Tech’s women’s basketball team dropped its last game of the regular season on Sunday Feb. 27 against the No. 12 Miami Hurricanes. After a thrilling back-and-forth first half, the Hurricanes eventually pulled away from the Jackets in the second half, with the Jackets losing 70-59 in their final game at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
The home loss brought Tech’s regular season record to 21-9 and 9-5 in the ACC, while Miami finished tied for first in the league at 12-2.
The game started off quickly with Miami going on a 7-2 run. The Jackets, however, would fight back slowly, taking their time in their half-court offense until an open shot was found.
Through the next five minutes, Tech would chip away at Miami’s lead until junior forward Chelsea Regins got a steal with 12:17 left in the half and passed the ball to freshman guard Tyaunna Marshall for a fastbreak layup. The Jackets found themselves holding a short-lived one-point lead, up 17-16.
Miami responded by going on a 9-2 run to give itself a six-point cushion with 8:56 left in the half. Senior forward Alex Montgomery would get the Jackets going, however, putting up a three-point shot as the shot clock ran out with 8:29 left.
Montgomery’s shot sparked the Tech offense on its way to a 7-0 run and a one-point lead with 5:41 left in the first half.
After the Jackets’ run, both teams struggled to put down a shot until Miami’s Stephanie Gardner hit a three to give Miami another lead change in the back-and-forth first half. Tech responded with a three of its own. This was set up when Marshall passed the ball to junior guard Metra Walthour on the wing for an easy shot.
The Jackets were up one again with 2:08 left in the half. However, a quick steal by Miami followed by a close jumper gave the Hurricanes a one point advantage going into the half.
The Jackets were fortunate to only be down 30-29 going into half time despite committing 15 turnovers and a 37.5 percent shooting percentage for the half.
The Hurricanes came out hot to start the second half, extending their lead to four in the first two minutes. Tech would come back on a run, like they did in the first half, to take a one-point lead with 16:34 left before three more lead changes within the following minute.
After the Jackets went up 39-38, Miami responded quickly with a layup of their own to take the lead. The Hurricanes then went on a 9-1 run after the quick layup to go up 49-40 and would never relinquish their lead.
Tech continued to struggle shooting from the floor, hitting only 12 of their 33 shots in the second half. Miami, however, shook off their 41.4 percent shooting effort from the first half and shot 51.9 percent through the last 20 minutes of the game. The Jackets could not find an answer to defending Miami despite out rebounding them 42-39.
Tech had opportunities to cut Miami’s lead with free throws, but both teams struggled from the line. The Jackets only hit 57.1 percent of their free throw attempts,while the Hurricanes hit only 50 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
It looked like Tech would be able to go on another run to make the game close again when Walthour hit a jumper with 8:40 left in the game to cut the Hurricanes’ lead to six. Miami, however, scored when they needed to in order keep a comfortable lead. The Jackets would eventually finish the game losing by 11 points, 70-59.
“If we’re serious about going to the next level, then we have to show up at home. I thought today we had one or two players show up, but the rest of the team didn’t play their roles. We can’t win a game against a top-20 team with two players,” said Head Coach MaChelle Joseph.
Marshall led Tech in scoring, hitting seven of her 19 shots for 15 points and picking up six rebounds. On their Senior Day, Montgomery shot four-for-18 for 13 points and 11 rebounds, and senior forward Deja Foster hit four of her six shots for nine points.
Tech now enters the ACC tournament as a fifth seed at 9-5 in conference. The Jackets will face the 12th seed Virginia Tech Hokies in the first round of the tournament. In their last meeting, the Jackets blew out the Hokies in Blacksburg, 78-57.