Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph suspects her team doesn’t have a clear idea of what kind of player she was.
“It’s just something that’s so long ago,” Joseph said. “They know I went to Purdue.”
Tech plays Purdue Wednesday night in West Lafayette, Ind., as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“I guess they’ll know when they see my jersey hanging in the arena,” Joseph said. “They’ll figure it out.”
Joseph’s tone was more bemused than boastful. Anyone who finishes her career as the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer, men’s or women’s, doesn’t need to brag. Joseph has been back to Mackey Arena as an assistant coach with Tech, but played Virginia Tech in an NCAA tournament game. She faced the Boilermakers as a head coach in the NCAA tournament in Minneapolis. Wednesday will be the first time she has brought her own team to Mackey to face Purdue.
“I have so many great memories of Purdue, there’s no doubt,” Joseph said. “It was a very special time in my life being there and helping build the program and being a part of some really special moments in Purdue history.”
Joseph’s entire family will be at the game. The Joseph cheering section will be about 50 to 60, she said.
“It’s an exciting atmosphere to play in,” she said. “I was just excited for my players getting to play in those types of environments. It only helps you for postseason play.”
Tech began the season ranked in the top 25 but has fallen out with a 3-2 record. Purdue is No. 14 in the AP poll at 5-1, its lone loss to No. 2 Connecticut.
2. Joseph called the Nov. 14 signing of Kaela Davis of Buford High “one of the most defining moments in the history of our program.” Davis, a guard, is ranked the No. 2 prospect in the senior class by ESPN. She is the highest recruit that Tech has ever signed. Joseph, who has steadily built the Yellow Jackets into a perennial NCAA team that last year played for the ACC championship and reached the Sweet 16, believes that such a signing can lift Tech into Final Four contention.
“She’s a program changer,” Joseph said. “It’ll change Georgia Tech women’s basketball forever. It gives us an opportunity to go out and recruit higher-level players because of her choosing to come.”
Joseph said that the 6-foot-2 Davis can play all positions except for center. She envisions her as a “point forward.”
Joseph is continuing to recruit the 2013 class. A center and a point guard are on her shopping list for the next couple years.
3. Guard Dawnn Maye is leading the team in scoring at 18.0 points per game after averaging 6.5 last season in her first season as a starter. Maye, a junior, has led Tech in the past three games with 23, 26 and 17 points against Marquette, Syracuse and UW-Milwaukee, respectively.
“She’s grown into the role and now she’s taking on a huge responsibility of not only running our team but scoring for us at the point position,” Joseph said.
Freshman Brittany Jackson has made the biggest impact thus far of the six-player freshman class, averaging 20.6 minutes per game, 9.6 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game. She started her first game against UW-Milwaukee in the team’s most recent game, a 66-57 win.
“She’s just been fearless on both ends of the floor,” Joseph said. “She came (to Tech) with her body ready to play and compete at this level. She’s made a huge impact.”
4. Joseph said that Je Zhe Newton, a freshman who left the team and school prior to the season, may be finished playing basketball. Newton, from Arizona, was a late commit and signee for Tech as the No. 67 recruit in the country. She came to Tech with an ACL tear that hadn’t been properly rehabilitated, Joseph said, and was going to redshirt this season. She hadn’t played since her junior season.
“She was trying, but she was so far behind because of her injury,” Joseph said.
Joseph said that Newton talked about possibly attending a community college in Arizona.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog