Did injury cost Tech chance at history?

Say you’re a college basketball player. You play in a bigtime conference, maybe the nation’s best, and you’re the leading scorer and rebounder on your team.

You go through months of workouts, practices, 29 regular-season games. Your team wins 21 of those, guaranteeing a trip to the NCAA Tournament. With two minutes left in the conference tournament opener, a 12-point loss, you collide with an opposing player. The pain in your right knee is like nothing you’ve ever felt before.

That’s what happened to Alex Montgomery, Tech’s 6-1 sophomore.

When the Jackets lost 69-50 to top-seeded Oklahoma in the NCAA’s second round Tuesday night, Montgomery wasn’t in Iowa with the team. She watched on ESPN2 from her dorm room.

It made sense for Montgomery to stay behind. She has a dislocated kneecap, and is still on crutches. But it didn’t make it easier.

When Tech closed the first half on a 21-11 run, Montgomery started crying.

“I just wanted to be out there and I couldn’t,” she said in a phone interview just after the game ended. “We’re known for coming back and I just wanted to be a part of that. We tied the score up 29-29 and the second half is our time. I was like, ‘Man, I wish I could be a part of that.’ It was just a few tears. I don’t really cry like that.”

As Oklahoma took control, Montgomery found herself talking to the TV.

“I was just telling them, ‘Don’t give up, keep fighting hard, don’t worry about the score.’”

Montgomery watched Tech’s first-round win over Iowa — on Iowa’s home floor — with friends, and of course got a call from the lockerroom immediately afterward. “I was so proud of them I was speechless,” she said.

She watched the Oklahoma game by herself so she could break it down more. She also knew what was at stake: Tech’s women were trying to make the Sweet 16 for the first time.

Would Tech have made history with Montgomery? Hard to say. The announcers kept talking about how much she was missed. “We’ll never know,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery averaged 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. She’s also the team’s hardest worker, a true gym rat.

Montgomery hit 72 three-pointers this season, or 59 percent of Tech’s total. Without Montgomery slashing and spreading the floor Tuesday, Tech shot a horrific 27 percent.

When the injury occurred, Montgomery’s first thought was “Lord, don’t let this be a serious injury.”

Now she’s focused on rehabbing (she doesn’t need surgery), and helping Tech make a fourth straight NCAA appearance. The Jackets lose one senior starter, point guard Jacqua Williams, from this 22-10 team.

“We have a great class coming in and our team works so hard,” Montgomery said, adding that the biggest challenge will be replacing Wiliams’ leadership.

Montgomery plans to be back on the court in a month or so.

“I can’t wait.”

16 comments Add your comment

dawes

March 25th, 2009
5:24 am

no they did.nt have a pray

Carolina Jacket

March 25th, 2009
7:27 am

We’ll never know — but great season Lady Jackets.

I’ll tell you one injury that changed history — Dion Glover. Glover was to be the go to guy until he had a season ending injury in the midnight start of the year game, and he never played again for Tech. That started Bobby’s slide. Had Glover played that year and Tech won more games, who knows, Bobby might still be with us.

BobinBuford

March 25th, 2009
8:07 am

Congratulations to Coach Joseph and the Lady Jackets on a great season – they even won one more game in the tournament than the supposed women’s basketball powerhouse in Georgia, UGA. I hope that CPH is watching the progression of this team – maybe CMJ can go aver to AMC and give him a few tips on how to coach a basketball team.

Larry: How about an update on the women’s team recruiting and how they stack up for next year?

ggodsey

March 25th, 2009
8:32 am

Bob, please tell me you are kidding. Womens basketball??

RAMBLE ON!!!

March 25th, 2009
8:38 am

Congratulations ladies, great year. It’s only a matter of time before Coach Joseph gets some Championships.

ggodsey

March 25th, 2009
10:09 am

I mean seriously! Women’s basketball?? Can we get some DAWG talk in here? Y’all know you’re going down next year to Joe Cox and the Dawgs…right? Just deal with it folks! 45-42 = fluke!

JacketsRuleDogsDrool

March 25th, 2009
11:12 am

ggodsey…….go away. Better yet, get back to work. It is, after all, time for the lunch crowd at the Waffle House.

Lady Jackets…congrats on a great season. You played a great first half against the Sooners. With Alex in the game, I believe you couldn’ve upset Oklahoma. Regardless, this program is headed in the same direction of the football program. Keep up the hard work and the championships will come. It is fun being better than Georgia in so many areas. THWG!!

Tech Wrecked....AGAIN

March 25th, 2009
11:40 am

WOW!!!! Had no idea they were that good!!

SURELY THEY WILL GET A RING!!!

BLAZER

March 25th, 2009
11:41 am

GREAT SEASON AND CONGRATS!
DO UGA PEOPLE THINK THEY ONLY HAVE FOOTBALL THERE-OOPS FORGOT

THEY DON’T KNOW THEY HAVE OTHER TEAMS. ARE THEY REAL FANS OF THE COLLEGE OR NOT?

BLAZER

March 25th, 2009
11:42 am

OOPS–A FLUKE IS BETTER THAN LOSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

49-10 WAS THAT A FLUKE???

UGAIsSoLastYear

March 25th, 2009
12:01 pm

Well they did lose by 20. And they have only made one round. Not much to write home about. I remember after we beat UNC, the great GT coach said we have to now go to Duke and do the same so we can be called a ‘great’ team as opposed to a ‘good’ team. IE. win 2 games back-to-back against very good opponents. We went to Duke and lost by 30! At the NCAA we won one game against a good tema then lost the next. Summary; GT is a good team. The loss in the 1st round of the ACC to Clemson defines the season, to me. Here’s hoping one day they will become a GREAT team.

Born2Buzz

March 25th, 2009
12:36 pm

Good season for the Lady Jackets. Hope they continue to improve so that next year is a great season.

ggodsey, that sure is an intersting screen name you picked, since George Godsey had two years of kicking your tail. Slowest QB GT may have ever put on the field and he’s still running free into the endzone.

The stupidity of UGA fans never ceases to amaze.

Tech Wrecked....AGAIN

March 25th, 2009
2:36 pm

UGA beat LSU and LSU beat TECH. THEREFOR WE BEAT TECH!!! Deal with it NERDS! UGA is the best team in the country. Joe Cox will take y’alls dumb rings and shove them where the sun don’t shine. Joe Cox is a champion. All Tech players are losers. GO DAWGS! Go clean your rings nerds. Every yard of that 45-42 game was a fluke. It was all luck. It’s bothered me every day we lost to you losers. It’s bothered me enough to troll your boards and talk trash under different screen names. And you know what….it’s kind of theraputic ripping on u losers day in and day out….

Too Easy

March 25th, 2009
2:53 pm

Lose by 19 to a top seed, and one player would’ve made a difference? Don’t think so.

razerGT

March 26th, 2009
3:40 pm

ggodsey’s comment asking for more dawg talk on a Tech blog is hilarious. Can you not read? It boggles the mind how georgia fans continue to go out of their way to talk trash here.

GTMan

March 27th, 2009
5:59 am

Joe Cox is so great he got to sit on the bench for his entire career, I’m sure he will be awesome! Opps, I just heard that he is going to have to go in for major surgery to have 10,000 pine splinters removed from his butt. LOL!!! 45-42– live with it you red necks!!!