It seems like it’s been a while since the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team has been relevant in the NCAA rankings, or even in the ACC. Since being bounced from the Sweet 16 in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the Lady Jackets have struggled to find an identity and a winning record.
With all the success that she has had in her 11 seasons at Tech, MaChelle Joseph‘s teams haven’t finished higher than fourth in the ACC standings, and have only ended the season nationally ranked twice – after the 2010-11 season (24th) and again after the 2011-12 season (15th).
But the emergence of a dynamic freshman, Kaela Davis, and the leadership of senior Tyaunna Marshall have the Lady Yellow Jackets looking like they could challenge in the ACC again, and may indeed vie for a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament.
Sitting at 11-5 and 1-2 in the ACC, the Lady Jackets are as of yet unranked nationally, but it might behoove the voters to start taking a closer look at this team, and considering them for a top 25 vote in the coming weeks.
Four out of Tech’s five losses are to ranked teams, and the largest margin of defeat was 17 points to No. 3 Duke.
Here are the quality losses by the Jackets: (Current AP rankings)
#8 Tennessee 87-76
#25 Georgia 63-56
#15 Oklahoma State 68-60
#3 Duke 64-47
To date, the two best wins the Jackets have right now are over unranked Illinois and Clemson, but those wins and losses don’t tell the whole story.
One area where this team needs to focus if they want to make that leap into the rankings, is on defense. Right now the Jackets are ranked 3th in the nation in OPP FG% (according to ESPN.com), and aren’t even in the top 50 in total team defense, allowing over 63 points per game. Even with the high-scoring players the Lady Jackets have, they’ll have to do a better job of stopping the quality teams from scoring.
When you watch these ladies play, they are a strong and fast team, who can score points in bunches (they scored over 90 points in four consecutive games during December play). They’ve played some of the best teams in the nation down to the wire, and were just a few quality possessions from a win against both Okie State and Georgia.
In short, this is not a team to take lightly as the ACC schedule progresses.
Two out of the next four games–Maryland and NC State–are against ranked teams, and that four games stretch could be what catapults the Lady Jackets into the top 25.