#37 Georgia Tech Women's Basketball Preview

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #6 ACC
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The 2010-11 season was good for Georgia Tech's women's basketball team, but 2011-12 could be even better. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 24-win season, an appearance in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals and a trip to the second round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament. The nice thing for nine-year head coach MaChelle Joseph is she returns 12 players from that squad, meaning Georgia Tech may make a Ramblin Wreck of some teams. The ACC will be a tough conference once again, but Georgia Tech may be poised to make a move up in the standings if all goes well.

2010-11: 24-11, 14-3
2010-11 postseason: NCAA (lost in second round to Ohio State, 67-60)
Coach: MaChelle Joseph, 153-97

Who's Out:
With 12 players returning from last year's team there isn't much room for talk about players who have departed Atlanta. Two players have graduated and one, Alex Montgomery, will be sorely missed. Montgomery was the leading scorer for the team at 13.9 points per game, including a high of 28 against Northwestern on December 1. Joseph will have to get around Montgomery's absence and the 8.6 rebounds and 81 total assists she contributed. The other graduate, Deja Foster, wasn't as impressive a scorer (5.2 per game), but she contributed 6.0 rebounds and was strong dishing off the ball and intercepting it (72 assists, 44 steals).

Who's In:
Three freshmen may provide some help as the season progresses. Sarah Hartwell is a 5-10 guard from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash.; Sydney Wallace is also a 5-10 guard and a home-state product from Johns Creek; and Tjasa Gortnar is a 6-2 forward from Slovenia. Gortnar was part of the first Slovenian team to get to the U-19 World Championships, and once there she scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a loss to Chinese Taipei. Gortnar could be a big part of this team in future seasons, if not this one.

Who to Watch:
There are plenty of people who contributed last year that are back for more, led by 5-9 sophomore guard Tyaunna Marshall. Marshall averaged 13.6 points per game and shot 47.6 percent from the field, but she is not an aggressive perimeter shooter. Sasha Goodlett, a 6-5 senior center, pulled down 9.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, and she should provide an intimidating presence in the 5-spot. Don't forget Metra Walthour, either. Walthour is a 5-9 guard whose 3-point shooting (35.9 percent) will give Georgia Tech that perimeter presence.

Final Projection:
The Yellow Jackets will have their hands full with an ACC schedule that includes Duke, Miami and North Carolina, among others. They will also have some sunshine to soak up while other teams shiver in the winter weather. Georgia Tech takes two separate trips to warmer climates (San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nassau, Bahamas). Georgia Tech faces Marquette in the third game of the season and early-schedule tests also include Rutgers and Georgia, two top-20 schools that will give the Yellow Jackets stiff tests.

With so many letter winners back from last year's team, Georgia Tech could have 25 wins or more under its belt by season's end. This has potential to be the Yellow Jackets' best season ever if the team can overcome the loss of Montgomery and get help from freshmen and returning players.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Lineup:
Tyaunna Marshall, Guard, Sophomore, 13.6 points per game
Sasha Goodlett, Center, Senior, 9.9 points per game
Metra Walthour, Guard, Senior, eighth in ACC with 3.8 assists per game
Chelsea Regins, Forward, Senior, team high 53.6 percent shooting
Tjasa Gortnar, Forward, Freshman, DNP last season

Madness 2011 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#25 Sasha Goodlet