The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team has gotten off to a strong start this season but starting on Sunday, they’ll surely be tested.
By Dylan Callaghan-Croley and Anthony Hartwig
The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team wrapped up an impressive non-conference run with a win over Wofford on Sunday before starting their ACC schedule with a win over Boston College on Friday to bring their record to 11-3. In the first 2 months of the season, the Jackets have gathered plenty of momentum to head into a tough ACC schedule.
The Jackets didn’t open the season on a great note losing at Houston 95-89 in 2OT. The Jackets had leads late in regulation, and late in the first overtime but both leads slipped away. The Jackets surrendered a program record 41 turnovers in the loss.
The Jackets then went on a 5 game win streak including a huge 63-53 win over 14th ranked Georgia at home. A victory that would propel the Jackets to win 7 of their next 9 games to close out non-conference play.
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The Jackets hit some key milestones during non-conference play. First, Francesca Pan recorded her 1000th career point in a 74-51 win over Idaho State. Pan scored 18 points in the win. Then, on December 3rd coach MaChelle Joseph recorded her 300th career victory. She already has the title of winningest coach in program history, getting that honor on January 4, 2015. At 300 wins and counting coach Joseph continues to show how much her presence has brought to the Georgia Tech program.
Now after an 11-3 start, the Jackets look forward to a tough ACC schedule. The ACC has 6 teams in the USA Today/Coaches poll. And the Jackets play all 6, and 5 of those opponents are at home. The only top 25 opponents the Jackets play on the road are Louisville and Notre Dame (they play the Irish twice). Along with those 6 opponents the ACC also has 2 other teams that have received votes in the polls. So it’s a definite possibility that even more teams on the Jackets schedule will get in the rankings.
Because of the strength of the conference, a successful ACC season will easily put the Jackets back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014. Their past struggles in the ACC have been abundant, but this season with maybe the most talented team that coach Joseph has ever had the future looks bright. The Jackets have a top 10 recruiting class leading the way this season. With two freshman and two sophomores in their starting lineup, the Jackets are fueled by youth. However, junior Francesca Pan brings experienced stability to a young team. Pan has been a starter all three years as a Jacket and has seen all the ups and downs a conference schedule can bring.
The Jackets will face their first major test in a while on Sunday when they take on the reigning national champions in Notre Dame.