With a disheartening 69-32 loss to #3 Duke in their rear-view mirror, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets didn't have the luxury of mourning with poll contender Boston College visiting in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets started slowly but a strong push from the end from senior guard/forward Alex Montgomery and junior guard Mo Bennett secured a 67-54 victory that kept the gold and black in the hunt amount the ACC's top teams.
"One of the things I told the kids today is that we had to have bounce-back-a-bility," Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph said regarding the Duke game. "I really thought that they came out today. We literally said after the Duke game, 'we're going to throw it in the trash'. It couldn't have been any worse that what it was, so let's just throw it away and let's start over and come back after Boston College."
"I think what teams are starting to do to us now is not allow us to run our half-court offense," Boston College head coach Sylvia Crawley said. "I think that's a compliment to us. Teams feel like we're pretty tough when we execute our offense, and sometimes we create match-up problems with 6-6, 6-4 in the post. So teams are just putting an enormous amount of pressure to keep us from executing our offense."
Georgia Tech (17-5, 5-1) started slowly with Boston College senior center Carolyn Swords scoring eight quick points to put the Eagles up 14-7 early on, but Georgia Tech answered right back with a 7-0 run. Montgomery added three points of that run, but she would only score four points in the first half and freshman guard Tyaunna Marshall was held scoreless during the first half over nine minutes of play.
Without their top scorers, the Yellow Jacket bench would be called to vanquish a team led by a potential WNBA draft pick (Swords) and that had opened the season at 11-0. Down 18-17, Tech answered with another 7-0 run and managed to end the half 29-22 on the strength of forcing the Eagles into 14 first half turnovers and picking up eight steals.
Georgia Tech only shot 31 percent in the first half, with Montgomery going 1-for-9 after an 0-7 game at Duke. However, the Yellow Jackets took 35 first-half shots compared to just 21 from Boston College.
Furthermore, the Yellow Jackets scored 24 points from bench players, including Mo Bennett who scored 10 points. "Pretty much coach has told the bench 'be ready when you have your chance,'" junior guard Mo Bennett said after the game. "And she talked to me and [junior forward] Chelsea [Regins] both about bringing energy to the court, because that's what we lacked Friday night at Duke - it was quite obvious. Today that's what we focused on - if you play hard, good things happen."
Swords carried Boston College (15-5, 2-3) through most of the game and throughout the second half, finishing with 22 points and six rebounds. However, the Yellow Jackets won the battle of the offensive boards, getting 14 second-chances compared to just five for the Eagles. Boston College remained within single digits of Georgia Tech until a 15-4 run late in the game put the game out of reach and the Eagles gave up the fight.
Georgia Tech only gave up 11 turnovers compared to 24 from Boston College. "There were other times where they backed off on the pressure, and we were still making mental mistakes," Crawley said. "We just have to read what the defense is doing. I think sometimes we panic unnecessarily and we had some turnovers that were unforced errors at times."
Montgomery shot 1-for-9 in the first half, but 4-for-5 in the second to finish with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her 16th career double-double. Mo Bennett had eight second-half points to finish with 10, and senior guard Metra Walthour led all players with 16 points, just three points off her career high.
Swords led Boston College with 22 points. Sophomore guard Kerri Shields was the only other Eagle in double figures with 12 points, but senior point guard Jaclyn Thoman turned the ball over seven times with just four assists and three points.
* Sylvia Crawley spoke about new scouting software called FastDraw after the game. When discussion how competitive the ACC has become, she mentioned that Boston College was one of the last teams to get FastDraw. According to Crawley, one of FastDraw's abilities is to view how teams have been shooting over the last four games. "A team that's on the bottom can get a tape from your last game and see what that last team did."
* Instead of playing zone against Georgia Tech, Boston College played man-to-man. "I really prepared yesterday for a 2-3 zone," Joseph said. "I thought after the way we played against Duke that everybody would play us 2-3 zone
"We practiced their zone sets against us," Crawley said, "and they do a lot of tricky things offensively vs. zone. Our players had a lot of questions, we didn't get stops in practice, so we felt like we had it in our game plan to go zone if we needed to." Crawley felt that Boston College's man-to-man wasn't bad and that the goal was to contain Georgia Tech's driving players rather that look for turnovers and steals.
* Coming into Atlanta Boston College had the eighth-ranked offense in the nation, averaging 83.1 points per game.