Yellow Jackets can’t stop long-standing Devil slump
by Joedy McCreary
Associated Press Sports Writer
March 08, 2014 04:02 AM | 959 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Duke’s Haley Peters (33) draws a foul from Georgia Tech’s Dawnn Maye during Friday’s ACC tournament quarterfinal. After keeping pace for much of the first half, the Yellow Jackets were overwhelmed by the Blue Devils after the break.
<Br>Associated Press photo
Duke’s Haley Peters (33) draws a foul from Georgia Tech’s Dawnn Maye during Friday’s ACC tournament quarterfinal. After keeping pace for much of the first half, the Yellow Jackets were overwhelmed by the Blue Devils after the break.
Associated Press photo
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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Georgia Tech can’t shoot against Duke.

No wonder the Yellow Jackets can’t beat their conference rivals.

Tech had its worst shooting performance of the season Friday night, making just 24 percent of its shots in an 82-52 loss to the 10th-ranked Blue Devils in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals.

The 10th-seeded Yellow Jackets have lost 37 straight to Duke, the tournament’s No. 2 seed.

“We weren’t able to make shots,” coach MaChelle Joseph said. “When we can’t make shots, we can’t set our defense.”

Tyaunna Marshall had 17 points on 5-of-18 shooting for Georgia Tech (20-11). Kaela Davis had 16 points on 6-of-22 shooting — and was 3-of-11 from 3-point range.

The Yellow Jackets remained winless against Duke in tournament games, lost in the league quarterfinals for the 23rd time in 29 years and have not beaten the Blue Devils since 1995.

The Blue Devils forced Tech into another terrible shooting performance. In the previous meeting, a 17-point Duke win in January, the Yellow Jackets shot 26 percent — which had been their worst of the season until this one.

On three different occasions Friday night, Tech missed at least seven consecutive shots.

Duke’s zone defense “got spread further and further without hitting 3-point shots and getting the ball inside,” Marshall said.

Haley Peters scored 19 points, Elizabeth Williams had 15 points and blocked five shots, and Tricia Liston added 15 along with her school-record-tying 80th 3-pointer of the season for the Blue Devils (26-5).

They shot 53 percent and used a 29-8 run to push their lead into the 20s.

Duke has made Greensboro its home-away-from-Cameron over the past few years, reaching the ACC championship game five times in coach Joanne P. McCallie’s previous six tries and winning it three times — including last year.

The Blue Devils came here this year on a slide, having lost two of three while adjusting to season-ending injuries to two starting guards.

“We’ve done just a great job as a whole, everybody just embracing the challenge of what we’ve gone through this year,” said Haley Peters, who scored 19 points.

“Over the last few games, we’ve had some setbacks ... but we’ve always stayed with each other and stayed with what we’re trying to build on,” she added.

Richa Jackson had 14 points while Liston matched the single-season record she set last year for the Blue Devils.

Williams blocked multiple shots for the eighth straight game despite the Yellow Jackets’ best efforts to avoid her, Oderah Chidom and the Blue Devils’ imposing front line.

Duke blocked 13 shots, outscored the Yellow Jackets 38-22 in the paint and outrebounded them 49-36.

“Blocked shots are just intimidating, honestly, and I think everyone contributed to that,” Williams said.

The Yellow Jackets took their chances on the perimeter — where Duke is down two of its best guards in Chelsea Gray and Alexis Jones. Both of them were on the bench in sweats, lost for the year with knee injuries.

And once Tech went cold, this one was effectively over.

Georgia Tech missed 17 of its last 20 shots of the half and went six minutes between field goals.

“I think that we got kind of on our heels,” Joseph said. “We hit a wall and we never really recovered. ... We didn’t have much left in the second half.”

During that time, the Blue Devils started to grow their lead.

Duke outscored the Yellow Jackets 14-4 during the final 7:22 of the half, and went up 35-26 at the break on Ka’lia Johnson’s 3 just before the buzzer.

Williams’ layup 30 seconds into the second half gave the Blue Devils their first double-figure lead.

And then, by the time Jackson made it a 20-point game with 15 minutes left, Duke was on its way to improving to 6-0 against Georgia Tech in ACC tournament games.
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