Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball grabbed their second ACC win of the season on Thursday night as they took down the visiting Clemson Tigers 85-74. With the win, the team breaks over the .500 mark and advances to 11-10 on the season and 2-8 in ACC play. The Jackets grabbed a much-needed win in the ACC and cashed in an incredible team performance as five players finished with double figures.
The tip-off saw the Jackets snag possession first followed quickly by an easy lay-in by freshman guard Kara Dunn to put Tech up 2-0. The lead was short-lived as Clemson put Tech in a 10-4 hole behind a pair of three-pointers. The Jackets marched back with the team’s recent standout player sophomore forward Kayla Blackshear willing the ball into the basket and then senior guard Cameron Swartz finding her rhythm from beyond the arch on a big three-point bucket to edge the game to 10-9 in favor of Clemson. Tech and Clemson exchanged baskets and Swartz capped off the first quarter with a jumper to knot things at 15 all.
Clemson came out swinging in the second quarter with a quick 4-0 run, but junior guard Avyonce Carter shut the run down, knocking down the night’s first free throws to make the game 19-17. Tech and Clemson evenly moved up the scoreboard, but freshman guard Tonie Morgan sparked the team with a big Yellow Jacket three-pointer to take the lead 24-23. Morgan kept up her play as on the very next possession she euro stepped into a no-look pass to senior center Nerea Hermosa who knocked down the basket. Tech then continued their run as Swartz drew a charge to cap an amazing three sequences and finalize a 7-0 run for the Jackets. Clemson put the run to an end on a three-pointer, but Morgan once again made a huge play as she dropped the ball in while drawing a foul to solidify a sensational three-point play that made it 31-27 Tech. Swartz would then knock down another three-point basket to put the lead at 34-27.
The Jackets went into the locker room up 34-29 at the break. Having played one of the best second quarters of the year, the Yellow Jackets did a great job separating by five points and knocking down shots the team had usually missed this season. Swartz was playing her best game in a while with 10 points at the pause as Morgan and Dunn were right behind her with 6 each.
The third quarter began with an intentional foul on the Tigers and allowed Swartz to add to her total as she knocked down two free throws. The team began a slow pull away as Blackshear began to get a hot hand knocking down two big buckets and forcing crucial Clemson turnovers as Tech went up 44-36. Clemson then turned the ball over again and Swartz showed no mercy, nailing a long-distance three-pointer and the crowd erupted in response as the Jackets went up by eleven: 47-36. Tech kept scoring at will behind Blackshear and Hermosa, holding a lead by as much as 13 points. The Jackets collapsed a bit down the stretch though, allowing Clemson to make a 6-0 run and the third quarter was capped with fans doing the Budweiser to a 57-50 Yellow Jacket lead.
Morgan opened the fourth quarter with a no-look, behind-the-back assist to Dunn in transition that put the team up 59-50. The energy on the bench and in the McCamish stands was translating to the court as Tech reestablished a double-digit lead and held on to it for most of the fourth quarter. Morgan was playing out of her mind, making basket after basket and assist after assist. The team held a steady double-digit lead until a Clemson player knocked down three three-pointers in the final minute, but it was too little too late and the Jackets held on to win 85-74 as the final buzzer sounded.
An amazing 51-point second half from the Yellow Jackets finished the team’s highest-scoring game this season with 85 points. This was the most cohesive team performance from the ladies this season and the second straight win in McCamish as well as the second ACC win of the season.
Swartz looked like herself again this game and led the way with 24 points. Morgan finished with a double-double off 13 points and an astounding 12 assists and 5 rebounds. Blackshear continued her elite play, etching 19 points, and 8 rebounds into the stat sheet. Hermosa finally found her stride, coming off the bench for 12 points and 7 rebounds. Dunn also jotted in double digits with 13 points. This was by far the team’s best performance as a group, looking incredibly strong going down the stretch and finishing a phenomenal game.
The Yellow Jackets look to continue their play as they take on a ranked North Carolina State at home on February 2nd at 8:00 PM.
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