(ATLANTA) - Sunday's game against Old Dominion presented a different kind of challenge for Georgia Tech.
Last year's 65-63 loss at Old Dominion in the second game of the 2010-11 season was a tough one, with Tyaunna Marshall missing two free throws with 0.4 seconds left to kill a Yellow Jackets comeback. But this year, Georgia Tech's 87-56 victory over the Lady Monarchs at the Arena at Gwinnett Center was well in hand before the final buzzer.
"I thought that the game was a tale of two halves," Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph said. "I thought the first half our inside play wasn't as dominant. I thought to start the second half our inside players controlled the glass and were able to score effectively inside."
"Redemption was the motivation for this game tonight," senior center Sasha Goodlett said. "We had to set the tone. Our main focus was the post game. We had to get the ball inside. There was obviously a height and power advantage, so that's where the main focus was - to get the ball inside."
Even though it wasn’t a particularly physical game, it was an ugly one with both teams hovering around the 30 percent mark in shooting. Old Dominion set up the 2-3 zone early in an attempt to slow down the Tech offense but their attempts to beat Georgia Tech at the full court game simply played into Tech’s hands. After Old Dominion briefly took an 8-7 lead the Yellow Jackets rolled off a 9-0 run to answer and soon the Tech lead would be in double digits.
As for Georgia Tech’s defense, the Lady Monarchs didn’t have a single steal in the first half, whereas Georgia Tech had 11 – three coming from junior guard Mo Bennett. Old Dominion would turn the ball over 20 times in the first half alone.
So why couldn’t GT build a 20 point lead? They led 31-17 at one point until the visitors answered Tech’s 6-0 run with a 7-0 run in just 42 seconds of play and a last-second 3-pointer by sophomore guard Becca Allison brought the Lady Monarchs to single digits at halftime.
But in the second half, it was all Georgia Tech. Tech got off to a 15-1 run early on with Goodlett seemingly acting at will and finishing off the out-manned (they only had nine players) Lady Monarchs under the basket. Goodlett would only play 24 minutes but finish with 17 points and five rebounds.
"We didn't like how we were playing the first half," Goodlett said. "We didn't feel like our first half was our best. So our main focus was coming out and delivering a punch and showing everyone what Georgia Tech basketball was about because we misrepresented it in the first half."
Sophomore guard Dawnn Maye led Georgia Tech with 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, coming very close to a triple-double. Her 10 assists were marred by just one turnover in an excellent performance.
"Dawnn Maye makes things look a little bit easier," Joseph said. "We get easier baskets with her on the floor because she's able to break down the defense and create shots with our players facing the basket. They don't have to make moves every single time to score because she does such a great job of penetrating and kicking and finding people."
"Summertime I think she was one of the hardest-working players that played for Georgia Tech this past summer," Goodlett said. "Dawnn came out, worked hard, worked on her weaknesses and I feel like Dawnn is finally finding herself in this program and in this Georgia Tech defense. She has great vision, in transition there's no stopping her and her passes are unbelievable."
The run put the Yellow Jackets up by 27 and the best Old Dominion could do was briefly close it back to twenty. When the Lady Monarchs finally released freshman forward Queen Tiye Jackson from the bench with 7:58 left - Jackson had only seen the final 12 seconds of play in the first half - both sides knew it was all over.
Four members of the Yellow Jackets scored in double-digits with sophomore forward Tyaunna Marshall and Sasha Goodlett scoring 17 points each.
No member of the Lady Monarchs scored in double digits. Senior post player Tia Lewis and sophomore more guard scored nine points each. Starting point guard Ashley Betz-White scored 2 points on 1-for-11 shooting and had eight turnovers compared to just four assists. Old Dominion would finish with 31 turnovers and Georgia Tech would score 32 points from Old Dominion losses.
* Georgia Tech is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2007-08, when they won five games to start the season. The teams that have beaten Georgia Tech in that second game over the last three years have been Connecticut in 2008 (ranked #1), Oklahoma State in 2009 and Old Dominion last year.
* This was Dawnn Maye's second career start.
* This game was the first double-double for a Georgia in points and assist since Alex Stewart's game against Clemson on January 23, 2003 where she had 13 points and 13 assists in an 89-78 overtime win in head coach Agnus Berenato's final season at Tech.
* The game started with a turnover on the jump ball when I believe Sasha Goodlett touched the ball three times on the opening jump while both centers were fighting for control. (I might be wrong about Goodlett being the offender.) The referee spoke to someone court-side and said it was the only time he had ever had to use the "three touches" rule.
* What were the referees talking about before the game? The fight that broke out between players from the Louisville and Georgetown women's basketball teams before the game on January 16, 2010.
* Georgia Tech cheerleaders throw T-shirts to the crowd any time a Georgia Tech player hits a 3-pointer. For Sunday's game, the first tee wasn't thrown until 15:54 remaining in the second half when Tech senior point guard Metra Walthour hit a 3-pointer from the left wing.
* Shoeless in Milwaukee? Is that the name of a new hit movie, or...? Head coach MaChelle Joseph will be playing her first away game this season barefoot - but Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell will be joining her. Both coaches will coach barefoot in support of the Soles for Jesus shoe drive on Saturday, November 19th when Georgia Tech visits Marquette. "I'm more worried about that than about us playing defense in that game," Joseph joked.