by Mike Potter
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL Georgia Tech will go into the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament carrying the ACC’s banner in the Triangle — at least for now.
Today the No. 4 seed Yellow Jackets (24-8) will take on No. 13 Sacred Heart (27-5), the champions of the Northeast Conference, in the first meeting between the schools.
It’s not much of a contest as Tech is clearly the superior team, rolling to a 76-50 victory.
And MaChelle Joseph’s club will go again on Tuesday night at 7 against No. 5 seed Georgetown (23-8), which held off No. 12 seed Fresno State (28-6) by a 61-56 score for a chance to advance to the semifinals of the Des Moines Regional.
The Pioneers keep it close for the first few minutes, as the Jackets don’t go ahead for good until freshman Sydney Wallace’s field goal makes it 11-9 with 12:00 left in the half.
And the Ramblin’ Wreck is off to the races.
Tech leads 36-21 at halftime after shooting 50 percent to Sacred Heart’s 33.3.
The Jackets’ largest lead is 30, when it’s 71-41 on a pair of Tjasa Gortnar free throws with 5:42 to play.
Wallace, who had a season high of 16 points, came off the bench for 28 points on 11-for-13 from the floor while big center Sasha Goodlett had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Mo Bennett chipped in 11 points.
Gabrielle Washington leads the Pioneers with 13 points while Callan Taylor adds 10.
Tech shoots 52.9 percent from the floor to 39.2 for Sacred Heart, wins the rebound battle 31-25 and turns the ball over 19 times to 20 for the Pioneers.
They said it …
Joseph: “It took us a while to get our feet underneath us — we’ve been off for two weeks (since losing in the ACC Tournament final) — and once we got our defense going we were able to convert some easy baskets on the offensive end. That got our energy level up and I thought we were able to make some big plays. Obviously Sydney was a huge factor. We brought her to Georgia Tech to score, and she’s done that in spurts.”
Sacred Heart coach Ed Swanson: “It wasn’t one of our better games, but I thought Georgia Tech did a terrific job. They’re so athletic they took us out of our rhythm, took us out of what we wanted to do. We knew it was going to be 40 minutes of really tough, focused basketball.”
Wallace: “I just went out there with confidence, and once I knocked down the first shot I was very confident and I just continued to shoot. I was open, and when I’m open and my teammates find me it’s my job to knock down the shots.”
Goodlett: “When you’re playing a smaller team, when you’re a go-to player then you have to play your role. That’s all I wanted to do and what I focused on. I’m the tallest player on the court. I have no excuses. I had confidence everyone was going to give everything they had, so I had to match that.”
What does it all mean?
That the best season in Georgia Tech history continues.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Wallace’s bucket that gives Tech the lead at 11-9.
Ga. Tech: Won 1.
Sacred Heart: Lost 1.
Tech leads 1-0.
Georgia Tech vs. Georgetown, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Carmichael
Sacred Heart in 2012-13 season opener