BLACKSBURG, Va. – Despite holding an 11-point lead with under eight minutes to play, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team fell to visiting Wake Forest, 58-51, on Friday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum after coming out on the wrong end of an 18-0 run.
The Hokies (12-10, 2-6 ACC) held their largest lead at the 10:19 mark of the second half after a Shanel Harrison 3-pointer capped a 20-8 run by Tech and made it 45-33. After Wake’s Tiffany Roulhac matched Harrison with a trey of her own and Tech’s Alyssa Fenyn hit a lay-up with 7:45 remaining to make it 47-36, Tech’s lead began to crumble.
“We stopped being aggressive,” senior Lindsay Biggs admitted. “They turned up their defensive intensity and we threw it away at crucial times.”
In fact, Tech threw the ball away eight times in a span of 4:17, while Wake Forest (14-8, 5-3 ACC) paired Tech’s miscues with 18 unanswered points to take a 54-47 advantage with 1:47 remaining. Wake’s Secily Ray started the run and ended it, totaling seven of her 13 points – all of which came in the second half – during the game-changing spurt.
Harrison finally hit a jumper with 53 seconds remaining to stop the bleeding, but the damage was done – Tech had endured a scoring drought of 6:52 and they were left without any timeouts.
“We should have definitely won this game,” senior Utahya Drye said. “But we let it go. They wanted it more than us. We got kind of passive when we were up by 11. We should’ve kept running through our offenses and applying pressure.”
“It’s one we had and one we should’ve won,” Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said of the loss, which mirrored the Hokies’ loss at Wake Forest on Jan. 7, when the Deacs mounted an 11-1 run in the final 4:19 to complete a come-from-behind victory. “I thought we got back on our heels and played not to lose. We just got careless with the ball and they turned up the heat defensively. Once they got a few lay-ups and got back in it, we got rattled. I think we lost our poise.”
The Hokies only turned the ball over once more than Wake did (17-16), but nearly half of the turnovers came during that four-minute stretch to compound the effect.
“They were down and they had to have the ball, so they just started ripping passing lanes,” Dunkenberger said of Wake’s defenders. “We didn’t get into an offense; we weren’t even able to make an entry pass.”
After shooting only 30 percent in the first half, the Deacs hit on 55.6 percent of their shots in the second half and wound up with three players in double figures. In addition to Ray’s 13 points, Sandra Garcia added 17 (and a game-high 12 rebounds) and Brittany Waters netted 10.
Biggs paced the Hokies with 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting, while Drye and Harrison added nine points apiece. Shani Grey scored a season-high eight points.
The Hokies are scheduled to resume their schedule on Sunday with a 4 p.m., tip-off at NC State.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).