January 9, 2011
Hokies drop 69-56 contest to Hurricanes
By Marc Mullen
Miami (16-1, 2-0) 343569
Virginia Tech (9-7, 0-2) 312556
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,190
  • High Points: 11 - Shanel Harrison
  • High Rebounds: 11 - Brittany Gordon

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Brittany Gordon registered her first double-double of the season and was one of three Hokies with at least 10 points, but visiting Miami also had three players in double figures and handed Virginia Tech a 69-56 defeat in Tech’s 1,000th game in program history Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.

Gordon (Sr., Howard County, Md.) pulled down a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with her season-high 10 points, while Shanel Harrison (Jr., Washington, D.C.) led the Hokies with 11 points and had four boards, and Alyssa Fenyn (So., Newark, N.Y.) added 10 points and five assists for Tech, who fell to 9-7, 0-2 ACC

The Hurricanes answered with the ACC’s top scorer in Riquna Williams, a game-high 21 points, the league’s second top scorer in Shenise Johnson, 19 points and a team-high three assists, and the 10th leading scorer in the conference in Morgan Stroman, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds for her third straight double-double and sixth of the season, to win their 15th straight game and improve to 16-1, 2-0 ACC.

“We knew we were facing a high-powered offensive team today in Miami and they are averaging almost 85 a game,” said Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger. “I told our kids we were going to have to have a couple kids step up and be ready to match it and score 20.

“We were able to hold them to 15 below their average, but we were struggling to find ways to put the ball in the basket. We’ve got to find more points out there. You’re not going to beat anyone in the ACC scoring 56 points.”

Midway through the first half, Tech led by six after Gordon scored on a lay-up off an assist from Nikki Davis (Sr., Lexington, Ky.), one of her five on the afternoon. The lead was again six at the 5:33 mark after Aerial Wilson (So., Cocoa, Fla.) knocked down a three to put the Hokies up 25-19. She ended with eight points and four assists.

Miami, who is ninth in the nation in scoring at 84.2 points a game, showed its scoring capability from the 5:24 to 4:20 mark of the first. Stroman scored five including a fast-break lay-up and Krystal Saunders capped a 10-0 run with a three to put the Hurricanes up four, their largest lead of the first half.

The Hokies answered with six straight points to reclaim the lead for the last time, with Gordon scoring four and Fenyn adding a fast-break lay-up. Miami closed the first with five straight to take a 34-31 lead into the locker rooms.

“In the first half, every time we made a mistake on a scout, Virginia Tech scored, every single time we made a mistake they found it and they scored and that is a compliment to them,” said Miami coach Katie Meier. “Every time we play Virginia Tech, I think their defensive game-plan is great.

“They stall us out and we never get the same amount of possessions that we want. We only had two steals at halftime and that is not our style. It had a lot to do with them, but it also had to do with our lack of energy.”

Out of the break, Harrison scored on a driving lay-up to cut the Hokie deficit to one before the teams traded 6-0 runs. Monet Tellier (So., Charlotte, N.C.) pulled Tech to within 40-39 with two of her nine, ending a streak of six straight in double figures, with 16:08 left in the game.

Miami used a 9-0 run to push its lead into double figures as Stroman capped the run at the 12:17 mark with a basket. Two minutes later, Wilson hit another three to make it 51-44, but the Hurricanes scored eight straight and 18 of the game’s next 23 points to increase their lead to 20.

For the third straight game, the Hokies turned the ball over more than 20 times. In this one, they had 24 which led to 29 Hurricane points. Miami also held an 18-8 edge in fast-break points.

“There were stretches where we really held them [in the first half],” said Dunkenberger. “It came down to, when you have 24 turnovers; they made their runs when we turned the ball over. That is way too many and it’s our starters, who accumulated 20 of those 24, and that’s a problem.”

Tech will next be in action as the take a trip down to Winston–Salem, N.C., to take on Wake Forest on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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

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