Tech women lose for first time in Gwinnett Arena

DULUTH -- The Georgia Tech women won their first five games in the Arena at Gwinnett Center, continuing their "home" success under coach MaChelle Josesph despite having to play more than 20 miles away from campus.

But the non-ACC part of the Yellow Jackets' Gwinnett schedule really wasn't that challenging. The big test came Monday night against No. 13-ranked Miami.

Trying to rebound from a heartbreaking loss at No. 5 Maryland on Friday, Georgia Tech couldn't. Shenise Johnson, the preseason pick for ACC player of the year, helped see to that.

Johnson had 24 points and seven assists, Morgan Stroman added 18 and 10 rebounds, and Miami broke away in the second half for a 77-65 victory that lifted the Hurricanes' to 13-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC.

"I don't know if it gets more physical or more athletic than that in women's basketball," Miami coach Katie Meier said. "It was a huge road win."

The Yellow Jackets fell to 11-5 overall and 1-2 in the ACC despite double-doubles from Sasha Goodlett and Chelsea Regins. All of the losses have come against Top 25 teams -- Georgia, Rutgers, Green Bay, Maryland and now Miami.

"You saw why Miami was the preseason pick to win the ACC," Joseph said. "Their defense is very hard to play against. Our effort was there, but our execution wasn't."

The Yellow Jackets will try to bounce from the consecutive ACC losses on Thursday, when they play Wake Forest in a game that will be a homecoming for three Demon Deacons from Gwinnett high schools. Mykala Walker of Duluth is a junior starter for Wake Forest (11-4, 1-1), while sophomore Erin Hall of Wesleyan and freshman Dearica Hamby of Norcross are key reserves.

Georgia Tech led Maryland by 20 points early in the second half, but couldn't hold on and lost 77-74. This time Miami led almost all the way despite going 0-for-10 from behind the 3-point arc.

Miami used a 16-5 run to turn a 10-8 deficit into a 24-15 lead and was up 30-21 with less than six minutes left in the first half. Georgia Tech battled to tie the game at 36 with just more than a minutes remaining, but the Hurricanes then scored six quick points to go back up 36-30 at intermission.

Georgia Tech pulled within 50-47 on a 3-point play by Goodlett only to have Miami go on a 16-4 run that made it 66-51 with seven minutes to play. The Yellow Jackets couldn't get closer that 66-60 before the Hurricanes pulled way again.

Johnson, who had 16 points in the first half, finished with six steals and had just one turnover in a game that featured 26 combined steals and 43 total turnovers.

"I can't say enough about Shenise," Meier said.

Goodlett finished with 20 points and 10 rebound, while Regins came off the bench to contribute 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, who shot just 33.3 percent and committed 25 turnovers.

Starting forward LaQuananisha Adams broke her nose in the opening minute of the game and regular point guard Dawnn Maye, in foul trouble, didn't score while playing just 13 minutes.

Georgia Tech was 95-27 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Joseph's first eight years as coach before the team was uprooted this season because of construction for the new McCamish Pavilion, which will open next November.

The Yellow Jackets are playing all their "home" games in Gwinnett accept for the ACC finale on Feb. 26 against Clemson.That game will be a Morehouse College because of a scheduling conflict.