The Georgia Tech bench celebrates during its NIT semifinals win over Cal State Bakersfield in New York Tuesday night. (Associated Press)

Tech’s basketball teams on verge of unprecedented feat

The Georgia Tech men’s and women’s basketball teams are on the verge of an unprecedented feat.

With the women’s team beating Washington State 69-61 in the WNIT semifinals Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion, Tech can become the first school to win both the NIT and WNIT in the same year. The Tech men will play TCU on Thursday night for the NIT championship in New York. The women will play Michigan on Saturday in Detroit for the WNIT title.

“I’ve been at Georgia Tech for 14 years and to have the opportunity to play for a championship the same year our men are playing for a championship in the same tournament is special to me,” women’s coach MaChelle Joseph told reporters after the game.

Only one other school has had two teams in the finals of both events in the same year. In 1998, the first year of the WNIT, the Penn State women’s team won the WNIT championship but the men’s team lost to Minnesota. It is something of a dubious achievement, in that some would consider making the NIT or WNIT as a consolation prize for missing the NCAA Tournament, but both Joseph and men’s coach Josh Pastner have seized upon the opportunity to continue playing and compete for a championship.

On Wednesday, the women’s team overcame an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to win, outscoring the Cougars 20-7 in the fourth quarter. Forward Zaire O’Neal led the Yellow Jackets with 20 points to go with 16 rebounds. Forward Elo Edeferioka contributed her own double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds.

The NIT final will be broadcast on ESPN at 8 p.m. The WNIT title game will be played at 3 p.m. Saturday and be televised by CBS Sports Network.

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