IOWA CITY, Iowa — Georgia Tech’s quickness and athleticism was more than enough to overcome Iowa’s home-court advantage.
Jacqua Williams scored 23 points and 6-foot-5 freshman Sasha Goodlett came up big in her NCAA tournament debut with 16 points and 13 rebounds, leading Georgia Tech to a 76-62 first-round victory over Iowa on Sunday night.
The ninth-seeded Yellow Jackets (22-9) harassed the Hawkeyes with their all-out defensive pressure, consistently beat them to rebounds and moved on to a second-round game Tuesday night against top-seeded Oklahoma, a 76-47 winner over Prairie View.
Leading 36-35 early in the second half, Tech hit the Hawkeyes with a 14-2 run and was in control the rest of the way.
Kachine Alexander’s 17 points and 10 rebounds led Iowa (21-11), which lost in the first round for the fourth straight time.
The Yellow Jackets advanced despite playing without leading scorer and rebounder Alex Montgomery, who was left at home with a knee injury. However, she might be available if Tech makes it to the Oklahoma City Regional next weekend.
Tech was pretty good even without her, outrebounding Iowa 43-30 and forcing 17 turnovers, which led to 21 points. The Yellow Jackets also got numerous close-in shots by forcing turnovers for breakaways, beating the Hawkeyes off the dribble and crashing the boards for offensive rebounds.
That led to a huge edge for Tech in points in the paint (46-12) and second-chance points (18-3). Goodlett was a huge factor in those numbers. She came in averaging 5.9 points, but used her size to muscle inside for rebounds, putbacks and layups.
Iasia Hemingway also scored 16 points for Tech and Brigitte Ardossi added 11.
Tech’s defense forced Iowa to the perimeter and the Hawkeyes, who led the Big Ten in 3-point field percentage, couldn’t get enough of their long shots to go down to counter the Yellow Jackets’ inside scoring.
Iowa, losing at home for only the second time this season, was 6-for-15 from 3-point range and shot 42.6 percent overall.
Williams capped Tech’s game-breaking run with a steal and layup that made it 50-37 with 15:32 left. Just before that, Hemingway scored on a spinning drive, much to the delight of the tiny but hardy Tech gathering in the crowd of 5,615.
When Williams made a falling down 3-pointer a couple of minutes later, Tech led 55-42 and the super-quick Williams, a two-time qualifier at the NCAA track meet in the 200 meters, celebrating by pumping her arms.
Hemingway’s jumper made it 57-42 and prompted a fist pump from Williams. The Hawkeyes were never a threat after that as Tech led by double digits the rest of the way.
This was the second straight year Georgia Tech played in the NCAA tournament in Iowa and the Yellow Jackets got a far better result this time. They lost to Iowa State 58-55 in the first round in Des Moines last year.
Iowa led 12-8 early, hitting five of its first seven shots, but Tech put together a 17-2 run in which six different players scored to go up 25-14. The Yellow Jackets never gave up the lead after that.
Kamille Wahlin added 14 points for Iowa and Wendy Ausdemore scored 12.