Photo by Mark Dolejs | US Presswire
Marquette and Georgia Tech will meet on Sunday at the McCamish Pavilion for the return match of a home and away series. Last year, the Yellow Jackets beat Marquette 74-63 on their home court; on Sunday Marquette hopes to return the favor.
Marquette will not be an easy match for Georgia Tech - Marquette brings back virtually every single player they had in the previous season and are more than likely better than last year's 13-17 record.
They played 13 Top 50 teams last year (finishing 2-11) and have the experience of playing tough matches to take with them this year. There aren't going to be any embarrassing losses to Providence like there were last year; the Golden Eagles should at least be competitive if not have a shot at some post-season tourney.
Marquette's biggest problem last year was turnovers - they averaged 20.7 turnovers per game, four more turnovers than their opponents. It is very hard to win if you can't hang on to the ball, and if Georgia Tech takes advantage - their turnover margin was +3.3 last year - this game could be over very quickly.
The Marquette offense goes through junior guard/forward Katherine Plouffle and sophomore guard Arlesia Morse. Point guard is junior Gabi Minix, who started every game for the Golden Eagles last year. She had 5.4 assists per game - good for a Top 25 national ranking - but her turnovers dropped her A/TO ratio to 1.4/1. She's averaged 2.0 ppg per career, so I suspect she's more like a Shalee Lehning point guard, someone to start the offense and not finish at the basket. Last year she only hit 24.5 percent of her 3-point shots, so she's not a perimeter threat.
As for Georgia Tech, the team's fortunes are riding on sophomore guard Tyaunna Marshall and junior guard Dawnn Maye. Marshall just made the Naismith Trophy watch list after being named to the Wooden Award's preseason Top 30. After two games, Marshall and Maye seem to be carrying the team, but one of those games was against Tennessee where as head coach MaChelle Joseph implied, all of the Yellow Jacket weaknesses were exposed. (As well as the talent of Bashaara Graves.)
Georgia Tech's biggest question is what to do about the loss of Sasha Goodlett. The team lost Goodlett's 14.5 ppg and 7.7 rpg. All eyes are on 6-5 freshman center Nariah Taylor - easy to identify, the player with the glasses - who had a bad start against Tennessee. Marquette has some players that can match her height - they have four players at 6-3 or taller, so Taylor vs. whomever will be an interesting battle.
It might be unfair to compare Taylor to Goodlett, but in Goodlett's first two games with Georgia Tech, she didn't break the 20 minute mark and was held scoreless in her second game against then #1 Connecticut. A good game from Taylor here will be cause for hope for the Yellow Jackets, who won't be back home until December. They leave for a working vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico with back to back games against Syracuse and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. There will be probably be a game on November 25th against either Eastern Kentucky, Florida State, Virginia or Vanderbilt who are other teams taking place in the San Juan Shootout.