Georgia Tech Women's Basketball 1990-91 Season

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The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Women's Basketball [1] team’s 1990-91 season was one of the best seasons the team had played since the team originated. Even though, by the year 1991 the Georgia Tech Lady Jackets Women’s Basketball team had never won a game in the Atlantic Coast Conference [2] Tournament, the team had its closest attempt in its record-breaking 1991 season.[3] The team was coached by Agnus Berenato, who won his 100th game during this season.

Contents

Starting off the Season; The First Seven Games, Two Great Players

Coach Agnus

The Lady Jackets Women’s Basketball team, a team first brought to life in the Division I competition in 1979, began the 1990-91 season with a crushing victory over UNC Wilmington (101 to 79) which coach Agnus Berenato stated in a weekly issue of the Sports Information Office Press Release, “This victory has brought strong morale to the team and has lifted our spirits for this year’s season...”[3] After Tech’s first victory, the team then came off to a hot start with a perfect record of seven victories and no losses. Tech was undefeated. At the time, Tech was scoring an average of 92.4 points per game, an average of 25.5 points better than their opponents each game.[3] The two most outstanding players for the Lady Jackets were Joyce Pierce and Karen Lounsbury. Joyce Pierce, who was a six-foot tall sophomore from Norcross, Georgia, was the Lady Jacket’s top scorer. It was her first season playing for the Yellow Jackets and she was already averaging 19.5 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game. She was currently ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring and fourth in rebounding.[3] Behind Pierce, Tech’s second top scorer was Karen Lounsbury, a 5-10 player from Pleasant Valley, N.Y., who was averaging 16.7 points per game. She was a sophomore playing in her second season at Georgia Tech. She averaged 2.0 three-point baskets per game, contributing to her 46.2 percent shooting percentage outside of the three-point line. Although her long-distance shots were fairly strong, her talent remained with her free throws. Her career free throw percentage was 84.6 percent over the past two seasons she played. By this time, she ranked second in ACC history for players who have shot at least 100 or more free throws. Her record is noted among those who have shot 100 or more free throws during one season. This eliminates the first-year players who may have 100 percent shooting percentage, but have only shot a handful of times.

A Note on Tournaments

Each year in college basketball, any given team has to play several “away-games.” In basketball, it is common for away games to be held under tournament-like names. For instance, the Yellow Jackets and two other college teams may come spend a day playing at the Georgia Tech Alexander Memorial Coliseum. It is common for the home team to host the other teams in a tournament style competition, in a format accepted by the ACC. It is up to the host team to name the tournament, which could potentially be held annually. By the first seven games of the 1990-91 Lady Jacket basketball season, the team had already won three tournament titles including: the Dial Soap Classic in Minneapolis, MN, Penn’s Red and Blue Classic in Philadelphia, Pa, and Georgia Tech’s own Comfort Inn Downtown Classic.[3]


Back in the Game

Karen Lounsbury

The Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball team was regarded as having its second-longest winning streak in school history since it joined the Division I competition in 1979. Only the 1986-87 Lady Jacket squad got off to a better start, winning its first eight games, later leading to a 14-13 overall season record. The 1991 team attempted to break this eight-game winning streak record at the Furman Lady Paladin Invitational on December 20th held in Greensville, South Carolina. Unfortunately, the team came up short when it faced a double-header match-up; first against Campbell then against Furman. The team lost against Campbell (75-82) but won in a game against the tournament’s host, Furman (89-85). The Lady Jackets seemed disappointed, but in its next game against Winthrop, the Lady Jackets were back on their feet and tied the 1985-86 school record for most points scored in one game. The Lady Jackets smashed their opponent winning the game by 77 points. The final score was Tech: 124 to Winthrop: 47.[4]

