No. 14 Georgia Tech pummels Boston College

Georgia Tech basketball coach Nell Fortner huddles with her team during an early-season game at McCamish Pavilion. (Georgia Tech Athletics)

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Georgia Tech basketball coach Nell Fortner huddles with her team during an early-season game at McCamish Pavilion. (Georgia Tech Athletics)

After earning its highest-ever Top 25 ranking on Monday, No. 14 Georgia Tech looked the part Thursday. The Yellow Jackets took apart another ACC opponent with its defense, this time Boston College in a 68-49 win at McCamish Pavilion.

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First in Division I in scoring defense and second in field-goal percentage defense, Tech limited the Eagles to season lows in scoring (tying with a 49-point effort against Louisville) and field-goal percentage (30.4% on 17-for-56 shooting). Coach Nell Fortner’s team improved to 16-4 overall and 7-2 in the ACC. The Jackets have won their past three games by an average of 15.3 points and six of their past seven. After Thursday’s results, they were tied for third in the conference with Virginia Tech.

“I was really worried about Boston College,” Fortner said. “They’re a physical, really gritty, tough team and I thought our defense really just took them out of what they wanted to do offensively early, and it gave us a lot of confidence.”

The Eagles (14-6, 5-4) had won six of their previous seven games before Thursday.

“I’d give it a 9, (or) 10 out of 10,” said guard Eylia Love, rating her team’s defensive play. “We really stuck to the scouting report, I believe, and our coaches do a good job of preparing us for the game. As long as we do that and stick to that and execute our game plan, it pays off, which it did (Thursday).”

Forward Lorela Cubaj, appearing to show no effects from an ankle injury suffered late in Tech’s win over North Carolina on Sunday, was the Jackets’ principle tool in blanketing the Eagles. Fortner assigned Cubaj to mark Eagles forward Taylor Soule, her team’s scoring leader (15.8 points per game) who had made 56.7% of her shots.

Soule, named an All-ACC first-teamer last season, obtained 11 points, but shot 3-for-13 from the field. Cubaj played 37 minutes and was typically effective, with six points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals against five turnovers.

“I thought Lorela Cubaj was absolutely phenomenal defensively,” Fortner said. “She had to guard Taylor Soule, and that is not an easy assignment. Taylor started at the 3, she’s a player that you can move around and I thought ‘Lo’ just really did a great job. That’s probably the most perimeter defense Lo has played since I don’t know when. She was all over the place on the perimeter.”

Love scored a career-high 20 points to lead the Jackets on the offensive end. Love was 9-for-14 from the field, with seven of the nine scores resulting from assists. The Jackets, in fact, assisted on 24 of their 28 field goals.

“My teammates were able to get me the ball in the sweet spots, and my teammates have a lot of confidence in me, which instills a lot of confidence in myself,” Love said. “I was just happy that the ball was able to drop (Thursday).”

Tech plays at Clemson on Sunday.

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