a 65-all when Campbell found Quinn for a layup with a minute to play. But Rogers and the Yellow Jackets had the final word.