A Little Later; A Much Needed Recovery

After the Winthrop game, and eleven additional games, it appeared that the Lady Jackets were going downhill. The team was riding on a five-game losing streak as it held onto a (12-9) record. Five of the team’s nine losses came from the hands of nationally-ranked opponents, including two losses against the No. 1 ranked Virginia, one against No. 2 N.C. State, and one against No. 21 Clemson.[5] However, the Lady Jackets came close to defeating the Virginia Cavaliers. “That was the best game we’ve played all year, and probably the best game since I’ve been at Georgia Tech,” said Lady Jacket head coach Agnus Berenato concerning the 94-98 loss against the Cavaliers.[5] This score was Virginia’s closest conference game of the year with the exception of its 123-120 triple-overtime game against N.C. State. The Lady Jackets currently possessed a (1-8) record in the ACC games, (11-1) in the regular season. Although the team was declining in its win/loss percentage, the Lady Jackets were still on their way to surpassing a few school records. Since Tech joined Division I competition in 1979, the highest scoring mark for average points per game was 77.7 set in the 1987-88 season. However, the 1990-91 season was averaging 87.6 points per game. The team’s leaders were still striving to hold conference standings. The team’s top scorer and rebounder, Joyce Pierce, was averaging 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. She was holding onto the third-place ranking in the ACC in scoring and fifth in rebounding. Her 35 assists and her team-leading 45 steals along with Karen Lounsbury’s 88.0 percent accuracy in free throws and Devony Caldwell’s 80.4 percent free throws, put the team in a good standing and gave it a strong chance at winning a few more games.[6] In a continuing effort, the team also strived to win its first ACC tournament game. Although the Lady Jackets had made it to the tournament, they had never continued beyond the first round nor had they ever reached more than 14 victories in any given season.

The Conclusion of the Regular Season

The Lady Jackets only had three more chances to break the school record for the most wins in one season. The 14-win record had only been met by the Lady Jackets on two occasions, first in the 1986-87 season and then in the 1988-89. This season, Tech had a (13-11) overall and (2-10) standing in the ACC. Tech’s last three games against Mercer, North Carolina, and Duke were going to be difficult. Mercer would not be too hard to beat, North Carolina was (11-13) overall and (1-10) in the ACC and could be beaten, but Tech’s final game against Duke, (14-10) overall and (4-7) in the ACC, would be the most difficult one. Since 1979, North Carolina has beaten Tech eighteen times (18-5) and Duke nineteen times (19-3).[7]But this season, the Lady Jackets came out victorious over both Mercer and North Carolina. Although, the team lost against Duke (76-89), the team still set a school record for the most victories in one season with 15 wins. The school was full of excitement when the Lady Jackets secured its 15th win when the North Carolina game ended with a twenty point spread. The final score being Tech: 83 and North Carolina: 63. This was a great season for Tech.

Conclusion

With the school-record in hand, the team had plenty of confidence for the start of the ACC tournament. The Lady Jackets team, with a record of 15-12 overall and 3-11 in the ACC, was seeded seventh in the tournament and was matched to play against the second-seeded Maryland (16-11, 9-5 ACC). Although the Lady Jackets lost this first-round game, the 1990-91 season will be remembered by Lady Jacket fans as the year Tech set a new, impressive school record.

Opponent Result Score Attendance Opponent Result Score Attendance
UNC Wilmington W 101-97 503 Maryland* L 66-68 1152
East Tenn. State W 89-62 430 Ut-Chattanooga W 98-73 457
South Florida W 98-58 375 Virginia* L 72-98 800
Minnesota W 84-69 371 Clemson* L 61-63 525
Rider W 114-72 323 Duke* L 79-93 1475
William & Mary W 78-60 225 Virginia* L 94-98 5000
Temple W 83-68 253 Maryland* L 79-93 631
Campbell L 75-82 78 Wake Forest* W 74-67 566
Furman W 89-85 105 Clemson* L 64-76 806
Winthrop W 124-47 280 N.C. State* L 74-98 1027
W. Carolina W 94-71 600 Mercer W 85-61 558
N.C. State* L 79-97 750 North Carolina* W 83-63 250
Wake Forest* L 72-85 857 Duke* L 76-89 1100
North Carolina St.* W 101-86 702

'*'represents Atlantic Coast Conference games

References

  1. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Women's Basketball. (18 September 2010) In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 21, 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Tech_Yellow_Jackets_women%27s_basketball
  2. Atlantic Coast Conference. (20 November 2010) In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved November 21, 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Coast_Conference
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Georgia Tech Sports Information (December 10, 1990)
  4. Georgia Tech Sports Information (February 25, 1991)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Georgia Tech Sports Information (February 4, 1991)
  6. Georgia Tech Sports Information (February 11, 1991)
  7. Georgia Tech Sports Information (February 18, 1991)

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