Tech gives its all, takes win over Virginia

Photo: Craig Cappy Georgia Tech's Dawn Maye (1) scores on Virginia's Lexie Gerson (14) on Tuesday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Photo: Craig Cappy Georgia Tech's Dawn Maye (1) scores on Virginia's Lexie Gerson (14) on Tuesday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.


Photo: Craig Cappy Georgia Tech's Tyaunna Marshall (15) scores a basket as Virginia's Chelsea Shine (50) defends during Wednesday's game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

DULUTH -- Georgia Tech's women's basketball team engaged in a little give and take during Wednesday night's Atlantic Coast Conference game with Virginia.

The give came from 18 assists the 24th-ranked Yellow Jackets distributed on their 24 field goals on the evening, with point guards Metra Walthour and Dawnn Maye combining for 13 of those helpers, while the take came from the dominating 20-rebound advantage they had on the boards.

The two were the biggest factors in Tech earning its fourth in its last five games with a 63-53 win before 605 fans at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Walthour finished her solid, all-around game with 11 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Sasha Goodlett posted her sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 boards, to go along with a career-high five blocked shots, as the Jackets (15-6, 5-3) remained in a logjam near the top of the ACC standings.

"I was really proud of our effort (Wednesday) night," Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. "Coming off that big win on Sunday at Florida State, you never know how a team is going to respond, especially against a good Virginia team. I was real pleased with our ability to sustain our confidence and our momentum and our defensive presence."

Nowhere was that defensive presence felt then on the defensive glass, where Tech outrebounded Virginia (15-7, 3-5) by a 28-12 count on its way to a 48-28 overall advantage.

And while Goodlett did plenty of that boardwork, she had plenty of help as Walthour, Tyuanna Marshall (seven rebounds) and Chelsea Regins (nine boards) all pounded the glass inside.

But it was Tech's ability to move the ball around to find openings in Virginia's zone defense despite 20 turnovers that played a big role in Wednesday's win.

"We've been doing that, I feel like, most of the year," Joseph said. "Our turnovers -- that's the only thing I saw (on the stat sheet) that I was disappointed in. ... But with Dawnn Maye and Mimi Walthour -- having two true point guards on the floor at the same time is an asset for us because both of them are able to create plays and shots for other teammates."

Both teams were in a giving mood in both positive and negative ways in the first half, with Tech dishing out 11 assists -- seven of which came from Maye, who finished with nine points, the seven assists and four steals -- but turning the ball over nine times, while Virginia had nine assists on seven turnovers.

But with the Cavaliers holding their biggest lead of the first half at 13-7 after Simone Egwu's layup with 13:12 left in the opening frame, it was Maye who helped Tech pick up the tempo.

The 5-foot-8 sophomore scored four points and doled out four assists during a 14-4 run that vaulted Tech into a 21-17 lead after Maye's layup with 7:46 left in the half.

And with Virginia trying to cut off passing lanes to Goodlett on the low block, the long-range shooting of Walthour then helped the Jackets build their biggest lead.

The 5-6 senior connected on two of her three first-half 3-pointers that left Tech leading 27-21 with 4:45 left in the half before settling for a 34-30 lead at intermission.

"When they collapse on Sasha, it pretty much opens up outside shots for us," said Walthour, who also added two steals and committed just one turnover on the night. "It's up to us to knock them down."

Goodlett was still able to find her points, including eight in the second half.

But the strategy espoused by Walthour came in handy in the final 20 minutes, especially after Virginia had cut what had been as much as a nine-point lead down to just 49-46 after Ataira Franklin's jumper with 9:28 remaining.

On Tech's next two possessions, Marshall drove down the lane toward the basket.

But instead of going to the rim or trying to force the ball into Goodlett, she kicked the ball out to the wing, where freshman Sydney Wallace was waiting to drain open 3-pointers.

Walthour later pulled down the rebound off a Goodlett blocked shots and went the length of the court for a layup to push the Jackets' lead to a more comfortable 57-48 with 7:42 left.

"I love coming in and seeing two or three people collapsing on me because I know that my guards are going to have easy shots," Goodlett said. "Once they (the defense) start running out at them, that opens it back up for me. So, when we're on the same page, we're pretty good."

Goodlett then went up strong to the basket and got fouled before hitting two free throws, and Wallace followed with a layup off an assist by Walthour to end a 12-2 run that pushed the Jackets' lead to double digits at 61-48 with 4:36 left.

And the 6-5 senior added the exclamation point with a driving layup down the lane with 36 seconds left, plus a defensive rebound on the other end to account for the final margin.

Marshall joined Goodlett and Walthour in double-figure scoring for Tech with 13 points and also chipped in seven rebounds and four assists.

Ariana Moorer led Virginia with 14 points, while Lexie Gerson added eight points and seven assists for the Cavaliers.