Feb. 26, 2010

ATLANTA (AP) -A career night by Alex Montgomery helped No. 22 Georgia Tech take another step toward a historic season.

Montgomery had 20 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and Brigitte Ardossi added 18 points in No. 22 Georgia Tech's 64-57 victory over struggling North Carolina on Friday night.

The Yellow Jackets (22-7, 8-5 ACC) had lost 15 of their last 16 to the Tar Heels (17-10, 5-8), including 89-78 earlier this season in Chapel Hill. In that game, Tech hit on only four of 20 3s and had 22 turnovers.

The win was Tech's 22nd, a regular-season best, and the victory clinched a first-round bye in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament that begins next week.

"That's been our goal, trying to make history. It's a unique situation for this program," Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. "They worked hard."

The Yellow Jackets outrebounded the Tar Heels 48-32 and hit 27 of 33 free throws while North Carolina made only 12 of 18.

"It really came down to rebounding. It was the difference in the game," said North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, who then looked at the final stat sheet and a bit surprised, noted: "The difference in foul shooting was pretty dramatic, too.

"You take Alex off the team and it makes a difference," Hatchell said. "She's a heck of a player."

Ceter DeGraffenreid had 25 points for North Carolina, which has lost seven of eight.

Sasha Goodlett gave Tech the lead for good at 56-55 with 1:36 left when she made one of two free throws.

A 3-point basket by DeGraffenreid with 28.2 seconds left got the Tar Heels to 59-57, but Tech made five of six free throws the rest of the way - two each by Metra Walthour and Montgomery and one by Deja Foster, who added 11 points.

Foster had two key offensive rebounds she turned into baskets - one with 3:04 left to give Tech a 53-52 lead and another with 2:06 remaining to tie it at 55.

Ardossi scored 12 of her points in the second half and was 10 for 10 at the free throw line.

Tech won despite 23 turnovers. North Carolina had 21.

North Carolina has been ranked as high as No. 4 and won at least 28 games in the previous five seasons, including four straight ACC tournament titles and two Final Fours.

"I still think this team can play well in the ACC tournament. If we get the rebounding situation figured out we can do pretty well," said Hatchell.