Starting Five: WBB (10-4, 0-1) vs. Louisville (9-5, 1-0)
Preview of the Yellow Jackets’ ACC Home Opener against the Cardinals
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
Georgia Tech looks to continue its strong home play when it opens its 2016 ACC season hosting Louisville Sunday afternoon. Tip-off at McCamish Pavilion is set for 2 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets put up a spirited effort but fell short in their ACC dropping an 85-76 decision at No. 3/3 Notre Dame on Wednesday night. The loss snapped a season-high five-game winning streak. Freshman Ciani Cryor scored a career-high 19 to lead three double-digit scorers. Cryor added three assists and four steals, also team-highs. Tech led 22-21 after the first quarter, but was outscored 21-10 in the second, committing seven of its 14 turnovers in the stanza. They’d trail by as much as 22 before a 10-2 run to open the fourth cut that lead in half, but could not catch the Fighting Irish. The Jackets shot 55.6 percent in the second half, 62.5 from three, in a game that saw four ties and 10 lead-changes.
The Cardinals picked up in 2016 where they left off in 2015, upending No. 15/13 Florida State, 79-69, to open Conference play on Friday at the KFC Yum! Center. The win was their sixth straight. Mariya Moore scored 20 points with eight assists, both game-highs, to lead four double-digit Cardinals. Guard Briahanna Jackson added 15 points with six rebounds and forward Cortnee Walton added nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Louisville roared out to a 19-6 lead after one, then, with the lead down to three, ended the half on an 11-5 run. The game remained at two possessions the rest of the way. Louisville forced 24 turnovers, which they turned into 18 points.
Sunday will be only the second meeting between the schools. They met last year with host Louisville topping Georgia Tech at the KFC Yum! Center.
The game will be streamed on ESPN3 and can be heard on WREK 91.1 FM. Tech fans also can get up-to-the-minute stats on Ramblinwreck.com and the GT Gameday App.
And now, the Starting Five for Sunday’s game.
The Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech did enjoy its first visit to Louisville, falling 75-49 to No. 7/6 Louisville last Jan. 2. In the ACC opener for the Jackets and the ACC debut for the Cardinals, Tech hung tough for most of the first half, but fell prey to a late 11-0 run to close the half then ran out of gas in the second half. Louisville shot 63.3 percent in the final 20 minutes and pulled away. Aaliyah Whiteside had a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Jackets, who were limited to 29 percent shooting, 18.3 from three, and committed 24 turnovers, which were converted into 21 points. Tech did a great job on the offensive boards, winning that battle, 20-14, on the way to a 19-11 edge in second-chance points. Whiteside had eight of those ORBs.
A-Three-yah: Forward Aaliyah Whiteside has zeroed back in from three-point range. Whiteside, who enters the game as the ACC’s leading scorer (19.9 ppg, 27th in the nation), has hit multiple three-pointers in two of her last three games, going 2-for-3 at Notre Dame and 2-for-5 against Alabama on Dec. 18 at McCamish Pavilion. Whiteside is shooting 44.4 percent in that stretch. That’s quite a turnaround from her previous seven games, during which she made only three of 27 attempts (11.1 percent), not making more than one in any game.
Tech Trivia: Georgia Tech finished 8-0 at home in non-conference play. How many seasons has Georgia Tech finished unbeaten at home in non-conference play in the MaChelle Joseph Era?
You’re Gonna Cry, Cry, Cry: Freshman guard Ciani Cryor began her ACC career with a bang. Cryor scored a team-high 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting, both the points and FGMs career-highs. It was the second time in three games that Ciani set career-highs for points and FGMs. She’s shooting 60 percent over her last three games (15-for-25), including 7-for-10 against Alabama and the 8-for-12 at N.D. Cryor also has 19 assists over her last six games, with at least four assists in three of them. She had one four-assist game over the season’s first eight. Defensively, she’s also turned up the pressure having made 15 steals in her last four games, with at least three thefts in each. She had three three-steal games over the season’s first 10 games and only one two-game streak of such games.
