by Mike Potter
GREENSBORO COLISEUM It’s Cinderella Day at the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Two of the teams in the semifinals just aren’t supposed to be here, but N.C. State’s Kellie Harper and Wake Forest’s Mike Petersen are each coming off the most impressive wins of their coaching careers.
State (18-14), the first No. 9 seed ever to make it this far, will be the underdog against No. 15 Georgia Tech (23-7) in the opener that tips off at 11 a.m. to make ESPNU happy. Georgia Tech swept the season series, winning 76-66 in Raleigh and 75-68 in Atlanta.
After this one’s over the Deacons (19-12) — who have won two ACC Tournament games in the same year for the first time in school history - will be the underdog against new tournament favorite No. 6 Maryland (26-4).
This time the glass slipper doesn’t fit the Wolfpack, as Georgia Tech takes over early and rolls 87-61.
It doesn't fit the Deacons either, as they fall 73-58 to a Maryland team that seems to be on a mission just like Georgia Tech.
Things get off on the wrong foot for the Wolfpack, as Marissa Kastanek picks up her second foul with 16:30 left in the half. And when she re-enters the contest late in the half the die has pretty much been cast.
Georgia Tech leads 50-32 at the break, courtesy of 16 points from Tyaunna Marshall. Tech shoots 68.8 percent in the first half to the Wolfpack’s 29.0 and leads the rebound battle 26-12.
State never gets any closer.
Marshall leads the Yellow Jackets with 20 points followed by Metra Walthour with 13 and Sasha Goodlett with 12 plus 10 rebounds.
Myisha Goodwin-Coleman paces State with 13 points, followed by Kody Burke with 12 and Kastanek with 10.
Tech outshoots the Wolfpack 53.3 percent to 31.1, and wins the rebound battle 53-28. State commits 13 turnovers to Tech’s 18.
They said it …
State coach Kellie Harper: “We hated to end our tournament run like this, but Georgia Tech played a fantastic game. And obviously when they’re making shots they’re a very, very good basketball team. They’re very physical and athletic defensively, and when they’re putting points on the board they’re a tough opponent.”
Tech coach MaChelle Joseph: “One thing I said coming into this game and throughout the season is that we consider ourselves a blue-collar team, a hard-working team. We pride ourselves on being one of the hardest-working teams in the ACC. And we feel like N.C. State is another team that night-in and night-out plays as hard or harder than we do. Obviously I’m very proud of my kids for their effort.”
Goodlett: “This is very important, just for the simple fact that coming into preseason all we were thinking about was getting to the ACC championship game and winning. We five seniors wanted it since we stepped on the campus, we worked hard and ground it out for four years and we’re finally reaping the benefits of our hard work.”
Kastanek: “I think post-season play is a great opportunity to get the younger ones more experience just playing games. But our seniors’ season is not over yet, and I think that’s important. I want them to go off with a win, not a loss.”
What does it all mean?
That Georgia Tech will be in the ACC title game for the second time and first in 20 years, and that the Wolfpack is probably WNIT-bound.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Walthour’s 3-pointer to make it 26-18 with 7:11 left in the first half.
State: Lost 1.
Ga. Tech: Won 7.
State leads 40-22.
Georgia Tech vs. Maryland for the ACC championship, Sunday, 2 p.m.
State in post-season play, likely at home in the WNIT.