Ga. Tech women ready for ACC final

Tech made 24 of its first 34 shots and demolished North Carolina State 87-61 on Saturday in the ACC tournament semifinals. The Jackets will play Sunday in the ACC final for the second time overall and the first time in 20 years.

Tech (24-7) takes on Maryland, the team it tied in the standings at 12-4, or upstart Wake Forest, the No. 7 seed.

In its quarterfinal win over No. 5-seed North Carolina on Friday, Tech made 20 field goals in 52 attempts yet prevailed 54-53. On Saturday, the Jackets made 20 in the first 17:55, taking a 50-32 halftime lead and threatening the tournament record for single-game shooting percentage.

Tech, ranked No. 15, has won seven games in a row.

“Obviously, when they are making shots, they are a very, very good basketball team,” N.C. State coach Kellie Harper said.

Eleven players scored for the Jackets, who shot 53.3 percent and outrebounded N.C. State 53-28.

N.C. State (17-15) had little of the energy it showed Friday in a 75-73 victory over Duke, the first time a No. 9 seed knocked off a No. 1 seed.

“It was a big emotional win over Duke, and it’s really hard on a team in this type of situation to recover from,” Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said.

It was impossible for the Wolfpack to recover with Tech making 60 percent of its shots until going cold in the final 6 1/2 minutes, with the outcome decided and starters seated.

Guard Tyaunna Marshall scored 20 points to pace the Jackets. In two tournament games, she has been excellent, scoring 41 points on 16-of-27 shooting.

She set the tone, but she was not alone. Metra Walthour (13 points) and Sasha Goodlett each was 5-of-8, and Goodlett had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“We hit 15-footers, spread the floor on them,” Joseph said. “You saw them using their traps, scrambling, and we were able to spread the floor and hit shots. It can go either way, but we stepped up and hit those shots.”

Made baskets allowed the Jackets to get back and get set on defense, where N.C. State was limited to 31.1 percent shooting.

Now, the senior class, already the winningest in Tech history, has a chance to reach another goal, that of an ACC championship.

“It’s very important,” Goodlett said. “Preseason, all we were thinking about was getting to the ACC championship game and winning. We’re finally reaping the benefits from our hard work. ... We’re not just happy to be here. We feel we have more goals to accomplish.”

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