Accolades pour in for Tyaunna Marshall

Georgia Tech senior guard Tyaunna “Ty” Marshall knew something was afoot when she woke up Monday morning.

“I had a text from my mom and a call from Coach [MaChelle Joseph],” Marshall said, adding with a laugh. “My first thought was, ‘Uh-oh’ and I tried to think if I’d done anything. But I knew I didn’t do anything.”

Actually, she did do something … something quite significant. The text from her mom and call from her coach was to let her know she had been named ESPNW Player of the Week, previously reported by Charlie Creme.

“It means a lot to be recognized,” said Marshall, who averaged 26.3 ppg (79 points), on 50 percent shooting (31-for-62), 76.2 percent from the line (16-for-21), 1-4 from three, with 8.7 rebounds (26), 3.0 assists (9), 4.0 steals (12) and 1.0 blocks (3) in leading the Yellow Jackets to three straight wins for the first time this season in ACC play. “I play for my team and to win games and to be recognized for the hard work that I’ve put in it means a lot. It was just a great feeling.”

It’s a feeling unprecedented for the Jackets’ program.

“We’ve never had a player named National Player of the Week,” said Joseph. “Ty Marshall deserves to be named an All-American at the end of the season. That award goes a long way, putting her out front nationally. I think the teams and coaches in the ACC know what kind of a player Ty Marshall is. Nationally, she’s one of the best-kept secrets in the country because she doesn’t get a lot of recognition for what she does.”

Marshall could become the nation’s worst-kept secret — ESPNW has started that ball rolling — over the next two Sundays, as she will be front and center when Georgia Tech takes on No. 2/2 Notre Dame, then hosts No. 9/9 Maryland. The latter, the final regular-season meeting between the Terrapins and Marshall, an Upper Marlboro, Md., native, can be seen on ESPNU.

Ty bid a fond adieu (the ACC Tournament notwithstanding) to No. 13/11 North Carolina last Thursday, scoring a season-high 32 points, including the deciding points, in Tech’s 94-91 upset of the Tar Heels.

The 32nd point gave her 1,996 for her career, making her Georgia Tech’s all-time leading scorer and breaking Kisha Ford’s record, set from 1994-97. Breaking a record that had stood since she was starting grade school was mind-blowing for the modest and even-keeled Marshall.

“I never thought about it like that but that is weird,” she said, with a laugh. “I was only five years old when it was first set, that’s unbelievable. I’m just honored. I couldn’t have done it without the great support around me that helped me and kept me focusing.”

Following the UNC game, she was again laser-like in her focus, scoring a team-high 24, while leading Tech in rebounding, assists and steals (a career-high seven) in a dramatic 89-87 road victory at Miami.

The ESPNW award is the latest in Marshall’s grand finish to her superb career. Nothing she does surprises Joseph, a former three-time All-Big Ten guard (including the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1992), who graduated as the conference’s leading scorer and is still the only player in the top 10 in scoring and assists.

She believes that much of what Marshall has accomplished — she’s one of five players in school history with 1,500 points and 600 rebounds — has gotten lost with Georgia Tech working its way back up into the top half of the ACC, a place they held during Marshall’s first two seasons, when Tech was on the tail end of a school-record six straight 20-win seasons. That streak ended last year.

Marshall is leading the ACC in scoring in conference play (23.0 ppg — her 19.8 overall rank second), is fourth in steals (2.1 spg — her 2.5 overall also are second), and is tied for 10th in rebounding (7.7 rpg, — her 7.6 in ACC play put her 12th). She also is third in offensive rebounding (3.8 ORPG — her 3.7 overall put her fourth), and has been her usual “Iron Lady,” playing 36.9 minutes (tied for second in the ACC — her 32.2 mpg overall are 10th) since missing the season-opener with an injury.

What has impressed Joseph about Marshall is what convinced her to recruit Marshall in the first place: Her defense.

“When I recruited Ty I recruited her more as a defensive player,” Joseph recalled. “Last year she finally got on the All-Defensive Team in the ACC but I still think everyone underestimates the value of what she does on the defensive end. For a 5-9 guard to rebound the ball the way she does, play both ends of the floor, I’ve never seen a kid play at both ends of the floor at the highest level like Ty Marshall does.”

Marshall also has come on as a leader, taking freshman sensation Kaela Davis under her wing. “This year Ty’s done more than just lead by example,” Joseph said. “She’s been a vocal leader. She’s taken over games in critical situations time and time again. She’s saying the right things in the locker room and behind the scenes and in the huddles. This year, Kaela coming on board, has really helped Ty get back to being Ty and not having to carry the load entirely. She has someone to help lessen the burden on her.”

Marshall isn’t concerned that Davis could eventually eclipse her recently attained career-scoring record. But she is going to make Davis earn it.

“Kaela is a great scorer and a great kid,” Marshall said, adding with a laugh, “But, yeah, I’m sure Kaela is after me, so I’m trying to make it hard for her.”

Davis’ passing Marshall will mean going over the 2,000-point mark, something Marshall will likely have done Friday against Virginia — she entered the game with 1,980 points — or Sunday at Notre Dame.

“It means a lot,” said Marshall, who would be the 23rd player in ACC history to reach that milestone. “Getting 2,000 points hasn’t been done a lot in ACC history. So it means a lot. To be alongside my teammates means so much to do it with them.”