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Blue Devils Nip Wolfpack, 61-58
Player by Player
Kay Yow: Personal Reflections
Preview: Georgia Tech at Duke
By Rob Clough and Orin Day
January 23, 2009

Jackets Fly Into Cameron on Heels of UNC Upset

Date: January 23, 2009 - 1:00 PM EST
2008 Georgia Tech Recap:
  • 22-10, 7-7 ACC
  • Final RPI: #43
  • NCAA Tournament First Round

2008-09 Record: 14-2, 2-2 ACC
Last Game: Upset #2 UNC, 66-62
All Time Series: Duke leads 50-7

Last Meeting: 1/24/08 (Atlanta):
      Duke 73, Tech 47
DWHoops: Black and Devils Swat the Jackets
School Website: RamblinWreck.com

The Scoop: Coach MaChelle Joseph's Jackets have slowly improved from year to year, and there's no question that making to a second straight NCAA tournament would be an important achievement for this program. Joseph has pulled in several solid recruiting classes and is more than willing to immediately use her young players if they're the most talented at that spot. With the departure of Janie Mitchell & Chioma Nnamaka, Joseph will be without two dependable workhorses and will need to find ways to have her young players step into the void that they will leave.

Tech is a strange team in terms of where it's deep and where it's shallow. The team lacks a true point guard (defensive speedster Jacqua Williams has been playing there out of position, and struggles to initiate the offense at times) and a true center. The team is deep at wing and forward, however. The hopes for Tech will lie in sophomore forwards Alex Montgomery (who sometimes acts as a point-forward) and Iasia Hemingway (an undersized bruiser). Montgomery has all the makings of a young star, while Hemingway loves to do the dirty work the way that Mitchell did.

Up until they stunned UNC in Atlanta, Georgia Tech was the league's most interesting "almost" team. They almost beat UConn on the road. They almost beat Texas. They issued Georgia a rare defeat in their long series. They thumped a solid Michigan State squad. Then the ACC season began with a bitter OT loss to Boston College, a defeat they couldn't afford to a fellow mid-level league opponent. They followed that with a loss to another rising ACC team in Florida State, a game in which they couldn't even crack 50 points. That made their win over the Heels such a stunner; they simply brutalized UNC on the boards and beat them up inside.

Alex Montgomery is indeed becoming one of the ACC's best players. Even when she was struggling on offense against the Heels, she kept attacking them defensively and wound up with a double-double. She's leading the Jackets in scoring and rebounding and is even shooting 38% from three. Senior guard Jacqua Williams is having her finest season, averaging 13.7 ppg, 4 apg and 4 spg. Williams is perhaps the best perimeter defender in the ACC, a speedy ballhawk who could be a very disruptive force for Duke's less-then-cohesive backcourt. The game might swing on the Iasia Hemingway/Joy Cheek matchup; both players are very similar in terms of size, skills, power and versatility. Of GT's frosh, only huge center Sasha Goodlett and wing Mo Bennett are getting significant minutes. Goodlett has the size to bother Chante Black, though she's not very quick or well-conditioned.

This could be the most physical game in the ACC this season, especially if it's officiated loosely. Both teams will try to pound on each other and see what happens. Duke has an edge if that happens, given their depth. The Jackets are really only 7 deep at the moment and can't afford any kind of foul trouble. Duke will willingly dip all the way down to the end of the bench if the situation warrants it. While the Jackets rebound well as a team, they don't have much size beyond Goodlett. They also turn the ball over more than 21 times a game. Expect lots of pressing, trapping and ball pressure from both sides, making open shots a rarity. Expect lots of free throws. The Devils are dealing with a opponent with talent and athletes and must respect both from the very beginning or else they'll leave their home court a with a loss.

Game Plan In Brief: Wear out the Jackets starters and short bench

Duke Player To Watch: Karima Christmas continuing her hot streak

  Lethargy on either end  

Stat Corner: The 1999 Final Four team hammered Tech 113-46 at Cameron, but escaped "The Thrillerdome" with a 74-73 win. Ah, the long lost days of a full round-robin ACC schedule.

  Last Mothership Meeting: 1/10/07 - Duke 83, GT 51 - Nutshell   Photos  

Fun Fact: Georgia Tech Head Coach MaChelle Joseph had her #22 retired at Purdue - she was recruited there by former Duke Head Coach Gail Goestenkors.

Blue Devils Nip Wolfpack, 61-58
Player by Player
Kay Yow: Personal Reflections

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