March 2, 2008
Hokies become post-season eligible with 61-56 win over Wake
By Matt Kovatch
Wake Forest (15-14, 2-12) 312556
Virginia Tech (15-14, 2-12) 421961
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,613
  • High Points: 27 - Brittany Cook
  • High Rebounds: 9 - Brittany Cook

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech women's basketball team ended a regular season of ups and downs on high note Sunday afternoon, notching a 61-56 win over Wake Forest in the ACC season finale for both teams.

Though it was just the second win for Tech (15-14, 2-12 ACC) this year in conference play, the victory assured the Hokies of at least a .500 overall winning percentage regardless of what happens in the upcoming ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., thus making them eligible for postseason play. The win was Tech's 300th in the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum, and it avenged the Hokies' 67-50 setback in Winston-Salem on Feb. 7th.

"I can't begin to tell you how excited we are with this victory," Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said. "I talked to our team captains (Brittany Cook and Amber Hall) about the importance of this game and the importance of having our team ready for this game, and they did an excellent job. I thought we were ready from the start to the finish. The first half may have been a little prettier than the second, but still, winning ball games is all about finding a way, and that's what out team did today.

The importance of the game decided the two teams' seeding in Thursday's conference tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. If the Hokies had lost, they would've been locked in at the No. 12 seed, but the win puts them in a three-way tie with the Demon Deacons (15-14, 2-12 ACC) and Miami (9-20, 2-12 ACC). Since both the Deacs and the Hokies beat Miami in their only match-ups, the Hurricanes are now the No. 12 seed, while Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, having split their season series, must now await a coin flip from the ACC office later today to find out the winner of 10th place.

Brittany Cook poured in 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead Tech in this one, and she also grabbed nine rebounds. Amber Hall chipped in 10 points - all in the first half - on 5-of-9 from the floor to be the only other Hokie above 50 percent, as the team shot 40 percent in the game.

Tech built a 42-31 halftime lead after hitting 58.1 percent in the first half, which was keyed by an 11-0 run that began at 8:56 on a Cook 3-pointer with the Hokies up by just two, 27-25. Eleanor Brentnall added a pair of layups before Cook hit another jumper and Shani Grey converted a layup, and suddenly Tech had its largest lead of 13 points with 5:46 remaining in the period.

Things cooled off considerably for Tech in the second half, though, as the Hokies made only six of 29 attempts for 20.7 percent. Luckily on Tech's behalf, Wake only hit 28.1 percent of its own, and turned the ball over 10 times to the Hokies' five in the final stanza.

Tech started 0-of-11 out of the locker room as the Deacs crept to within four at 43-39, but Cook sparked an 8-0 run by with two free throws, a steal and two layups, and the Hokies held on in the waning minutes for the triumph.

"As soon at Coach said we wouldn't get any postseason if we didn't win this game, all I thought was, 'We're gonna win the game - there's no question to it,'" Cook said. "I didn't want Wake Forest to come in here and cut our season short, so I just did everything I could to help this team win tonight."

Brittany Waters paced Wake Forest with 15 points, while Corinne Groves tallied a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Mekia Valentine added eight points and 11 rebounds.

For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).

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