Georgia Tech holds off Wake Forest, 45-40, faces Notre Dame

Associated Press
Mar 3, 2022; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Eylia Love (24) shoots over Wake Forest Demon Deacons forward Malaya Cowles (5) during the fourth quarter at Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Digna Strautmane blocked her fourth shot of the game on a 3-point attempt from the corner with 15 seconds left to help preserve No. 25 Georgia Tech's 45-40 win over Wake Forest Thursday to advance to the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals, where the Yellow Jackets will face No. 3 seed Notre Dame in Friday night's second quarterfinal game.

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Georgia Tech lost two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year Lorela Cubaj in the first quarter after she took a hard fall and suffered a lacerated chin.

Neither team shot well and no player reached double-figure scoring in two quarters. Georgia Tech led 16-6 after one quarter, but was up 20-13 at intermission.

Wake Forest hit just 14 of 64 from the field (21.9%), yet the Demon Deacons trailed by just three with 37 seconds to go after Elise Williams hit a free throw to make it 43-40. Georgia Tech shot 17 of 46 from the field (37%), including 4 of 17 from beyond the arc and was just 7 of 18 from the free-throw line, which allowed Wake Forest to hang on late.

Jewel Spear hit two free throws with 1:28 left to pull the Deacons within a point, 40-39, but Lotta-Maj Lahtinen stepped up and knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to push the lead back to four points, and Stautmane added a free throw to make it a two-possession game. In all, Georgia Tech missed 6 of 7 free-throw attempts in the final 90 seconds before Lahtinen hit the second of two with four seconds left to set the final score.

Spear finished with 11 points to lead Wake Forest (15-16, 4-14), the lone scorer to reach double digits.

Eylia Love led Georgia Tech (21-9, 11-7) with 16 points. Lahtinen finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Stautmane added eight points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Today's quarterfinals are No.5 seed Virginia Tech (22-8, 13-5) vs. No. 4 seed North Carolina (23-5, 13-5) at 11 a.m., followed by No. 9 seed Florida State (17-12, 10-8) vs. top seed North Carolina State (26-3, 17-1). The evening games will be No. 7 seed Miami (18-11, 10-8) vs. No. 2 Louisville (25-3, 16-2) at 6 p.m., followed by Notre Dame (21-7, 13-5) vs. Georgia Tech.

Today's afternoon winners will play Saturday at noon, followed by evening winners.