Alex Montgomery, Georgia Tech send North Carolina to third straight loss

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Alex Montgomery scored 15 of her 22 points in the first half and Georgia Tech beat North Carolina 64-57 on Thursday night, handing the reeling Tar Heels (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) their third consecutive loss.

Sasha Goodlett scored all 13 of her points in the second half, including a putback with 6:45 left that gave the Yellow Jackets a 51-44 lead.

Georgia Tech (21-8, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) remained in fourth in the conference standings with one regular-season game left. The top four teams earn first-round byes in the ACC tournament.

"I'm very proud of my team," coach MaChelle Joseph said. "Anytime you go on road in the ACC, never mind on the road against a historic program like UNC, you know it's going to be a battle. The ACC is the best in women's basketball, in my opinion, right now."

Italee Lucas and Chay Shegog had 13 points apiece for North Carolina (22-6, 8-5), which committed 22 turnovers.

"It was a must-win game for us," coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "We don't know where we're going to end up. We know we'll be playing the first day of the ACC tournament. ... To say I'm disappointed is an understatement."

The Tar Heels were playing without key sophomore guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who sat out with a stomach illness. They turned the ball over 14 times in the first half against a Georgia Tech defense that pressed the ball in several ways.

"We have to regroup," Shegog said. "I am more confident [we can regroup] than I've been in past seasons. The majority of this team has been through this before."