Greensboro, NC -- The stage is set: The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals will battle the seventh-seeded stinging Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech in the quarterfinals of the ACC Women's Tournament.
Survive and Advance
It's a classic phrase that perfectly describes the madness that is March; Survive and Advance. After a full 40-minute battle with the 10th-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Georgia Tech showed ACC nation the real meaning behind the phrase.
The seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets defeated the Demon Deacons, 67-65 on Thursday evening. Georgia Tech's point guard Imani Tilford dished out a perfect assist to Roddreka Rogers, who drove to the bucket for a layup with seven seconds remaining in the game.
The Demon Deacons tried to respond with a layup of their own. However, Amber Campbell's drive to the basket was interrupted by heavy traffic causing Campbell to miss her mark as the final buzzer sounded.
Coming in Hot
The Louisville Cardinals enter the post-season riding a wave of momentum. This week, the Cardinals reached the highest-ranking in the polls this season, coming in at No. 7 in the AP Poll and No. 6 in the USA Today Poll.
The Cardinals also received postseason ACC accolades. Sophomores Myisha Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore were selected to the Blue Ribbon Panel All-ACC First Team, and freshman Asia Durr was chosen to the eight-player All-ACC Freshman Team.
On Wednesday, the ACC announced Myisha Hines-Allen as the ACC Player of the Year. Hines-Allen is the second player in Louisville program history to earn a conference player of the year award for the Cardinals.
Entering Postseason Play
The Cardinals are entering the postseason play with a 24-6 record, 15-1 ACC record. Louisville struggled to find the team identity going 1-4 to kick off the season. However, in early December, the Cardinals turned their season around.
Louisville entered ACC play on fire, defeating then No. 15/13 Florida State on New Year's Day and following up with a big win over then No. 18/16 Duke. The Cardinals went on a hot 15 game win-streak. However, the streak was snapped when No. 2 Notre Dame edged the Cardinals at home to take sole lead in the ACC.
Since falling to Notre Dame, the Cardinals handled business against then No. 19 South Florida and blew away the then No. 17 Miami Hurricanes to end the season with a perfect road record in ACC play.
The last time out, the Cardinals faced the Pittsburgh Panthers in the final game of the regular season. Once again, Myisha Hines-Allen was the difference maker for the Cardinals. Hines-Allen picked up her ninth double-double on the season racking up a game-high 25 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. The Cardinals defeated the Panthers in a 65-36 decision.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech (19-11) defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to advance to the quarterfinal of the ACC Women's Tournament on Thursday evening.
Aaliyah Whiteside led the Yellow Jackets and stuffed the stat sheet. Whiteside racked up 19 points, while pulling down eight rebounds, dishing out four assists and grabbing three steals. Roddreka Rogers picked up 16 points on 60% shooting from the floor, eight boards, and three steals. Antonia Peresson added 11 points for Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets finished conference play with an 8-8 record. Georgia Tech defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies on the road to boost their resume. Georgia Tech also grabbed a historic road win when they beat the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time in 23-years. The Yellow Jackets capped off the season with a win over Pitt at Pitt.
Despite finishing the conference 8-8, the Yellow Jackets are a threat in many aspects. Georgia Tech sits at second in the ACC in free throw percentage connecting on 74.5% from the charity stripe. The Yellow Jackets fall just behind Louisville at number three in steals averaging 10 per game. Georgia Tech attacks the offensive glass pulling down 15.3 per contest, good enough to earn them the number four spot in the ACC.
Perhaps Georgia Tech's biggest weapon is Aaliyah Whiteside. Whiteside has led the ACC in scoring throughout the 2015-2016 season averaging 19.41 points per contest. She also leads all scorers in conference games picking up 18.9 points per game. Whiteside has recorded an ACC-high 16 20+ point games.
She has scored in double-figures in 27-of-29 games this season, including two 31 point performances. It's no shock that Aaliyah Whiteside was named to the First Team-All ACC team by the ACC's Blue Ribbon Panel. Whiteside was also recently named Georgia's Women's College Player of the Year.
It's officially March, and the madness has begun. The second-seeded Louisville Cardinals tip off against the seventh-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 6 PM EST. The contest will be aired on Regional Sports Network/Fox (Fox Sports South in Louisville).