January 16, 2009
Hokies scare fourth-ranked Duke before falling 57-52
By Matt Kovatch - Inside Hokie Sports
12F
(4) Duke (15-1, 3-0 ACC) 312657
Virginia Tech (8-8, 0-3 ACC) 262652
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,409
  • High Points: 16 - Nikki Davis
  • High Rebounds: 8 - Utahya Drye

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Despite forcing No. 4/10 Duke into 28 turnovers and hanging around until the very end, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team dropped a tight 57-52 decision to the Blue Devils in ACC action on Friday night at Cassell Coliseum.

“I thought it was an excellent effort by our team,” Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said. “It was definitely one of our best defensive efforts. To have the No. 4 team at home and force them into 28 turnovers, that speaks miles for the defense. We knew we had to throw a lot of different things at them and keep them off balance.”

“That is the best I’ve ever seen Virginia Tech play,” Duke head coach Joanne McCallie added. “I’ve watched a lot of film on them, and I thought they did some outstanding things.”

The Hokies (8-8, 0-3 ACC) had the Blue Devils (15-1, 3-0 ACC) within their grasp, 53-50, after Nikki Davis hit a 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining. The trey capped an 18-5 run by the Hokies, which was crucial following a 23-4 Duke run that spanned halftime and had Duke up by 16 with just over nine minutes to play.

“I was really excited, but ready to turn around and play defense because the game wasn’t over by any means,” Davis said of her big shot. “It picked the team up and the crowd helped out with that. I was just ready to get a stop defensively and finish the game out strong.”

The Hokies did get that stop on the other end of the court, forcing Duke’s Jasmine Thomas into an errant 3-pointer with 31 ticks left as the shot clock wound down. However, 6-foot-5 Chante Black, who paced the Blue Devils with 13 points, grabbed one of her game-high 14 rebounds keep the ball in Duke’s possession.

Tech was forced to foul to stop the clock at that point, and Karima Christmas sank two big free throws with 22.7 seconds remaining to push Duke’s advantage to 55-50. But Lindsay Biggs quickly answered for the Hokies, hitting the final two of her 14 points on a jumper with 13 seconds left.

Christmas was fouled again with 11 ticks on the clock, but missed the front end of the bonus to give Tech one last chance. Biggs got a good look from deep with two seconds remaining, but it was off the mark and Black set the final score with a pair of charity tosses with 0.3 seconds left.

The Hokies tied a season high with 14 steals in this one, four which came from Utahya Drye, who also had a team-high eight rebounds. Davis set a Tech personal best with 16 points, a mark that equaled her highest total from her freshman season at Alabama, and grabbed a career-high seven rebounds. Brittany Gordon tallied eight points and seven boards in a respectable performance against Black, an All-ACC second team member a year ago.

Things don’t get much easier for the Hokies, who will next travel to No. 12/16 Maryland for a 4 p.m. contest on Sunday.

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

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