ATLANTA, GEORGIA - Well, for the last Yellow Jacket Roundup of the decade, it’s somewhat all hands on deck, with yours truly holed up without wifi until 2020, so you’ll see before me how Akshay and the gang can get the latest and greatest news from women’s basketball — the only team in action this week — from the game results to your screens. Here’s hoping. See you in the new year!
Tech (10-2, 1-0 ACC) pulls away late to secure a win versus Virginia (5-7, 0-1 ACC), 61-51.
The Jackets secured their tenth win of the season on Sunday, but it was not without a bit of a scare. Virginia kept things close for most of the game, leading for stretches of the first half and heading into the break down by only one. But stalwart defensive play from Lotta-Maj Lahtinen and Francesca Pan and a poor shooting stretch forced the Cavaliers into a six-point hole after the third quarter, which Tech extended to ten by game’s end.
Birthday girl Kierra Fletcher put up 11 points, but suffered what looked to be a nasty ankle twist late in the game. After a few minutes in the locker room, she returned to the court (with what looked to be a new wrap on her ankle) and finished out the game, helping draw some clutch fouls and generally causing problems for the Cavaliers’ defense. Lahtinen added 13 points of her own in a 40-minute performance, exploiting a soft spot in the center of the Virginia defense with some excellent dribble-drive plays. However, the Yellow Jackets’ star was Lorela Cubaj, who led the team with 18 points and drained two clutch three-point shots late in the fourth quarter at the shot-clock buzzer (yes, both times) to fuel a 13-9 Tech run that sparked the home crowd into a fervor and turned out the lights on UVA. At press time, Tech sat at #27 in the NCAA’s RPI rating, but that is bound to change after a win over the Cavaliers and their #20 ranking.
This was overall a solid performance from Nell Fortner and co. (especially to close out a close game), but had two notable struggles: UVA shot 50% from the three-point line (far above what the Jackets allow on average: 22.4%), and Tech converted only 54.5% of its free throws. These are not concerning figures, per se (especially in a single game) — and, to be clear, the defensive effort on Sunday was its usual level of fierce — but as ACC play wears on, it may be prudent to keep an eye on these figures, especially as Tech faces national powers like #8 Florida State, Notre Dame, and #7 Louisville later this year.
But those games can wait. As the usual purveyor of this column alluded to just a few weeks ago, the 2019-20 Jackets certainly provide a sight to behold at McCamish Pavilion. After having seen it for myself on Sunday, consider this a second ringing endorsement to come join the fun.
This week: The Jackets ring in the new
year decade by hosting Miami on Thursday, January 2 and then jet off to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest on Sunday, January 5.
For men’s basketball coverage:
For a baseball scheduling update (via RamblinWreck.com):
This Week on the Flats:
BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location
Men’s Basketball at Florida State
12:00 PM, Tallahassee, FL, ESPN2 or ESPNU and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM in Atlanta)
Women’s Basketball vs. Miami
7:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1 FM
Men’s Basketball at North Carolina
6:00 PM, Chapel Hill, NC, ACC Network and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM in Atlanta)
Women’s Basketball at Wake Forest
12:00 PM, Winston-Salem, NC, ACC Network and WREK 91.1 FM