McCAMISH PAVILION — Winners of five straight now going into ACC play, Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball easily defeated South Carolina Upstate Spartans 81-50. The Jackets finish the non-conference part of the season 9-3, an improvement in the win column compared to last year’s 8-2 record.
“Sometimes this game can be a bit of a trap game before the holidays, and I think our kids did a really good job of coming out ready to play,” said head coach Nell Fortner after the game.
Tech’s defense showed out in the first three quarters, holding the Spartans to just 29 points, scoring in single digits in the second and third.
“I thought we had a real advantage over them today...I’m not surprised by that number. That’s how it should look if I’m being really honest with you. The disappointing thing becomes the 21 points we allowed in the fourth quarter,” said Fortner.
Offensively, Tech was able to share the scoring pretty evenly amongst the starters. Rusne Augustinaite led Tech in scoring for the second time this season with 14 points. Tonie Morgan was right behind her with 13, then Kara Dunn and Inés Noguero both had 10.
It was free throws that were the major issue today. Tech went 9-21, not converting at the line on at least four three-point plays.
“The biggest disappointment was the free throw line. 9-21, are you kidding me? That’s not good. You do things to get yourself to the free throw line, so you’ve got to make it pay off,“ said Fortner.
Besides that, this was a cupcake game. Offensively, Tech stayed in their great rhythm with a small ball starting lineup and no center. This team definitely has played better since losing to Creighton, but we’ll see for sure how good this team is once Florida State opens the ACC part of the schedule.
The Spartans missed their first six shots as Tech easily took a 14-5 lead at the 5:00 mark in the opening quarter. The Jackets easily penetrated the paint with four of six baskets coming from layups, as well as Inés Noguero’s first points on a corner three after going scoreless in Athens last Saturday. USC Upstate was able to land a couple threes after the timeout, but a couple Rusne Augustinaite threes kept any potential run at bay.
2nd Quarter (26-13 GT)
Tech was guns blazing to start the second, going on a 10-0 run with buckets by Blackshear, Dunn, Aranaz, and Augustinaite to take a 20 point lead up 38-18. Time bled off the clock super quickly in the quarter with minimal fouls or plays going out of bounds, a gracious thing as yours truly had a party to host after the game. and Tech continued scoring efficiently at 47% in the second quarter while forcing eight turnovers on the defensive end, going on a 16-2 run to create the sizeable lead.
3rd Quarter (44-20 GT)
The third brought more of the same for the Jackets, easily getting shots in the paint and dominating on defense. Tech though struggled at the free throw line, going only 2-6 in the front half of the quarter. The offense after the five minute mark played slightly choppy but continued to get to the line. D’Asia Thomas-Harris was the first Jacket to make both free throws in a single trip at the line, where Tech finished 6-12 in the quarter.
4th Quarter (63-29 GT)
Tech’s defense was far less solid in the fourth, allowing the Spartans to get to the line multiple times and unable to guard the interior as strongly as before. USC Upstate went on an 11-3 run in a stretch where Tech was playing mostly bench players. Nell Fortner’s only timeout she called came after the Spartan run reached 7-0. Tech’s 30 point lead though stayed put enough to where Fortner emptied the bench in the latter half of the quarter with Catilyn Wilson, Anisa Clark, and Jada Bediako. Wilson hit a three in the closing minutes before Tech wrapped it up 81-50. The Spartans outscored Tech 21-18 in the quarter.
Points: Rusne Augustinaite (GT) - 14
Assists: Kara Dunn (GT) - 5
Rebounds: Tonie Morgan (GT)/AC Markham (USCU)/Isabell West (USCU) - 8
Turnovers: AC Markham (USCU) - 5
Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball next plays Friday, December 29 at Florida State at 2 p.m. on ACCNX.
Jack Purdy is a non-revenue sports writer and co-host of Scions of the Southland for From the Rumble Seat. He previously served as The Technique’s assistant sports editor before graduating Georgia Tech in 2022. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackNicolaus