The Tech women’s basketball team played their final game of the season last Sunday, a 63-48 loss to the 19-13 Ole Miss Rebels. The loss put the Jackets at 19-15 for the season and knocked them out of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Junior guard Aaliyah Whiteside led the team in scoring with 16 points, and forward Roddreka Rogers followed close behind with 14 points as well as 11 rebounds. Tech’s leading scorer, sophomore Kaela Davis, fouled out in the second half after scoring only 7 points.
The Yellow Jackets were slow out of the gate as they allowed the Rebels to go up 7-3 in the first five minutes of the game, with all of Tech’s points coming from free throws.
Once a Rogers layup gave the team their first field goal, the Jackets went on an 8-0 run to put themselves back in the game. Solid play in the middle of the half put Tech up 20-15 with about 8 minutes to go, but the Rebels bit back and tied the game at halftime.
The game stayed close until the middle of the second half when a 10-2 run put the Rebels up 53-43 with less than six minutes on the clock.
The Jackets were unable to catch back up and ended the game scoreless in the last 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
Head coach MaChelle Joseph, who just finished coaching her 12th season at Tech, attributes the loss to depth issues.
“It was a disappointing loss,” Joseph said, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com. “When Kaela Davis got in foul trouble, it hurt us because we are short on numbers as it is. Our depth really hurt us today. There is no doubt about that.”
This was Tech’s first trip to the WNIT under Joseph, and the loss put her at 6-8 in postseason play.
The Jackets started the season 5-1 and stood at a respectable 11-4 before conference play began. The team played fairly well against ACC opponents, with several big wins and close losses to ranked teams.
They closed the regular season with three straight wins, including a 71-62 win over the No. 16 Duke Blue Devils.
In the first round of the ACC Tournament, the Yellow Jackets demolished the Clemson Tigers 80-53 but lost in the second round to North Carolina with a final score of 84-64.
This was the second season in nine years that the Jackets didn’t make a playoff appearance. From 2006 to 2012, the team went to the playoffs every season but has only been once in the past three years.
With only one senior on their roster, guard Sydney Wallace, the team is poised to make a big impact in the coming years. Davis, a sophomore, led Tech in scoring this season with 652 points and averaged 19.2 points a game. Other key returning players are Rogers and Whiteside, both juniors, who were first and second in team rebounds and put up 329 and 456 points, respectively.