Staff Photo: John Bohn Wake Forest guard Erin Hall (2) and teammate Mykala Walker (13) battle Georgia Tech forward Danielle Hamilton-Carter (10) for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA game played Thursday at Gwinnett Arena. Hall played high school basketball at Wesleyan while Walker played at Duluth. Georgia Tech defeated Wake Forest 71-67.
DULUTH -- With 2:30 to play in Thursday's game against Wake Forest, the Georgia Tech women's basketball team had seen a 10-point lead shrink to just two.
But after struggling all game at the free throw line, the Yellow Jackets put away the pesky Demon Deacons with five of six free throws down the stretch in a 71-67 victory.
Wake Forest (11-5, 1-2 ACC) got to within 64-62 on a pair of free throws by Secily Ray, but Tyaunna Marshall, who had her second career double-double scoring 20 points and added 12 rebounds, hit a bucket to make it a four-point game. Despite a 3-pointer by Lakevia Boykin (team-high 14 points), Sasha Goodlett (19 points) had three free throws and Metra Walthour added two to help the Yellow Jackets (12-5, 2-2) snap a two-game losing streak.
"Obviously, I'm really proud of our kids the way they gutted it out, I thought the game came down to getting defensive stops," said Tech coach MaChelle Joseph. "We built this program on defense and rebounding and I thought that was the difference in the game. I thought Ty came up big, she really controlled the boards. I think that says a lot about her, when you can rebound from the (shooting guard) position, that says a lot about her game."
The Yellow Jackets stretched a seven-point halftime lead to a game high of 10 points when Goodlett fed Mo Bennett for a jumper at the 12:12 mark of the second half, but Wake came storming back. Asia Williams, who was held to two first-half points, hit two baskets, then backup point guard Chelsea Douglas took over, scoring on a nice, baseline lay up, a runner in the lane and draining a 3-pointer, part of a 15-5 spurt that brought the Demon Deacons all the way back to a tie at 57-57 with 7:47 left in the game.
"I just felt like we had control of the game, we fell a little short," said Douglas. "I did feel like we were confident."
"I told our team that I liked our effort," said Demon Deacons coach Mike Peterson. "I really was OK with our execution, we just didn't make enough plays to beat a very good team on the road."
The teams went back and forth through the game's first eight minutes with neither taking more than a four-point lead, which the Demon Deacons grabbed at 16-12 on a bucket by Sandra Garcia. Tech amped up its full-court pressure, forcing two of Wake's 14 first-half turnovers, and at the other end got a lay up each from LaQuananisha Adams and Bennett. Goodlett followed with a pair of buckets to cap a 10-0 run and give the Yellow Jackets a 22-16 cushion.
Tech pushed the lead out to as many as nine points as Dawnn Maye handed out one of her six first-half assists on a bucket by Chelsea Regins that made it a 30-21 game. Wake got to within 34-31 on consecutive field goals from Douglas, but the Yellow Jackets, who shot 47 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, went into the locker room up 38-31, thanks to a bucket by Maye and a difficult runner in the lane by Marshall.