BLACKSBURG, Va. - In a game of scoring spurts and lead changes, the outcome came down to the wire at Cassell Coliseum as Virginia defeated Virginia Tech, 73-71, in overtime. The overtime was the first time the two teams have ever needed extra time to decide the outcome of the game in 45 meetings.
Career-high tying numbers from Alyssa Fenyn (So., Newark, N.Y.) and LaTorri Hines-Allen (Fr., Montclair, N.J.) paced the Hokie offense as Fenyn tallied 17 points on the afternoon and Hines-Allen chipped in 10. Shanel Harrison (Jr., Washington, D.C.) was the only other Tech player in double figures with 14 points.
China Crosby led the visiting Cavaliers with 15 points on the day as three of those points came in overtime. Crosby buried the go-ahead basket with 1:11 left in overtime and was later fouled after Tech could not come up with the loose rebound after Virginia barely escaped a shot clock violation. Crosby made one of two shots from the line, to put Virginia up by two in the closing seconds of the game.
The Hokies had 12 seconds to run the last play of the game after bringing the ball down the court following a missed free throw. The ball was inbounded to Harrison, who drove to the basket, but lost control forcing a held ball situation. Fortunately, the possession arrow was in Tech’s favor and the Hokies retained possession. With only 1.5 seconds remaining, Tech called its final timeout.
Harrison was again the recipient of the inbounds pass, getting the ball at the top of the key. She took two dribbles to her left before throwing up the final shot of the game. The ball hit rim and bounced out, giving Tech its first overtime loss of the season.
“Shanel [Harrison] just made a heck of a play to get open and get a shot off,” Head Coach Beth Dunkenberger said after the game. “We didn’t have anymore timeouts and I thought it was a heads-up play by Nikki [Davis] on the play before when we didn’t get the look we wanted.”
In regulation, a missed three-pointer by Crosby allowed the Hokies a chance to tie things up at the end of regulation, and Harrison nailed a jumper to lock things up at 67 with six seconds remaining. The Cavaliers missed their final opportunity and overtime would ensue.
The beginning of the game set the tone for the afternoon as the two teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of play but the Hokies began to pull away by the 16 minute media timeout. Each team would score in spurts before ending each period in a taffy pull.
Tech was the first to get out in front as the Hokies went up by as many as eight points in the first half. Nine of their first 15 points came from Fenyn which assisted Tech in getting out to a 15-7 lead midway through the half.
Once comfortable attacking Tech’s zone, the Cavaliers’ shots began to fall and they slowly clawed their way back into the game. They bounced back from a three minute scoring drought with a 22-7 run over the next eight minutes to go up 32-24 with three and a half minutes to go before the intermission.
Tech closed out the first half on a 7-3 run, and trailed 37-33, as both teams hit the locker rooms.
The second half was pretty much even with both teams suffering turnovers until Virginia put together a 10-2 run to build a 61-53 lead with just over six minutes left.
The Hokies came out of the third media timeout on a mission as two made free throws by both Nikki Davis (Sr., Lexington, Ky.) and Brittany Gordon (Sr., Howard County, Md), along with a Harrison layup quickly made it a one possession game.
Taylor Ayers (So., Augusta, Ga.) tacked on Tech’s next four points with two made free throws and a layup, but Virginia answered as Paulish Kellum put up four quick points for the Cavaliers to give the lead back to Virginia at 67-65 before Harrison’s shot forced overtime.
The Cavaliers had three other players in double figures as Kellum added 11, Ataira Franklin chipped in 14 and Ariana Moorer tallied 12 points.
The Hokies will return to action on Thursday, March 3 at 11 a.m. Tech will be the No.12 seed in this year’s ACC Tournament, held in Greensboro, N.C., and will face the five-seed, which has yet to be determined.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).