Jackets soar against Eagles, fall to Tar Heels

Sophomore guard Tonie Morgan drives to the hoop against Tar Heels guard Alyssa Utsby for the layup. Morgan finished the game with a team-leading 15 points and nine assists. // Photo by Tyler Parker Student Publications

This past Thursday, the No. 23 ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels traveled to McCamish Pavilion to take on Tech in a highly anticipated ACC (Atlantic Coastal Conference) matchup. Tech entered the game off a loss to ACC rival Duke. Tech fought hard throughout the game against the Tar Heels but came up short in a dispiriting 78-63 loss.

Welcoming the Boston College Eagles to McCamish four days later provided Tech with a chance for Tech to reverse their fortune. The Jackets immediately bounced back from their loss to the Tar Heels with a 69-54 victory over the Eagles.

The Jackets started off the week with a tough matchup against the Tar Heels. Tech began the game slowly, falling to an early 23-13 deficit with 7:16 left until halftime. Coach Nell Fortner then called a timeout to give the Jackets time to reset. Tech came out of the timeout extremely strong, going on a 10-0 run to tie the game up. North Carolina regained the lead heading into halftime thanks to a score of 30-28. 

Despite the Jackets starting the game slowly, shooting 36.4% from the floor and not connecting on any three-point attempts, Tech bounced back with a strong second quarter, shooting 46.7% from the field and 42.9% from behind the arc. The Jackets’ strong second quarter was led by freshman center Ariadna Termis and sophomore guard Tonie Morgan, who both scored a team high six points in the quarter. Termis and Morgan led the first half, both scoring eight points at the half. With the Jackets down two points heading into the third quarter, Coach Fortner looked  to continue  their momentum from the second quarter into the second half.

The Jackets started the third quarter slowly, with the Tar Heels extending their lead to eight. The score only stayed close thanks to sophomore guard Kara Dunn, scoring  nine points in just 10 minutes. Tech erased some of the lead during the fourth quarter, narrowing it down to three points with 7:06 left to play, but the comeback attempt fell short. The Jackets would fall to the Tar Heels 73-68.

In spite of the result against North Carolina, Tech had many strong individual performances. Dunn, Termis, Morgan and freshman guard Rusne Augustinaite all scored double digit points. Morgan also led the team in assists with nine and tied Dunn by getting a team-high six rebounds .

Coming off a tough loss against  North Carolina, the Jackets looked to regain their form versusa streaky Boston College team. Tech started the game off extremely hot, going on a 7-0 run to start the game. The rest of the quarter was more of the same.  The Jackets got out to an early 24-10 lead over a lifeless Eagles team. The Eagles narrowed the lead to eight during the second quarter as Tech’s scoring dipped. The Jackets would bounce back and extend the lead to 10, entering half with momentum and a score of 32-22.

Thanks to a strong first quarter, the Jackets held a commanding 10-point lead at the half. In the first quarter, Tech shot an impressive 71% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. Junior forward Kayla Blackshear scored 10 points on a perfect five for five shear scored 10 points on a perfect five for five from the field.

Tech started the third quarter strong, extending the lead to 17 points with 7:34 remaining in the quarter. In a complete effort, the Jackets kept the Eagles from getting back into the game. The final score of 69-54 told the whole story — this was a bounce-back game for the Jackets in every sense of the term. 

Their win was made possible due to some  impressive performances from players up and down the roster. Morgan, Blackshear, Dunn, Augustinaite and sophomore guard Inés Noguero all scored over nine points. Once again, Morgan’s 10 assists and seven rebounds both led the team. The defense was strong throughout the game — the Eagles shot a paltry  37.9% from the field and 11.8% from the three-point line.

The Jackets look to continue their momentum from the Boston College game into their future matchups. They travel to Blacksburg, Va. to take on Virginia Tech on Jan. 25. Tech will then return home to McCamish for the next two games, taking on Florida State and Notre Dame on Jan. 28 and Feb. 1, respectively.