- - Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The winningest senior class in Georgetown women’s basketball history squared off with Georgia Tech’s best senior class Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

So of course it was a freshman who stole the show.

Sydney Wallace had just her second 20-plus point game — both in the tournament — pouring in 23 points off the bench as the No. 4 seed Yellow Jackets eliminated the No. 5 seed Hoyas 76-64 at Carmichael Arena.

“That was a well-fought, hard, tough game for our young ladies,” Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “I thought they showed great character and continued to fight, and that’s what we’ve done all year.

“I think my seniors are being a little bit hard on themselves, but that’s how they are when they lose. They’re not going to pat each other on the back, they’re not going to give each other a whole lot of credit because it’s a loss. I’m getting a little emotional here because my seven seniors came in here and turned this program around.”

For their troubles, the Yellow Jackets (26-8) — who are having the best season in school history — advanced to the regional semifinals against unbeaten Baylor (36-0) on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. It will be Georgia Tech’s first appearance in the Sweet 16.

“I’m just thrilled to death for my players and the people at Georgia Tech,” Jackets coach MaChelle Joseph said. “It’s a long time, very overdue, for Georgia Tech being in the Sweet 16 and for us to make history with this group of people. I’m very blessed to be surrounded by players that are committed to excellence both on the floor and off the floor.

“They deserve this. We paid the price to be successful and that’s why today we won out there.”

Wallace led four players in double figures as point guard Metra Walthour added 15 points, 6-foot-5 center Sasha Goodlett 14 with 11 rebounds and Chelsea Regins 13.

“I just came out here with confidence,” said Wallace, who had led Tech in scoring just once all season before scoring 28 points Saturday against Sacred Heart. “I just knew I had to step up for my senior leaders and play my role.”

Sugar Rodgers finished with 14 points for Georgetown (23-9), going 4-for-19 from the floor and 1-for-8 from outside the 3-point arc. Tia Magee, one of those seven seniors, was the other Hoya in double figures with 10 points.

“We had the right pace going, just at the wrong times we took a play off,” said Magee, whose class had a 93-41 record. “[Wallace] did a great job, and they shot crazy good today. They just hit shots at the most crucial times. Every time we started to fight back and throw a punch back, we just couldn’t get it going.”

Georgia Tech shot 50 percent from the floor to the Hoyas’ 33.8, winning the game despite the Hoyas’ 42-39 rebounding advantage. Georgetown committed 15 turnovers to Georgia Tech’s 17.

The Jackets never trailed after Goodlett’s short jumper from Walthour with 5:48 left in the first half made it 24-23. Tech’s biggest lead was 15 points on four occasions over the final 4:12.

“Ever since we came in we wanted to do something special and leave our mark on this program,” said Goodlett, who has led the Yellow Jackets to a 97-37 mark so far during her tenure. “We came in thinking ‘We have to make it to the Sweet 16. We have to take this program somewhere it’s never been.’ “

The junior Rodgers said she’s confident the Hoyas will have another big season in her senior campaign.

“I got open looks, but I didn’t knock down the shots tonight,” Rodgers said. “But I believe in my heart that I played hard. They played good defense. They were all up on you, aggressive, in the passing lanes, everywhere.

“We’re going to come back next year prepared. We’ve got a lot of underclassmen, but so what? They’ll have a good leader.”

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