Sunday, March 18, 2007
© Copyright 2015
Gwinnett Daily Post
MINNEAPOLIS - Georgia Tech took a long time to get going, but Jacqua Williams sent the Yellow Jackets to their first NCAA tournament victory at the end of a sluggish half.
Williams swished a running one-handed shot in the lane with 21⁄2 seconds left to lift seventh-seeded Georgia Tech past 10th-seeded DePaul 55-54 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament.
Chioma Nnamaka's long jumper with 26 seconds remaining pulled the Yellow Jackets (21-11) within one, and then Jenna Rubino was pressured near the sideline and stepped out of bounds for the Blue Demons to give Georgia Tech the final possession.
After Jill Ingram missed a jumper, Williams was there at the end to make the winner and push the Yellow Jackets into the second round of the Dallas Regional to play either Purdue or Oral Roberts on Monday night.
Coach MaChelle Joseph came screaming and running onto the court to hug her players, celebrating the turnaround from a 2-12 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season. On the other end, Rubino pulled her blue jersey over her face and bent over with deep disappointment.
Nnamaka and Janie Mitchell each had 14 points, and Williams - whose dramatic shot gave her team its first lead since 5:57 remained before halftime - added 10 points.
Allie Quigley scored 17 points and Rubino had 12 points for DePaul (19-13), which held Georgia Tech leading scorer Stephanie Higgs to two points on 0-for-8 shooting and harassed the Yellow Jackets into a 4-for-22 performance from 3-point range.
The aesthetics suddenly deteriorated in the second half, when both teams had long stretches of bad shooting and several wince-inducing possessions. Nnamaka broke Georgia Tech's drought of 71⁄2 minutes without a field goal by making a fastbreak layup to cut the lead to 46-43.
The Blue Demons, meanwhile, were mired in a scoreless slump that lasted roughly the same amount of time and allowed the Yellow Jackets to crawl within one point, 49-48 with 4:25 left on Nnamaka's 3-pointer.