Tech struggles in the tough ACC roadtrip

Sophomore guard Tonie Morgan drives into the paint against Seminoles guard Brianna Turnage. Morgan dropped 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists in the 78-67 loss. // Photo courtesy of GTAA

Tech women’s basketball team faced tough competition in late January, going up against Virginia Tech on Jan. 25 and Florida State on Jan. 28. Despite strong performances from key players, the Jackets fell in both matchups, first to the No. 19 Virginia Tech Hokies and then to the No. 23 Florida State Seminoles, highlighting the challenges and resilience of the team.

Against Virginia Tech,  the Institute showcased individual brilliance with sophomore guard Tonie Morgan putting up a career-high 26 points and freshman guard Rusne Augustinaite contributing 17 points. The game started off with the Hokies taking an early lead, thanks to their impressive 72% shooting in the first quarter. 

Tech managed to close the gap to nine points in the second quarter, but Virginia Tech, led by graduate senior center Elizabeth Kitley and senior guard Georgia Amoore with 29 and 24 points respectively, maintained their lead and eventually secured an 87-69 victory. The Hokies’ efficient shooting and dominance on the glass were key factors in their win as they shot 55.4% from the field and outrebounded the white and gold 37-25.

Just a few days later, the Jackets faced Florida State in a game that was tightly contested in the first half. Sophomore guard Kara Dunn and Tonie Morgan once again led the charge for Tech, combining for 35 points. The game saw several lead changes, with neither team able to build a significant lead until the final quarter. Sophomore guard Inés Noguero contributed 13 points and was instrumental in keeping the Jackets competitive. 

Tech had an eight-point lead in the third quarter, but Florida State, powered by sophomore guard Ta’Niya Latson’s 33 points, dominated the final period. The Seminoles’ 27-12 run in the fourth quarter was decisive, leading them to a 78-67 win over the Jackets. Florida State’s rebounding and free-throw accuracy were decisive in the game’s outcome as they shot 15-19 from the strike and outrebounded the Jackets 45-33.

These two games were significant for several reasons. First, they highlighted the competitive nature of ACC women’s basketball, with Tech facing ranked opponents back-to-back. The performances of Morgan and Dunn across both games underscored their importance to the team, showcasing their scoring abilities and leadership on the court.

The loss against Virginia Tech was particularly challenging due to the Hokies’ early lead, which set the tone for the game. Despite Tech’s efforts to bridge the gap, Virginia Tech’s offensive firepower was too much to overcome. The game against Florida State, on the other hand, demonstrated Tech’s resilience and potential to compete with top-tier teams. 

The Jackets’ ability to lead in the third quarter showed that they could challenge ranked opponents, but the final quarter highlighted areas for improvement, particularly in maintaining intensity and focus until the final buzzer.

These matchups also provided valuable lessons for the Jackets as it progressed through the season. The importance of a strong start was evident in both games, as early deficits proved difficult to overcome. 

Additionally, the ability to maintain composure and execution in the final quarter is crucial, especially against ranked opponents who can capitalize on any lapse in concentration. Looking ahead, Tech’s performance in these games could serve as a catalyst for growth and development. The team has demonstrated that they have the talent and ability to compete at a high level. The key will be to build on these experiences.

As the team continues to learn and grow from these experiences, they will look to translate their potential into victories in future matchups. With an upcoming home game against Notre Dame, the Jackets have an opportunity to regroup and aim for a victory. 

The team’s ability to start strong, as seen in the Florida State matchup, combined with closing out games more effectively, will be crucial in the competitive ACC landscape.

As Tech prepares to host Notre Dame, fans and players alike will be looking for a turnaround that can reignite the season. The resilience and talent displayed by players like Morgan, Augustinaite and Dunn offer hope for future successes. 

With strategic adjustments and a focus on maintaining intensity throughout the game, Tech has the potential to bounce back and make significant
impact in the ACC.