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Yellow Jacket Roundup: Takes Its Talents to South Beach

I’ve certainly used this subtitle before, but we’re rolling with it.

Women’s Basketball vs. Alabama State
Georgia Tech Athletics/Danny Karnik

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - Both women’s basketball and the swimming and diving teams spent a few days in sunny South Florida following what was undoubtedly a grueling finals season. And then nothing happened for a long time. No revenue sports playing teams from Athens, or in bowl games. Yep. That’s definitely how it went down. Happy New Year (almost).

Women’s Basketball (10-3)

Thursday, December 20th: Georgia Tech (9 - 2) defeats Seton Hall (7 - 3), 84-73.

Friday, December 21st: Dayton (5 - 6) knocks off Georgia Tech (9 - 3), 85-66.

Sunday, December 30th: Georgia Tech (10 - 3) clobbers Wofford (7 - 7), 81-40.

It was a mixed bag in the West Palm Invitational for the Jackets, as they both won a game against a solid Seton Hall team, yet dropped one by a steep margin to Dayton. Elizabeth Balogun put up thirty points in the win, with Elizabeth Dixon, Francesca Pan, and Kierra Fletcher, as part of her double-double. Despite Seton Hall shooting north of forty percent, the Jackets were able to effectively distribute the ball and manage the more physical parts of defense - jumping the lane and whatnot - that is a signature mark of a good Tech team.

However, the next day, Tech turned around and laid an egg against the Dayton Flyers. Tech led 33-30 at the half, and indeed for almost half the game, but succumbed to a strange combination of ice cold shooting and referee ball. Though Tech typically plays tight defense, they don’t usually play undisciplined, chaotic, highly-penalized, overly-aggressive defense. Since I wasn’t able to watch this game, the following is conjecture, but I doubt Tech forgot how to properly execute one of their hallmarks. Tech was gifted three technical fouls, to the Flyers’ none, and three Tech players, Elizabeth Balogun, the hottest newcomer in the ACC, Kierra Fletcher, another starting guard, as well as Lotta-Maj Lahtinen fouled out on the day. Write it off as a weird aberration, in my opinion.

In a much better abnormality, Tech held the Wofford Terriers to just two first quarter points on Sunday to reopen play after the Christmas break. Tech went on to win by 41 points in a laugher in the Thrillerdome, and saw Balogun, Dixon, and Lorela Cubaj in double figures. The Yellow Jackets out-rebounded their guests on both ends of the floor and enter conference play in a much better state than they had coming off their last game in Florida.

This week: The change in momentum is indeed fortunate, since Tech will open play on the road in Chestnut Hill, a decent game, but then return home next Sunday to face the class of the conference, the defending champion no. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

No. 20/NR Swimming and Diving

Georgia Tech headed to Boca Raton to square off against several teams of ladies, and less teams of men, as is tradition in the sport of swimming. I presume that there was no posted score because Florida Atlantic dubbed it a fun meet, and since every swim meet scores a little differently, I’m not about to do it by hand. Sorry. Half the events were nonsense, anyways, so it doesn’t really matter. The Tech men looked strong in the medley, as always, including one bizarre 100 yard medley relay, and the women swam fine as well. Hopefully, though, it was as fun as intended, as it seems to have been the only reasonable thing to get out of this weird meet at the end of their training trip.

This week: Tech heads to the Plains to take on that historic rival, the Auburn Tigers. Because for some reason, the team out east is ducking the Jackets this year, but this SEC team will do, I suppose.

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This Week on the Flats:

BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: OFF

Men’s Basketball vs. South Carolina - Upstate
7:30 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and the Georgia Tech IMG Basketball Radio Network (WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM Atlanta)

Women’s Basketball at Boston College
7:00 PM, Chestnut Hill, MA, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1

Friday: OFF

Swimming and Diving at Florida Atlantic Invitational
11:00 PM, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Men’s Basketball vs. Wake Forest
2:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, Raycom Affiliates (Fox Sports South Atlanta) and the Georgia Tech IMG Basketball Radio Network (WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM Atlanta)

Women’s Basketball vs. No. 2 Notre Dame
3:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1