Georgia Tech women’s basketball came into Coral Gables, FL for the rematch against Miami on February 5 on a two game win streak, their first win streak since winning five straight between the Gulf Coast Showcase, the ACC/B1G Challenge, and games against Belmont and Central Michigan. On February 2, Tech beat #15 NC State for their first win over a ranked team this season, and did so convincingly behind Tonie Morgan and the ACC leading offensive rebounder in conference play, Kayla Blackshear.
In Tech’s previous game against Miami, the Hurricanes won 69-60 in Atlanta, the only game Tonie Morgan did not start all year.
Today’s game ultimately came down to Tech being unable to get offensive rebounds and Miami’s ability to get offensive rebounds. The Canes in total outrebounded Tech 51-25 and 21-3 on the offensive side. Despite Cameron Swartz, Morgan, and Blackshear all scoring 10+ points (19, 10, & 12 respectively), Tech could not get any consistency on the glass. Nerea Hermosa led the team with five total rebounds, all of them defensive.
Tech started decently in the first quarter, but got hit by an 8-0 Hurricane run and a buzzer beater Hanna Cavinder three. Tech responded with a buzzer beater of their own in the second quarter to keep the game within one score, 30-29.
Tech then took the lead to open the second half behind a Kara Dunn three. The third quarter went back and forth until Miami hit seven straight buckets. In that stretch Miami never held a lead bigger than five in part because of Swartz finding her shot and scoring nine points in the quarter after going scoreless on 0-8 shooting in the first half.
She’d hit another critical three to keep it close to halve Miami’s six point lead to 53-50 with 7:46 left in the game. From there, Miami pulled away while Tech went on a three minutes scoring drought right when points were needed most. Their next bucket came from this delightful steal and full court spring by Morgan:
Swartz did get fouled and two free throws to make it a two point game with 54.2 left, but Tech again was hit by an offensive rebound and the last of Miami’s 17 second chance points on the next to seal the deal, 64-58.
Jack’s Thoughts & Looking Forward
Ultimately, I think this is still a step forward for the team today. Fortner repeatedly has talked about how the team has continued to believe in their progress. They steadily and surely have done that and it came out in their wins over Syracuse and NC State. Today was as good a fight they’ve put up on the road since the beginning of the season, which feels like a completely different team from the one we have now.
The lack of literally any second chance points or a presence on the offensive glass surely will have Fornter frustrated because she knows the team has it in them to do better. And they have done better every single game. They’ve had their moments where things don’t go well, but late in the game today when they very easily could’ve called it a day, they pulled it to a one-possession game with under a minute left.
Credit to Miami for seeing that Blackshear is a threat on the offensive boards and holding her to two total offensive rebounds all day. Last time, turnovers were a problem, and today Tech won that battle 12-17. They even shot better from the field and from three, but winning ACC games with under half the number of rebounds your opponent has is a sure way to lose.
Tech has a trip to Clemson and Littlejohn Coliseum next up on Thursday, February 9 to get back in the win column and make it three wins in the last five games. After today’s game, Tech sits tied with Virginia for 13th in the ACC at 3-9 and a 12-11 overall record. Virginia, Georgia Tech, Pitt, and Wake Forest remain the only teams without a road ACC win (Tech is 0-6).
Clemson as of writing is on a three game skid with a game in Winston Salem later today. In their previous game aganst Wake Forest, they won 60-59.