January 16, 2011
Hokies defeated by #3 Duke, 57-43
By Marc Mullen
12F
(3) Duke (17-0 (3-0)) 342357
Virginia Tech (9-9 (0-4)) 212243
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,287
  • High Points: 10 - Shanel Harrison
  • High Rebounds: 7 - Monet Tellier, Shanel Harrison

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech held third-ranked Duke to its third lowest output of the season and its starters to just 28 points, however the Blue Devil bench, two players in particular, stepped up and scored 29, helping Duke remain unbeaten this season with a 57-43 victory at Cassell Coliseum Sunday afternoon in ACC action.

Shanel Harrison (Jr., Washington, D.C) scored a team-high 10 points and added a team-high tying seven rebounds and three assists for the Hokies. Alyssa Fenyn (So., Newark, N.Y.) chipped in nine, Monet Tellier (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) had seven boards and, off the bench, Nikki Davis (Sr., Lexington, Ky.) scored six with three assists and two steals.

Duke’s season-leading scorer Jasmine Thomas, who averages 15.8 ppg, was held to just 12 points, their only starter in double figures. Allison Vernerey (15 points, seven rebounds) and Tricia Liston (13 and 5), who combined average less than nine points and six rebounds entering action Sunday, contributed 28 and 12. Karima Christmas had team-highs of eight boards and six assists.

“I told them [the team] they were going to do two things. Jasmine Thomas is a go-to player and she is going to step up and try and score anytime she gets the ball,” said Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger. “And the other thing is they are going to go into the paint.

“And Vernerey did what good back-up post players do. We said ‘she’s going to get the ball. She’s going to get it deep. She’s going to get it on the left block. She’s going to turn to her left and score.’ And she did it again, and again, and again. And that is where we need to adjust to the game."

Tied at 4-all two minutes into the contest, Duke used a 16-2 run over the next six minutes to push its lead into double figures. Thomas scored five of the team’s first seven in the span while Liston capped it with a three and a fast-break lay-up.

The Hokies cut the deficit down to 10 at 24-14 after a Tellier fast-break lay-up with 6:13 left in the first, but the Blue Devils answered with seven straight points to increase its lead to a first half-high 17 points.

Fenyn, who scored Tech’s first basket of the half, hit the team’s last three shots before heading into the locker room, which included a three pointer, pulling the Hokies to within 13 at the break (34-21).

Harrison, held scoreless in the first half, sparked a 6-0 run by Tech to open the second half with back-to-back baskets and LaTorri Hines-Allen (Fr., Montclair, N.J.) ended the run with an offensive put-back.

“We cut it to seven in the second half, but we had 22 turnovers, and a lot of those are unforced and that’s not a sign of a poised focused team,” said Dunkenberger. “We knew every play Duke was going to run.

“We knew what defense they were going to run, and we knew how we were supposed to attack everything they did. But I don’t think we felt like we could get into it. If I could change anything, I should have used all five timeouts, to get us focused and on track.”

Duke (17-0, 3-0 ACC) was held scoreless to just 1-of-9 shooting and committed four turnovers in the first four minutes of the second half, seeing its lead dwindle to seven. However, they scored on four of their next five possessions to take a 16-point lead (43-27).

The Hokies got back to within 10 with just over nine minutes remaining as Davis and Harrison each hit a three in an 8-2 run, but the Blue Devils were able to open a 20-point advantage and register the conference win.

Duke was able to pull down 19 offensive rebounds, including 16 in the second half, which led to a 12-6 advantage in second-chance points. They also had a 14-4 edge in fast-break points and 32-18 in points in the paint.

“For us to right this ship, we cannot have 22 turnovers in a game and we cannot get outrebounded by 10,” said Dunkenberger. “That is giving other possessions to a team. If we start a game, and I say “you got 15 more possessions than me to start out the game’, odds are I’m not going to win.

“If we are both shooting in the 40s, they are going to win, because they get more possessions. It comes down to a game of possessions and we have to quit turning the ball over and we have to rebound the ball, so we give ourselves a chance on offense.”

Virginia Tech (9-9, 0-4 ACC) will take a week off before heading north to take on in-state rival Virginia next Sunday, Jan. 23 at 2 p.m.

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

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