December 3, 2009
Michigan tops Tech in Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Hokies shoot under 28 percent in 71-51 loss
12F
Michigan (5-2) 333871
Virginia Tech (4-3) 222951
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,466
  • High Points: 11 - Nikki Davis
  • High Rebounds: 9 - Utahya Drye

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Michigan shot 50.9 percent from the field, while holding Virginia Tech to a rate of 27.9 percent, to cruise to a 71-51 victory on Thursday night at Cassell Coliseum and increase its conference’s win total in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Four players scored in the double figures for the Wolverines, who improved to 5-2 in the midst of an eight-game road swing. Meanwhile, the Hokies put up season lows in both points and field-goal percentage and saw their record drop to 4-3. Tech is now 1-2 throughout the first three years of the inter-conference challenge.

“I feel like Michigan took us out of our offense,” said Tech senior captain Utahya Drye, who was just shy of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. “They were overplaying the wings, so half the time, we really didn’t run an offense. We need to stay composed when things like that happen, set better screens and do all the things that don’t show up in the stats.”

Michigan used massive runs at the start of each half to build leads that Tech could never come back from. Though the Hokies out-rebounded the much larger Wolverines 45-32 (including a 21-6 edge on the offensive end), they struggled on both ends of the court all night long.

“I don’t think our defense created our offense tonight,” Drye said. “We need to pick that up because we need to get more points in transition. We can get offensive rebounds, but if they’re running on us and we’re not running on them, that’s going to get outweighed.”

“We can’t let our inability to knock down shots deter our defensive effort,” Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said.

Michigan’s suffocating defense, paired with five 3-pointers by five different players, helped the Wolverines to a commanding 24-6 advantage 12-and-a-half minutes into the game. The Hokies were able to out-score Michigan 16-9 over the half’s final eight minutes to pull within 11, 33-22, but an identical 24-6 run to open the second stanza made it all for naught.

The Hokies endured a field-goal drought of 4:47 as Michigan built a 29-point lead midway through the second period. Though Tech managed 20 points over the game’s final 10 minutes, the damage was done and the Hokies suffered their worst defeat of the young season.

“We didn’t play like we can play,” Drye said. “This was our first test, pretty much. Going into ACC play, we know we have to get better and do the little things. It’s frustrating because we hate losing and we know we’re so much better than we showed out there on the court. But we’re going to take this, break the film down, see what we need to work on and get it done, because when ACC play comes around, if we come out like we did tonight, it’s going to be an ugly season.”

“The good news is that it’s still early December and we can get better from this,” Dunkenberger added. “That’s the type of competition we’ll face in ACC play, and certainly, our intensity level needs to rise before that begins.”

Redshirt junior guard Nikki Davis led the Hokies with 11 points, while senior Lindsay Biggs had an off night with just six points on 2-of-14 shooting.

Veronica Hicks paced the Wolverines with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, while adding six assists. Dayeesha Hollins scored 16 points and dished out a game-high eight assists, and also tallied four steals. Six-foot-six Krista Phillips blocked five shots to go with 12 points and eight boards, while Carmen Reynolds chipped in with 10 points.

Tech will return to action on Sunday with a home game against North Carolina Central. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m., and the game will be followed by the men’s team’s 3:30 p.m., contest against Georgia.

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

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