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  ACC 2nd Round: #7 Georgia Tech 67, #10 Wake Forest 65
Late Rodgers Basket Gives Jackets the Win
March 3, 2016

 
By John Mundy, Photos by Orin Day

Roddreka Rodgers scored the game winning bucket with seven seconds remaining (left), and Georgia Tech held on to defeat Wake Forest 67-65. Tech advances to face #2 seed Louisville in Friday's third quarterfinal game at 6:00 PM.
Photos by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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GREENSBORO -- A Roddreka Rogers lay-in with seven seconds remaining vaulted the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets into Friday's quarterfinal round of the ACC Women's Tournament and eliminated Wake Forest 67-65. Georgia Tech advanced despite trailing for over 30 minutes, and by as many as 13 in the first half. Still, the matter wasn't decided until Amber Campbell's last-gasp attempt missed its mark. Tech coach MaChelle Joseph admitted that the winning play wasn't what was called. The play was supposed to go to Aaliyah Whiteside but Imani Tilford made a play and found Rogers under the basket.

"The games we've lost early in the season and in the ACC, those close games it was because players made plays and all year long we kept saying we've got to have players make plays at the end of a game and I thought Imani did that," Joseph said.

Wake Forest got off to a hot start, shooting 64% in the first quarter and going 5-5 from behind the three-point line. Georgia Tech battled back after ending the first quarter trailing by 12, and an Antonia Peresson three brought the Jackets to within three at halftime. Asked if the hot start caused a little too much reliance on the three, Wake Forest freshman Ariel Stephenson disagreed.

"I felt like I was taking my shot in the flow of the offense," Stephenson said. "I was taking what the defense gave me. Going to the basket wasn't always open and they were sagging off me, so I took what was open."

With momentum seemingly on the side of Georgia Tech, Wake Forest roared out of the locker room to stretch its lead to as many as 11 before the Jackets were able to find their footing again. The Demon Deacons owned the paint in the third quarter, scoring 14 points inside while Georgia Tech continued to struggle. But, once again the Demon Deacons were unable to follow through and finish the game strong.

Irene Gari's three-pointer with 7:30 remaining in the final period tied the game at 56, and the Jackets stretched their lead to 7 points with just over four minutes remaining. Amber Campbell responded for the Deacs, keeping them in the game until Milan Quinn's bucket with 1:01 left tied the game for the third time. Georgia Tech's Peresson missed a three pointer but the Jackets grabbed the rebound and called timeout. That's when Rogers, daughter of Wake Forest legend Rodney Rogers, sent the Deacons packing. Next up for the Jackets: Louisville.

“Obviously we have tremendous respect for Louisville and the way they're playing right now," Joseph said. "They're really aggressive. You know it's going to be a very physical game."

Top Performers

  1. Aaliyah Whiteside, Georgia Tech : 19 points, 8 rebounds. Was 6-10 from the field and made all four of her free throws. Added in three steals, for good measure.

  2. Roddreka Rogers, Georgia Tech : 16 points, 8 rebounds. Roddreka the Wake-killer. Has had no remorse over the years about performing well against her dad's alma mater.

  3. Ariel Stephenson, Wake Forest : 21 points, 3 assists, 4-8 from three-point line. With one year under her belt, Stephenson is well on her way to becoming a perennial All-ACC talent.

Game Analysis

Why Georgia Tech Won: Like Joseph said, somebody finally made a play. Wake Forest out-rebounded and out-toughed the Jackets and did everything but win the game. Which, you know, is kind of important.

Why Wake Forest Lost: Young teams rarely handle good fortune well, and it rang true tonight. Once again, just like last week against Virginia Tech, the Deacs led by double digits and let it get away.

The Game Turned When...: Speaking of not handling good fortune, Georgia Tech couldn't close it out, either. They squandered a 7-point advantage in the fourth quarter but thankfully for the Jackets remembered that they had the Wake-killer in Rogers.

X-Factor: Wake Forest forward Milan Quinn had 16 points but little help in the post. An ailing Kandice Ball along with the other forward accounted for exactly 1 point. This team needs Jill Brunori's knees to heal.

Key Stat: Turnovers: Wake Forest 21, Tech 11. In a related story, Georgia Tech had 26 points off turnovers compared to 11 for Wake.

Areas for Improvement: For Wake Forest? Get healthy. For Georgia Tech? Much, much better perimeter defense is needed to get by Louisville.

Ramifications: This is probably it for postseason play if you're the Demon Deacons. This is a team who was this close to not having to play on Wednesday, and probably should have won a couple more games pre-conference. They are closer now to an NCAA bid than they've been in a while.

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