Tech’s women’s basketball teams concluded their season after losing to the Iowa State Cyclones in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 58-55. Tech was not able to rally back in the essentially partisan crowd in Des Moines, Iowa.
Senior Jill Ingram was just one of two players in double figures, scoring 21 points. She shot an impressive 8-for-12 from the field and 5-for-9 from behind the arc. She also added six steals in her last collegiate game. Junior Jacqua Williams had 18 points on seven-for-17 field goal attempts and eight rebounds. She added three assists and three steals to her totals. The rest of the team scored just 16 points on seven-for-34 shooting. Freshman Alex Montgomery struggled all night, attempting eight three point shoots and making none. Montgomery finished zero-for-nine from the field.
Still, despite Tech’s numerous offensive woes, their lockdown defense was able to keep the game close to the very end. They went into the second half with a small lead, holding Iowa State’s offense to just 20 points, but only scoring 24 points themselves. While the Cyclones’ percentages are very high (45 percent from the field, 38 percent from three-point range), they committed 18 turnovers to the Jackets’ eight. This led to 16 points off turnovers for Tech as compared to Iowa State, which only had five.
“I kept telling them in timeouts I really felt we were fine…I thought our defense could get us back in the game and our kids bought into that,” Head Coach MaChelle Joseph told ramblinwreck.com.
In total, the score was tied five times and the lead changed six times. The game could have gone to either team in the final minutes. Iowa State’s Allison Lacey made a running shot with just 47.4 seconds left to lift her school over the Jackets.
Before making it the NCAA tournament, the Jackets played in the ACC tournament. This included a second loss to Virginia just the same week.
Tech won its first round game against Miami as the No. 5 seed. Miami was the last place team in the conference, but the two teams had traded victories in the regular season series. Each game went down to a buzzer beater on the road that lifted one team.
On the neutral ground of Greensboro, N.C., the Jackets had little trouble in dispatching the Hurricanes, winning 76-49.
The Jackets had four players in double figures. Senior Janie Mitchell had 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting. She also contributed eight rebounds. Williams had 15 points, six rebounds, and two steals. Freshman Alex Montgomery shot 6-for-7 from the field and scored 15 points. Freshman Iasiah Hemingway only attempted one field goal, but went to the free throw 13 times and sunk 10 of those shots. She finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
While Tech’s offense played well, the defense dominated the Hurricanes and never even let them get close to overtaking the lead. The defense forced 16 turnovers, held Miami to 31 percent shooting and outrebounded the Hurricans 45-34. Tech built a double digit lead in the first half that they made larger and larger.
“We lost the last time we played Miami, and we felt like we let one slip away….I know the kids and staff were very motivated to have an opportunity to avenge that loss, and we know how important it is for the NCAA tournament play and seedings,” Joseph told ramblinwreck.com.
Tech then played No. 25 Virginia in a matchup of the heartbreaker they played within the same week. In the earlier game, Tech had lost to Virginia in double overtime, 103-101. It was a game that had seeding implications in the ACC tournament and had Tech possibly falling to a worse seed.
Tech kept the game close thorughout, but ultimately fell to Virginia again in the second round of the ACC tournament, 52-43.
Neither team had much success on the offensive side of the boards, with the exception being freshman Iasiah Hemingway. Hemingway was the only one of the Jackets to score in double figures, getting 19 points on 9-for-16 shooting.
Though three players on the Virginia team scored double figure points, the rest of the team combined for just eight points total.
The story of the game was the defense played, with both teams holding the other to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Jackets forced more turnovers and had 12 to Virginia’s 8, but the Cavaliers outrebounded and outshot the Jackets.
Tech had opportunities to steal the game. In the first five minutes of the first half, Virginia missed nine-of-10 shots. At 2:53 left to play, Mitchell was able to cut the deficit to just one point and allow the Jackets to make the come back. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers went on to score eight straight points and regain a comfortable lead.
After the game, Tech could only wait for the next week, where teams find out their seating and their opponent. While it was likely that Tech was going to make it in, it was unknown where they would end up playing. They were chosen in the Greensboro region as a 10 seed.