Juniors Lead @GTWBB to Victory vs. Clemson
Georgia Tech advances to play North Carolina in the second round tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the ACC Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Georgia Tech women's basketball juniors Aaliyah Whiteside and Roddreka Rogers combined to score 43 of Yellow Jackets' 80 points in an 80-53 win against Clemson (9-21, 1-15 ACC) in the first round of the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.
With the victory, the Yellow Jackets (18-13, 7-9 ACC) advance to the second round of the ACC Tournament to face the #6 seed North Carolina on Thursday at 8 p.m. on RSN/ESPN3.
"I'm really proud of this young team," head coach MaChelle Joseph said. "We've been on a journey all year long trying to figure out how to win and be successful in this tough conference. I think over the last month, we've really grown up. We've started to understand each other. We've started to trust each other, and we've really developed an understanding of our roles."
The Yellow Jackets shot 50.9 percent (28-of-55) from the floor and held a 47-31 advantage on the boards in the third meeting this season against the Tigers. The Jacket made eight 3-pointers against the Tigers, with freshman Antonia Peresson leading the way from behind the arc, sinking three of her four attempts.
Georgia Tech was led on offense by Whiteside and Rogers who each recorded 20 point games. This was the first time this season since the Jackets' win at Boston College on January 8 that two Jackets have scored at least 20 points in the same game.
Whiteside scored a team-high 23 points and handed out three assists. She shot a perfect 100 percent from the foul line (7-for-7) for the fourth game this season. Whiteside is shooting a team-best 83.9 percent from the charity stripe this season. This was her fourth 20 point game of the season and eighth time leading the Jackets.
With her ninth double-double of the season, Rogers has recorded a double-double in each of the five past meetings against Clemson. She scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed a team-best 14 rebounds in tonight's win. In Tech's last meeting against Clemson, Rogers set her career-high in rebounds, grabbing 19. Rogers has averaged 12.1 points and 13.6 rebounds against the Tigers in her career.
Freshman Zaire helped the Jackets outscore Clemson, 32-16, in the paint, recorded 10 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Katarina Vuckovic scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Peresson contributed nine points and handed out a team-best five assists.
The Yellow Jackets went 6-for-9 from behind the 3-point line to go ahead 43-22 at halftime. Whiteside led the Jackets in the first half, scoring 13 points in the first 20 minutes.
The junior class helped the Jackets jump ahead to a 14-5 lead after Whiteside and Rogers combined for Tech's first 13 points.
The Jackets defense held Clemson scoreless for three minutes until four straight points from the Tigers cut their lead to five points, 14-9, at 12:46. Georgia Tech answered their run by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore Kaela Davis and Peresson to go ahead 20-11 at 11:40 in the first half.
Georgia Tech went on a 15-0 run, which included two 3-pointers from Peresson and one from Vuckovic, to take a 37-15 advantage on the scoreboard with four minutes to go until halftime. The Jackets' defense held Clemson scoreless for 4:34 during the run.
The Jackets maintained their lead and held off the Tigers, taking a 21 point advantage into half time, 43-22.
The Tigers opened up the second half on a 16-2 run erasing their deficit to just 10 points, 45-35, at 17:09. However, the juniors stepped up yet again for Whiteside and Rogers went on their own 9-0 run to extend Tech's lead to 54-35 with 13:35 left in the game.
Georgia Tech would score seven points in 49 seconds to go ahead, 68-45, with 5:58 to go.
Tech would keep at least a 21 point lead the remainder of the game and defeat Clemson for the third time this season by a score of 80-53.
Next up, the Jackets face the #6 seed North Carolina in the second round at 8 p.m. on Thursday.