Ladyjacks basketball will face Georgia Tech at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament from the Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
The Ladyjacks, who are making their 21st appearance in the tournament, received the No. 12 seed in the Hemisfair Region after winning the Southland Tournament last weekend in Katy, their first since 2006. As the No. 1 seed in the league, SFA defeated Central Arkansas 55-47 in the semifinals and outlasted rival Sam Houston State 56-45 in the final.
Senior forward Aiyana Johnson was named Tournament MVP after her performance against the Bearkats. She recorded 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Johnson joined sophomore guard Zya Nugent on the All-Tournament team.
Due to COVID-19, the tournament will be played in a bubble format where all games will be held in one geographic location. Because San Antonio is hosting the Final Four, the city and the surrounding area will have their facilities in use for the duration of the tournament.
The Yellow Jackets, who are the No. 5 seed in the Hemisfair Region, are making their 10th appearance in the tournament and their first since 2014. They recently played in the ACC Tournament where they defeated Clemson 60-57 in the quarterfinals and lost to North Carolina State 66-61 in the semifinals.
Although the Ladyjacks and Yellow Jackets have never faced each other, there is one person with ties to both universities. Georgia Tech Head Coach Nell Fortner, a native Texan and University of Texas graduate, spent time as both a graduate assistant and assistant coach at SFA from 1986-1990. During that span, the Ladyjacks made three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Fortner was named the Blue Ribbon Panel ACC Coach of the Year by the after leading the Yellow Jackets to a 15-8 record and going 12-6 in league play. The team concluded the season in third place, their highest ever finish in the conference.
Georgia Tech’s offense averages 65.8 points per game. Junior guard Lotta-Maj Lahtinen is the leading scorer for Yellow Jackets averaging 14.5 points per game. She also leads the team in steals and assists with 41 and 81, respectively. The Finland native was named All-ACC first-team by the Blue Ribbon Panel and All-ACC second-team by head coaches. She also received the Most Improved Player Award.
Senior forward Lorela Cubaj led both Georgia Tech and the ACC in rebounds averaging 11.8, ranking 11th nationally. She leads the Yellow Jackets in blocks with 29. The Italy native has also recorded 10 double-doubles this season. Cubaj was named ACC Defensive Co-Player of the Year and earned All-ACC first-team recognition by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and head coaches.