The sixth-seeded ’Hoos out-rebounded the 11th-seeded Hokies by a margin of 31-11 – including 14-3 on the offensive glass – in the first half to go up 39-21 at the intermission. Though Tech outscored
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have two second halves because we came out very flat in the first half,” Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said. “They [the Cavaliers] were just beasts on the boards and they manhandled us. We did a much better job in the second half – we actually outscored them and out-rebounded them – but unfortunately, we had dug too big of a hole and we couldn’t find our way out of it.”
That hole was an 18-point one, as the ‘Hoos scored 39 points in the opening stanza to tie for the third most by a Tech opponent in a first half this year. They scored 28 points in the paint to Tech’s four, and they tallied 17 second-chance points after grabbing more offensive boards than the Hokies did total rebounds. UVa center Aisha Mohammed tallied a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds before the halftime horn sounded.
But Tech turned things around in the second half, going on a 15-6 run to open the period to get back in the game and make it 45-34 with just over five minutes gone by.
“We talked about how we needed to turn up the heat on defense,” Dunkenberger said of the Hokies’ improvement in the second 20 minutes, during which they forced 11 UVa turnovers. “We were going to have to create some turnovers and get some offense going in transition. I thought we were able to trap them a little better, and we were the aggressor instead of being back on our heels.”
Tech twice cut the UVa lead to nine before the five-minute mark, but could never quite get over the hump. As a result, the Hokies fell to 2-5 in four years worth of ACC Tournament games.
Junior Utahya Drye was the bright spot for Tech in this one, as she tallied 21 points – a new Virginia Tech ACC Tournament single-game high, on 7-of-16 shooting to go with seven rebounds.
“I was just trying to let my shot go because I was on for a little while,” said Drye, who finished the season with a team-high average of 14.3 points per game. “Then when my shot stopped falling, that’s when I knew that I had to pick it up on defense and do the little things.”
Lindsay Biggs joined Drye in double figures with 10 points, and senior Laura Haskins, who earlier in the day was announced as the ACC’s Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, tallied nine points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in her final game as a Hokie.
Mohammed finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds for
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