1. In two scrimmages this preseason, Georgia Tech basketball coach MaChelle Joseph kept junior Tyaunna Marshall on the bench. It was not any sort of disciplinary measure. Quite the opposite.
Joseph was concerned that Marshall, the versatile Yellow Jackets star, would burn herself out. It’s been the same in Tech’s practices, which lead up to its season opener against Tennessee at the new McCamish Pavilion Sunday.
“Last week during practice, I had to stop a drill because she goes so hard all the time,” Joseph said.
Marshall’s work rate is such that she has worn herself out by the end of the regular season “because she never takes a play off,” Joseph said. “I don’t mean in games. I mean in practice.”
Tech has the benefit of having its best player possess a voracious appetite for work. Last season, Marshall was second on the team in scoring and rebounding and third in assists. She was named second-team All-ACC by coaches and was a first-team all-tournament choice as she led Tech to its second-ever ACC championship game.
She was named preseason All-ACC. Tech was picked to finish third behind Duke and Maryland, the highest it’s been predicted to finish in team history. Having lost five seniors who led the Jackets to their first-ever Sweet 16 appearance, the leadership load falls on Marshall.
“I think right now, the biggest improvement that I’ve seen in her game is her poise,” Joseph said. “She doesn’t get rattled, she doesn’t get upset. She makes plays.”
Joseph will use the 5-foot-9 Marshall anywhere from point guard to power forward.
“She’s our nucleus,” Joseph said. “She’s the person we’re building this program around.”
2. Joseph is hoping for Tech’s first-ever home sellout Sunday against Tennessee, though it appears attendance will end up around 5,000. The largest home crowd for a game was drawn by former Connecticut star Maya Moore in Nov. 2010, 7,325 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. It’s obviously a game of no small significance for Tech, opening up McCamish and bringing in arguably the marquee team in women’s basketball.
“Ten years ago, I don’t think we could have lured (Tennessee) into committing to coming in here and playing,” Joseph said. “I think it’s a huge compliment to our program and to our players.”
The team will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX and the 60th anniversary of women at Tech. Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who retired after last season and had been expected to attend, will not be at the game.
Tennessee is ranked No. 20, two spots ahead of Tech, in the AP poll, and 16th and 20th, respectively, in the USA Today coaches poll.
“You go out and you want to bring the best teams in so your fans and the people that support your program can enjoy it (as well as) the people in the city of Atlanta,” Joseph said. “Well, here’s your opportunity to see two of the top 20 programs, the first game of the season in a brand-new arena.”
Single-game tickets for Tennessee are $10. For more information, call 1-888-832-4849 or try this link.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog