BLACKSBURG – Finishing one rebound shy of her first double-double of the season in her last game, Monet Tellier decided to try for the feat another way. However, this time she finished one assist shy, ending the night with a team-high 17 points and a career-high nine assists as the Hokies defeated visiting Wisconsin, 47-38, in Cassell Coliseum Wednesday night as part of the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Tellier attributed to all but 10 of Tech’s points in the win, while adding a team-high six rebounds and three assists to her totals, as she helped the Hokies improve to 3-2 on the season, while the Badgers dropped to 3-3 with the loss.
“In fairness to Wisconsin, their best player didn’t play,” Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said postgame. “We lost both Taijah (Campbell) and Aerial (Wilson) during the game, so it left both teams undermanned. But our team showed some resolve.
“Monet was fabulous in the second half … and I’m very proud of the kids.”
Tech jumped out to a nine-point lead with Tellier contributing to 14 of the team’s 16 points in the game’s first 12 minutes. She scored the opening basket and then handed out assists on the Hokies’ next four buckets. When she left the game after picking up her second foul at the 7:49 mark, she had five assists and four points.
Lauren Evans made it a 10-point game with a foul shot, but without the junior on the court, Wisconsin answered back. The Badgers scored 13 straight to reclaim the lead at 20-17.
“Well, when they went to that zone, we were tentative against it,” Wolff said. “So, we didn’t get into the gaps where we were making two play one. And we had some errant passes. Fortunately, Alex (Kiss-Rusk) stepped right in and made some good shots and gave us some life.”
The Hokies managed just three points while Tellier sat, which included a Kiss-Rusk baseline jumper for the half’s last basket, which ended the Badger run and pulled the Hokies to within one, 20-19, at the break. She ended the evening with eight points, four rebounds and two blocks.
By that point, though, the momentum had changed in Wisconsin’s favor and the Badgers used a 12-2 run to the midway point of the second half to open their own nine-point advantage.
“To come back is a very encouraging thing,” Wolff said. “That’s what I told the kids in the locker room. What I told them at one of the timeouts in the second half was that we’ve been at this juncture a number of times since we’ve all been together.
“We would get stuck in mud. We were trying but would get stuck in offense. So to all of the credit goes to these kids for fighting their way out of it.”
Tech did fight back, responding with a string of its own, notching a 16-2 run, in which Tellier was directly responsible for 14 of those points, with a pair of assists on 3-point baskets, knocking down four free throws and finishing on a pair of layups.
“Coach Joyce gave me some very good advice,” Tellier said. “He told me that I’d been sitting out, so don’t try to force anything in the second half. To start out the second half, I was forcing it a little bit. But then I got back and relaxed and the game started coming to me.”
The win marked the Hokies first victory in the challenge since defeating Minnesota, 68-62, back in 2007.
Tech will complete a three-game homestand when it welcomes Longwood to Cassell Coliseum on Saturday with tip scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
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