2016 ACC WBB Tournament: Georgia Tech, N.C. State move one step closer

Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Seventh seed Georgia Tech and No. 6 seed N.C. State both moved on to the ACC Tournament quarterfinals following the final session of second-round play at Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday.

A drive and a dish before the finish made the difference as Roddreka Rogers’ layup notched a 67-65 win for  the Yellow Jackets over No. 10 seed Wake Forest.

The Demon Deacons (16-15) shot a season-high 53 percent from the floor (including 7-of-14 beyond the arc), took the early and did everything it could to hold on.

However it wasn’t enough as Aaliyah Whiteside led Georgia Tech (19-11) with 19 points and Rogers added 16 to pull off the exciting finish.

Freshman Ariel Stephenson led Wake Forest and all scorers with 21 points while Milan Quinn added 16 points and 10 rebounds to go with Amber Campbell’s 16 points.

In the final game of the day, the sixth-seeded N.C. State Wolfpack (20-10) clipped the 14th-seeded Boston Eagles’ wings early and cruised to a 76-60 win.

Powered by an 18-3 start, the Wolfpack led 42-18 at halftime and held on even while BC (15-16) outscored them 42-34 during the final two quarters of play.

Miah Spencer led N.C. State with 17 points while Jennifer Mathurin and Dominique Wilson added 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Nicole Boudreau finished with 16 points and played her final game for the Eagles while Kelly Hughes supported the effort with 14 points.

#7 Georgia Tech 67, #10 Wake Forest 65

Scoring leaders

Georgia Tech: Aaliyah Whiteside 19 pts. (8-18), 4 asst., 3 steals; Roddreka Rogers 16 pts. (6-10/4-4 FT); Antonia Peresson 11 pts. (4-14/3-13 3 pts.)

Wake Forest: Ariel Stephenson 21 pts. (8-18/4-8 3 pts.); Milan Quinn 16 pts. (8-9); Amber Campbell 16 pts. (5-6/2-2 3 pts./4-4 FT)

Rebounding leaders: Milan Quinn (10), Aaliyah Whiteside (8), Roddreka Rogers (8)

Turning point

A few different points in the game defined why this one ended in as exciting a fashion as it did.

Trailing 31-19 with 7:41 to play in the second quarter, Whiteside’s three ignited a 12-3 run to pull the Yellow Jackets within three of the Demon Deacons at halftime.

Campbell and Quinn kept Wake Forest ahead during the third, but a gritty final fourth allowed Whiteside and Rogers to pull Georgia Tech closer to fight for the final shot to win the game.

Tied 56-56 with 7:30 to play, Whiteside started a 7-0 run that forced the Demon Deacons, led by Campbell and Stephenson, to counter.

Tied again at 65 apiece, Rogers’ layup dropped in with seven seconds to play while Campbell’s at the buzzer didn’t.

What they said

Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph: “We’ve been on a journey all season long. We started with a really tough ACC schedule. We had three of four on the road to open up our ACC schedule, and we have three upperclassmen. To start out that way, it’s really tough, and we got banged around a little bit, but this team never gave up and they continued to work and get better and better every day. We’ve had a great run in February, and all the little things that we weren’t getting done in January, we got done in February, and that’s why we’ve been one of eight of our last 12 games or now nine of whatever it is, nine of our last 11 games because of these seniors making plays.”

Georgia Tech’s Aaliyah Whiteside: “I knew we had to keep fighting and I knew we were going to come through, we just kept getting stops and chipping away at it and we got some momentum going and I thought we did a good job of making plays and getting stops later in the game.”

Wake Forest head coach Jen Hoover: “We came out with a game plan that they locked in on and came out and just were aggressive and attacked. Extremely disappointed – it’s not a very happy locker room. This team knows and believes and deserves to be playing on, and I can’t say enough about how much I just love this squad.”

Wake Forest’s Ariel Stephenson: “The sky’s the limit for us. We expect greatness from ourselves. That’s part of the reason we’re so disappointed because we understand how good we can be, and as long as we expect more from ourselves than everyone else does, we’re going the right direction.”

Up next

#7 Georgia Tech (19-11) vs. #2 Louisville (24-16) – 6 p.m. Fri.

#6 NC State 76, #14 Boston College 60

Scoring leaders

N.C. State: Miah Spencer 17 pts. (6-7/1-1 3 pts./4-4 FT); Jennifer Mathurin 15 pts. (5-10/4-6 3 pts.); Dominique Wilson 14 pts. (6-18)

BC: Kelly Boudreau 16 pts. (5-8/4-7 3 pts.); Kelly Hughes 14 pts. (5-11/2-7 3 pts.)

Rebounding leaders: BC: Ella Awobajo (9), Mariella Fasoula (7)

Turning point

Nothing turned after the Wolfpack’s initial 18-3 run led to a 25-7 lead over the Eagles after the first quarter.

N.C. State held the advantage for the duration.

What they said

N.C. State head coach Wes Moore: “Just was real excited to see our kids come out so focused. They knocked down shots. They got us going early with a lot of momentum, a lot of energy, and that was good to see. We’ve started a few games this year in the hole, and in fact the last time we played Boston College we dug a hole early. It was good to see our kids really respond and be ready for this atmosphere, and to come out and play as well as they did. Made my job a little bit easier, obviously.”

N.C. State’s Miah Spencer: “One thing we talked about was just being focused at the beginning of the game and having momentum coming out and not like letting down or if they start hitting shots let that affect us.”

BC head coach Erik Johnson:” You can’t be shocked at how good NC State is. I was shocked that we weren’t able to mitigate those things. My job as a coach is to put us in position. I felt like we made some good defensive adjustments that I thought would actually make it more difficult on them, so it was certainly — you could say there was a bit of a shock factor that they were able to adjust to our adjustments and push right through it. But that credit needs to go to NC State.”

BC’s Nicole Boudreau: “I think my teammates did a really great job of looking for me. At halftime I had my coach in my ear, I had my teammates in my ear telling me to shoot when I’m open. They felt like I had left a couple out there where someone backed off me and I wasn’t ready to shoot, so I think I was looking more for my offense in the second half, which was a big part of it, but my teammates got me in some great situations, had some great screens. I think Alexa actually set me a great one at the top. But I can’t say enough about my team, and they did it for me basically. I just had to put it in the hoop.”

Up next

#6 N.C. State (20-10) vs. #3 Syracuse (23-6) – 8 p.m. Fri.