Hot After Two: Roddreka Rogers is in the midsts of a typical Roddreka Rogers hot streak, as the senior forward is shooting 75.0 percent over her last two games, having hit 15 of her last 20 shots. The streak followed the Dec. 18 game against Alabama, during which she shot 2-for-10. Alabama was the third game this season that Rogers hit two field goals in a game and after each time she’s gone on a tear. Following a 2-for-5 opener against Loyola Chicago, Rogers hit 7 of 13 the next game against St. Francis Brooklyn on Nov. 15. After a 2-for-3 day on Nov. 18 against Southeastern Louisiana, Rogers shot 58.3 percent over her next four (21-for-36), making at least five field goals in each game. Then, after a 2-for-7 at Indiana on Dec. 2, ‘Dreek went on a torrid three-game run during which she made 24-of-26 shots (92.3 percent), including an 11-for-11 day against Prairie View A&M on Dec. 15 at McCamish. Rogers enters play Sunday second all-time in career field goal percentage (58.2), behind only Dolores Bootz (59.3).
The Sixth Man: Sunday is Yellow Jackets Salute To Service Day. All members of the military can get free admission with proper ID...Georgia Tech is 5-7 in ACC home openers under MaChelle Joseph and will look for their first winning streak in such games since 2009-10 (72-58 over Clemson on Jan. 11, 2010) and 2010-11 (71-70 over No. 8/8 North Carolina on Jan. 6, 2011). Last season Tech beat Clemson, 74-66, in its home opener...Trivia Answer: The 2015-16 season was the ninth time that Georgia Tech completed its non-conference schedule unblemished, the second time since moving to McCamish Pavilion…Georgia Tech has more steals than any team in the ACC (172) and is second in the conference with 12.3 per game, good for 10th in the country...Georgia Tech has won points off turnovers in 11 of its 14 games and in nine of the last 10 games, including the ACC opener at Notre Dame. They’ve done so seven times by at least 10 points, four of those by at least 20.
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER: Aaliyah Whiteside, 19.9 ppg
LOUISVILLE SCORING LEADER: Myisha Hines-Allen, 15.1 ppg
GEORGIA TECH SCORING LEADER (ACC): Ciani Cryor, 19.0 ppg
LOUISVILLE SCORING LEADER (ACC): Mariya Moore, 20.0 ppg
LOUISVILLE REBOUNDING LEADER: Myisha Hines-Allen, 7.7 rpg
GEORGIA TECH REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Aaliyah Whiteside, 9.0 apg
LOUISVILLE REBOUNDING LEADER (ACC): Cortnee Walton, 11.0 apg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER: Aaliyah Whiteside, 3.6 apg
LOUISVILLE ASSISTS LEADER: Arica Carter, 4.6 apg
GEORGIA TECH ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Ciani Cryor, 3.0 apg
LOUISVILLE ASSISTS LEADER (ACC): Mariya Moore, 8.0 apg
GEORGIA TECH PPG/ACC: 76.8/76.0 ppg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 60.1/85.0 ppg
LOUISVILLE PPG/ACC: 73.1/69.0 ppg
OPP. PPG/ACC: 64.4/79.0 ppg
LOUISVILLE Player To Watch: Mariya Moore. The 6-0 sophomore forward can do it all on both ends of the floor. An AP Honorable Mention All-American last season -- the first Cardinal ever to earn All-America honors as a freshman -- Moore is averaging 13.2 points (20th in the ACC), 2.4 three-pointers per game (sixth), and 4.9 assists per game (third), with a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio (sixth). Defensively, she’s 14th in the conference with 1.8 steals per game and is top-15 in free throw percentage at 77.8 percent (14th). Moore recorded her second career double-double back on Dec. 20 vs. College of Charleston, with 15 points and 12 assists, the most assists for a Cardinal in five years and from long-range, has hit at least three three-pointers in eight of Louisville’s 14 games. Mariya should be well known to Georgia Tech, as last season she torched the Jackets, going for 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting (3-for-6 from three), with eight assists.