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No. 15 Georgia Tech grinds out win over Florida State

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets rallied late to defeat the Florida State Seminoles, their conference rival, and push their winning streak to three games.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 09 Womens - UConn at Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech forward Lorela Cubaj
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ATLANTA — The No. 15 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets rallied to down the Florida State Seminoles 68-64 Thursday night at McCamish Pavilion on the back of Lorela Cubaj’s 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.

The Yellow Jackets led for most of the game, but the Seminoles managed to go into the fourth quarter with the lead.

Georgia Tech was able to close the game on a 13-2 run with huge buckets from Cubaj, Eylia Love and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen.

“They are just fighters,” Georgia Tech head coach Nell Fortner said. “They are in every timeout huddle, ‘we are not losing this game.’”

The Yellow Jackets capitalized on second chance opportunities with 20 points while the Seminoles only managed to score 12.

“We just had a mental toughness about us that made us make the play, make the stop and grab the board when we had to have it,” Fortner said.

Georgia Tech improves to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in the ACC while Florida State drops to 7-7 overall and 1-3 in the ACC.

Lahtinen and Love finished with 16 and 10 points, respectively. For the Seminoles, Makayla Thompson and Morgan Jones were tied for the lead with 12 points each, while Erin Howard was third with 11 and Sammie Puisis was fourth with eight.

The game started with Cubaj going on a personal 8-0 run where she made all four of her shots. She made her first seven shots and ended the first half with 15 points. Georgia Tech led 36-29 at the break.

The tide began to turn in the third quarter as Florida State began the frame on a 6-2 run and eventually managed to tie the game and take the lead on back-to-back 3-pointers by Puisis, who scored all of her points in the period. Jones had six. The Seminoles went into the fourth leading 51-46.

After the Seminoles eventually went up 62-55 with 3:52 to go, Cubaj proceeded to have two big plays that energized the Yellow Jackets. The first was an and-one that cut the deficit to four and the second was a steal on an inbound pass, which allowed her teammate Love to score a layup in transition that cut it to two.

“We just wanted to win,” Cubaj said. “We went in and pretty much we were on the same page.”

The teams went back and forth, as Lahtinen hit a 3-pointer that gave Georgia Tech a one-point lead and Jones hit two free throws that gave Florida State the lead by one. But then Love made another layup that gave the Yellow Jackets the lead for good.

Georgia Tech will have two days off before heading to Coral Gables to face the Miami Hurricanes. Florida State will have four days off before a showdown in Death Valley with the Clemson Tigers.