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BLACKSBURG, Va. – In its 2010 season opener, Virginia Tech surged late to topple the Presbyterian College Blue Hose, 59-52, courtesy of a 15-3 run in the last eight minutes of the game. Nikki Davis earned a career-high seven steals, while Nia Evans and Shanel Harrison led the way in scoring, with 14 and 12 points, respectively. The victory was the 100th career win at Virginia Tech for head coach Beth Dunkenberger.
After trailing 34-32 at intermission, Tech took its first lead of the second half with just under 16 minutes remaining, on a pair of Shanel Harrison (Jr., Washington, D.C) free throws to put the Hokies up 36-34. The score bounced back-and-forth for much of the half, with six lead changes in the first 10 minutes. Tech turned up the pressure late, holding the Blue Hose to one basket after 8:23, driving to a 15-3 scoring run. Monet Tellier (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) forced two consecutive turnovers, blocking the first and stealing the second, with Tech converting on both to help narrow the deficit, 49-48. Tellier gave Tech the lead immediately after with just under six minutes to play, scoring on a layup following a Davis steal, Presbyterian’s third consecutive turnover. The Hokies maintained control for the remainder of the game, snatching six of their nine second-half steals following Tellier’s basket.
“Our defense was a point of focus coming into the game,” said senior guard Nikki Davis. “Unfortunately, we didn’t start out as aggressive and strong as we would have liked. In the last few minutes, we had some good ball pressure and we were able to pick it up and be more aggressive. It was a turning point.”
The Hokies’ freshmen didn’t waste any time making their presence known, tallying the first eight points of the game for Tech. Evans (Decatur, Ga.) scored the Hokies’ (1-0) first six points, while Tellier added two more on a layup. At the 10-minute mark, Tech held a 15-12 lead courtesy of a Harrison trey that broke the 12-point tie. After that, Tech scored six more unanswered points, four by Abby Redick, stretching out to a 21-12 lead before the Blue Hose surged back, closing the gap at 23-22 with just under five minutes left in the half. At the break, Presbyterian (0-1) held the two-point lead at 34-32.
The Hokies shot 15-33 (.455) from the field, 26-59 (.441) in the second half. Tech scored 17 points off turnovers and 12 off the fast break. Tech finished the game with a plus-12 turnover margin (14-26) and 17 steals.
Next, the Hokies welcome to Wofford Terriers to Cassel Coliseum on Sunday, Nov. 14. The game is set to tip at 2 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).