Lady Jacket Basketball Preview

MaChelle Joseph enters her seventh year at Georgia Tech. She met with the press recently along with returning All-ACC star, Alex Montgomery. MaChelle gave her opening comments and answered a few questions from the media.

Opening Comments:

"We're coming off back-to-back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. We've had three in a row and three of the best seasons in the history of our program. Starting out this season, we've already had four practices and I can tell you that this is probably the deepest and most talented team that I've had since I've been at Georgia Tech. We're very young and inexperienced, but what we lack in experience we make up for in size and athleticism. It's probably the biggest team - we have three players fewer than six foot and four players over six-four."

"Top to bottom I feel we have a chance to compete in the top of the ACC and across the country. The expectations are very very high. I don't think our players or staff expects to finish anywhere but in the top three of the ACC. We feel we have a chance to advance to the sweet sixteen and play at the highest level. Our goals are very high. If we can stay healthy, the sky's the limit for this team."

"Alex Montgomery is a returning all-ACC player. The last game of the ACC tournament she tore her ACL and has been rehabbing all summer. She's back. Without here we went into the NCAA tournament and beat Iowa at Iowa without our leading scorer and rebounder. That was just a tremendous confidence booster for our team."

"This summer we took a foreign trip to Africa and Paris We were gone for twelve days. Our players had a special opportunity to grow and build chemistry and come together. Obviously with Alex back and a top twenty recruiting class coming in and virtually every player returning from last year we're excited about what the future is for Georgia Tech women's basketball."

The team is counting on the freshmen to make an impact with this year's team. Sharena Taylor is a point guard from Pontiac, Michigan. Coach Joseph is counting on her to be an impact player at the point position. Sharena is expected to get quality minutes early as a backup to sophomore Metra Walthour. Jasmine Blain is a shooting guard from North Cobb High School in Atlanta. She gives Tech another shooter on the perimeter and has been impressive in early workouts. Jasmine will get some of the minutes with Alex being out until early December. Danny Hamilton-Carter is a tremendous talent. If everything works out with her, she'll be a huge asset to the program. Shayla Bivins from Jacksonville will add depth inside.

The Jackets open the season in the Preseason NIT and are very excited about the opportunity. With only three upperclassmen playing in the tournament the younger players will get a lot of valuable experience. They open with Winthrop at home on November 13th. If they advance they'll go to Oklahoma State. It will be an opportunity to play in front of six or seven thousand fans. That experience early in the season will give them something to build off of and getting ready for the ACC and NCAA tournament.

The Jackets leading scored and rebounder, Alex Montgomery, is very satisfied with the way her rehab has gone. Overwhelmed is the word she used to describe how it's been. She's proud that the team did what they did in the NCAA tournament and feels when she comes back the team will be even stronger. For a while, she wasn't sure she'd make it back to where she is now. She's progressed to the point where you wouldn't notice that she'd been injured if you saw her practice. She'll be held out until December as a precautionary measure.

Deja Foster and Sasha Goodlett are two of the most improved players on the team and two to watch this year along with Alex. Deja is the hardest worker on the team and that has helped her to get better. Deja will be the key to the team's defense and they're excited about the progress she's made. Sasha has gained the confidence to improve after playing against the Paris twins from Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament. She had success against two of the best post players in the country leading to the confidence she now shows on the court. The sky's the limit for her as her conditioning improves.

Going into the ACC schedule, North Carolina and Duke will be the opponents that the Lady Jackets will face. Arguably North Carolina has the most talent in the league. They return most of their players and bring in a top five recruiting class. Duke has a lot of talent returning and a top ten recruiting class. Look for the Lady Jackets to contend to be a top three program in the ACC.

The next step for the Lady Jacket program is to get past the opening round of the NCAA tournament and get into the sweet sixteen. This will build momentum and get some excitement in the program. They're looking to get national attention and exposure. Trying to take that next step is the goal of all the players and staff. Advancing to the sweet sixteen and beyond will take care of that momentum. Top Stories