ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech's season opener was a much-needed confidence builder for sophomore Mo Bennett.
Friday night, Bennett notched career highs in points (21), rebounds (seven) and steals (eight) as Georgia Tech (NR ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) beat Winthrop 63-30 in the opener of the women's preseason NIT.
"I missed my first shot, but they kept telling me to keep going," said Bennett, who scored 19 points against Connecticut in only her second college game last season but then only reached double figures once more. "Once you see a couple of balls go through the net, you feel like you can make anything."
Bennett made 9-of-15 shots from the floor, including two 3-pointers.
Shelly Hankins scored nine points to lead Winthrop, which turned the ball over 27 times in the opener for both teams.
Playing without Alex Montgomery, who is recovering from ACL surgery after leading the team in scoring and rebounds last season, the Yellow Jackets held the Eagles without a field goal in the final 11:58 before halftime for a 36-12 lead.
"We got to work on a lot of things and play a lot of our younger players," Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. "Considering we were running five or six defenses, I think we got some good things done."
LaQuananisha Adams added 10 points for Georgia Tech, which plays at Oklahoma State on Sunday in the second round.