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Georgia Tech WBB loses nailbiter to #23 Syracuse 62-59

Couldn’t find the dagger shots at the end

Tonie Morgan’s 3 steals led all Tech players

In a heartbreaker, Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball fell to #23 Syracuse Orange 62-59 after two last second shots to tie didn’t fall. Tech is now 14-10 this season and 5-7 in ACC play (9th). This was Tech’s first loss to Syracuse since January 2018, also a road loss.

If anything, this game felt like a classic Nell Fortner game. Tough defense, minimal shooting beyond the arc, lots of turnovers, and a reliance on rebouding. In the end, both teams were under 30% from three, turned the ball over at least 16 times (Cuse 16, GT 17, both averaging over 12 per game), but Cuse was better in forcing turnovers with 13 combined steals and blocks to Tech’s seven.

This was another game where Tech went on a marathon scoreless streak, tonight’s lasting over eight minutes over the second and third quarters, but thankfully didn’t combine with lax defense to give the game away. Syracuse’s 12-0 run during that stretch only put the Orange up four early in the third, which Tech easily came back from once they found their offensive rhythm again.

Neither team led by more than three in the entire fourth quarter. There’s a bunch of little moments that could have swung the game Tech’s way. Ultimately, when they needed to close, they could not close despite Syracuse giving Tech extra opportunities to do so.

While the scoreless drought and turnovers were absolutely worrying, Tech nearly was able to beat a ranked team, something they haven’t really come close to since beating #15 NC State just over a year ago. They squarely sit in the lower middle of the ACC with winnable games down the stretch if they can productively build off this loss by minimizing turnovers. They are a small team most of the time since Aixa Wone Aranaz and Ariadna Termis aren’t guaranteed heavy minutes (Termis didn’t even play tonight), so getting out rebounded is not surprising against taller bigs like Syracuse had in Izabel Verejâo.

One last note, Tonie Morgan did leave the game temporarily in the 4th holding her midsection. She was able to play through it but was still holding it at times at the end of the game. Hopefully that won’t keep her out going forward once she’s checked on.

1st Quarter

Kara scored on Tech’s first possession to set the pace, followed by a Johnson three-pointer for a 5-0 Tech lead. Dyaisha Fair countered quickly to give Syracuse a brief lead at 7-5, but Tonie and Blackshear hit transition buckets to swing the momentum back in favor of GT, going up 11-7 halfway through the quarter. Steals and layups further extended GT’s lead, with Dunn’s three-pointer putting Tech up 14-11. Dunn and Rusne then both hit threes to stretch the lead to 17-13 with under two minutes to go and made a stop to finish the quarter in the lead.

2nd Quarter (19-17 GT)

A pair of Rusne free throws and a deep Kara Dunn two-pointer pushed Tech’s lead to 24-17. Tech led by as much as eight after Blackshear hit a couple free throws to go up 31-23 with 5:05 left. That was the last of Tech’s scoring in the quarter, shooting 0-6 with four turnovers, but managed to preserve the lead at half with Syracuse also struggling to make shots.

3rd Quarter (31-28 GT)

Syracuse thankfully didn’t pull too far ahead as they also struggled with turnovers while Tech’s scoreless streak reached eight minutes long. Verejao hit a bucket to force a Tech timeout down 35-31 before Tonie’s consecutive layups ended Tech’s dry spell, tying the game at 35-35. Turnovers again plagued GT, but a Blackshear bucket kept Tech relevant down 43-37, followed by a Tonie steal and score closing the gap to 43-39. The rare Johnson to Thomas-Harris connection brought Tech within two points at 43-41. With a chance to tie, Aixa’s three-point play brought the game level at 43-43 with just 42 seconds left in the quarter, missing the free throw. Cuse hit a free throw at the other end before the quarter expried.

4th Quarter (44-43 Syracuse)

Blackshear’s early basket gave GT a slim lead at 45-44, finishing a 10-1 Tech run. Syracuse quickly countered, reclaiming the lead at 46-45, beginning a series of nine lead changes over the span of the quarter. Tonie tied the game at 48-48 before Blackshear’s 501st point at a Yellow Jacket tied it at 50-50. a Dunn free throw put Tech up 51-50 and then she had a block and layup to make it 53-50 with under five minutes left. Verejao’s three-point play for Syracuse tied the game once more at 53-53. Inés Noguero fouled out with 3:40 left, which was around when both teams started trading buckets at an accelerated pace into the final minute.

Down 60-59 and on a breakaway, both Dunn and Blackshear were blocked beneath the basket on makable layups, the rebounds ending with Tech maintaining possession but making nothing of it. Once Tech started fouling in the final 30 seconds, Cuse missed enough free throws to allow Tech chances to tie, but missed on three different shots between Augustinaite and Morgan.

Stats via Syracuse

Game Leaders:

Points: Tonie Morgan (GT)/Dyaisha Fair (CUSE) - 17

Assists: Sydney Johnson (GT)/Dyaisha Fair (CUSE)/Alaina Rice (CUSE) - 4

Rebounds: Alyssa Latham (CUSE) - 8

Turnovers: Alaina Rice (CUSE) - 6

Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball next plays Sunday, February 11 at 2 p.m. against Miami in McCamish Pavilion.

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

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