Women’s basketball gets first conference win

Freshman guard Tonie Morgan blocks Syracuse defense. Morgan recorded a double-double, 16 points and 15 rebounds in the game against Syracuse. // Photo by Tyler Parker Student Publications

The Tech Women’s Basketball team played two ACC matchups last week and they came away with one victory and one loss. 

The Jackets defeated Syracuse 69–57 at home in McCamish Pavilion on Thursday, Jan. 19, but they lost on the road on Sunday, Jan. 22 to No. 17 North Carolina by a score of 70–57. 

In their win over Syracuse, the Jackets had production and longevity from a number of athletes. A standout performance of the night came from fifth-year points leader Cameron Swartz, who played nearly 33 minutes racking up 17 points and shooting 6–6 from the line. 

Freshman guard Tonie Morgan was the best all-around player, playing almost 32 minutes recording a double-double, with 16 points and 15 total rebounds. Sophomore forward Kayla Blackshear was on the court all night long, playing nearly 36 of the total 40. 

Swartz, Morgan and Blackshear were joined by fifth-year guard Bianca Jackson as the four athletes that recorded double digit points from Tech. 

From a statistical perspective, the Jackets are a well-rounded team as they had 39 points from the bench and outscored Syracuse 21–10 in the fourth quarter. 

Overall, the ladies had an above average 42.9% field goal percentage and high 76% free throw percentage. 

Sunday’s game against UNC was not a terrible performance for the Jackets. Once again, Morgan and Swartz scored the majority of the points while the former also led the team in total rebounds. 

One noticeable difference in the UNC game was that Swartz and Morgan were the only Tech players to score double digits. 

Tech’s team percentages dropped dramatically from one game to the next, recording a 35.5% field goal percentage and 50% from the line. 

The bench contributed 28 of the team’s points, but the Tar Heels attacked the Jackets inside with 28 of their points coming from inside the paint. 

With a current conference record of 1–8, Tech has had a rough start to conference play in the 2023 season. The win over Syracuse is the Jackets’ first conference win of the year. The early ACC record is disappointing for a team that went 11–7 in the conference just last season. The eight ACC losses so far have racked up from Virginia, Florida State, Louisville, Wake Forest, Miami, and nationally-ranked Duke and North Carolina.

In the ACC rankings, Tech is next to last, only ahead of a 0–8 Pitt that will come to McCamish Pavilion in February. The Jackets have nine regular season conference games left to turn their record around and finish closer to the top of the ACC for a higher seed in the conference tournament. Their current record of 10–10 is disappointing for a team who only lost 11 total games last season, but if the Jackets get hot at the right time and go on a run, they may be able to finish strong.