BLACKSBURG, Va. – It may have not been the offensive first-half Virginia Tech women’s basketball was looking for, but the team would certainly take it against nationally ranked North Carolina. However, the Tar Heels were able to turn their slim four-point halftime lead into a 56-37 victory over the Hokies at Cassell Coliseum Thursday evening.
With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 13-5 overall and 3-2 in the ACC and gave their coach Silvia Hatchell her 600 career win at the school in 26 seasons. The Hokies dropped to 6-13 overall, 2-4 in the league.
“I’d like to first thank Silvia on a unbelievable accomplishment,” Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said. “To coach that team as long and as well as she has, 600 wins, is just a phenomenal achievement.
“I thought this game was very similar to a bunch of others we’ve played. We play hard. It’s a struggle on offense, and then we get to a point where we hit the wall and a combination of fatigue and are limited roster comes into play.
“We just have to find a way to be a little more efficient on offense. We need to get other people involved and keep fighting the way we are on defense.”
The Hokies scored just 21 points in the opening stanza, but credit their defense to holding No. 24 North Carolina to just 25. In fact, early on, a possible fourth denial of Hatchell’s attempt at No. 600 was in the works.
Monet Tellier, who led Tech with 16 points, knocked down a pair of threes and after Porschia Hadley grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a lay-up, the Hokies led 10-4 with 13:35 left in the first.
“Mo made three threes in the first half and it gave us some confidence,” Wolff said about the team’s performance in the first half. “When you are putting this type of effort in on defense, then you go down and you miss shots, it’s deflating. So, it was less deflating.”
It was the 6-foot-6 Tar Heel junior Waltiea Rolle that helped reel in Tech, as she came off the bench and scored six points in a 9-2 run for UNC that gave the visitor’s a 15-13 lead with under seven minutes left before the break.
Aerial Wilson answered back with a 3-point basket to give the Hokies the lead back, briefly as the Tar Heels scored six straight before Tellier hit her third of four 3-pointers of the night.
“I think we played with more confidence (in the first half),” Tellier said. “We looked to each other to keep it going.”
It was a six-point UNC lead, 25-19, just before the halftime buzzer when Hadley, who shot 4 for 6 from the floor, grabbed six boards and had three assists, grabbed another offensive rebound – five in the game – and laid it in.
The Tar Heels opened the second half on a 9-2 run, but couldn’t pull away from the Hokies until late. Wilson hit a short jumper with 11:41 left in the game to make it 38-31, before UNC used a 15-2 run over a six-minute stretch to seal its win.
“(In the second half) they came out with a little more fight in them than we did,” Tellier said in regards to the difference of the two halves. “It was a toss-up between both teams at halftime and anyone could have come down with the win, but they just fought a little bit harder.”
Latorri Hines-Allen pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds and had two blocks for Tech, while Larryqua Hall had four points, four boards and three steals.
The Hokies return to the court on Monday, Jan. 23 with an ACC contest Miami with the game time scheduled for 7 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).