Ardossi goes from role to whole player at Tech

Once the season began, Brigitte Ardossi was a name known by few around college basketball.

Those who were acquainted with the Georgia Tech forward had seen an offensively limited but fundamentally sound post player who could be a pest in the lane.

While the 6-foot-2 senior from Australia has maintained the pest role this year, there's been very little that's been limited in her game.

She leads the team in points (15) and rebounds (7.5) per game, with her scoring nearly double her 7.7 average in 2008-09. In ACC play, she's pushed her game to a higher level, averaging 18.2 points (tied for second in ACC) and an ACC-leading 9 rebounds per game, moving her name from role player to ACC Player of the Year candidate.

Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said the numbers are finally catching up to Ardossi's talent level.

"I think Brigitte has always been better than what her stats indicated," Joseph said. "She wasn't getting the minutes, but she was very efficient in her minutes. She was doing a lot of little things that don't show up in the stat sheet. She's a senior and she's waited for this opportunity to lead. She's always had the confidence in herself."

For Ardossi, the change has come naturally as the roster turned over and the team has needed her to do more.

She's always been capable of posting the numbers she has now but there was a need for her to focus on other parts of her game in the past.

"I just think roles change," Ardossi said. "You can't go out there and have an offense run for all five people. My first year, I was a starting player (and) my role there was just to get hustle points and get other people open for shots. It was a good learning experience for me to get on the other side of that spectrum. Now my responsibility is to score and to rebound more, but I can't go away from what made me the player I am."

That's someone who's always in the right position, who will be physical around the basket, fight for rebounds, draw charges and play defense.

Those qualities put her into the starting lineup as a freshman and have helped her be part of the first senior class in school history to have four 20-win seasons.

They're also what set her apart from other great scorers who have games that aren't nearly as well-rounded.

"Brigitte has all the intangibles," Joseph said. "She does all of the things nobody else wants to do. She's our best post defender and has been for four years. She was a role player, but she accepted her role. She said, ‘I didn't come her to be a backup, but I'll do what you ask me to do.' In her senior year, she's come into her own."

Tech will need everything she can provide this week, starting tonight with a visit from No. 10 Florida State, followed by No. 8 Duke on Friday and a trip to Miami on Sunday.

Victories could clinch a first-round bye at next month's ACC Tournament, and Ardossi said Tech is capable of winning each of the upcoming games.

"I have no doubt that we're going to fight hard to protect our home court," Ardossi said.