BLACKSBURG – Behind its strong guard play, Virginia Tech knocked off its third straight opponent in seven days, dispatching Longwood, 73-58, on Saturday evening at Cassell Coliseum, as senior Alyssa Fenyn, junior Monet Tellier and freshman Lauren Evans combined for 40 points, 25 assists and 14 rebounds.
Fenyn scored a career-high tying 17 points to go along with seven assists and four rebounds, while Tellier had 13 points, eight assists and seven boards in just 23 minutes of play, and Evans notched her first double-double with 10 points and 10 assists.
“I’m proud of our team, three games in a week, plus missing some kids and everyone walking out of the building wasn’t an easy thing for them, but we made enough plays to get a win,” Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said, with a reference to a packed Cassell just 30 minutes prior watching the men’s team’s dramatic victory over nationally-ranked Oklahoma State.
“I told the team today, I don’t know when the last week that a Virginia Tech women’s basketball team won three games in a week, and one being a Big Ten game. So, this is good for us.”
The Hokies led by just two at the break but Longwood’s Crystal Smith hit a three to start the second half to give the Lancers their only lead of the contest. Smith scored a season-high 26 points, two shy of her career high, which included five 3-point baskets. She also had five assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Tech responded with an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to claim an eight-point lead, as Fenyn scored five in the span and assisted on baskets by redshirt junior Porschia Hadley, who scored eight in the game, and junior Nia Evans, who had nine points and seven boards off the bench.
“Longwood did a good job and they were switching everything on us in the first half,” Wolff said. “So, we went a little smaller and starting switching things on them and it created driving lanes and we shot layups.”
It wasn’t until the Hokies scored six straight points on three straight trips down the floor that they really took command of the game, halfway through the second half.
Tellier scored on a layup, assisted by Fenyn, sophomore Larryqua Hall, who had eight points and three boards, hit a short jumper, assisted by Tellier, and Nia Evans capped it off with another layup off a Tellier pass, which built a 15-point lead.
“Riqua Hall, who I hadn’t played much this year, gave us 16 really good minutes in the second half and really deserves a lot of credit,” Wolff said. “We thought she was sick the last few weeks so we held her out, but she’s practiced the last two days and she really helped us.”
Longwood (1-6) came in averaging 7.8 3-pointers made per game and hit eight in the game, which included its last with 4:50 remaining, by Smith to bring the Lancers to within eight, with under five to play.
The Hokies, though, would increase its lead and seal the game as they converted 7-of-8 foul shots down the stretch to improve their record to 4-2 on the year.
“I think that we are still not out of the woods,” Wolff said in response to the team’s fourth win already this season compared to seven all of last season. “I think that, when you’re building a house, we’ve built part of a foundation to move forward.”
The 25 assists, on just 29 made baskets, were three shy of the Hokie team record for helpers in a game at Cassell, while Lauren Evans’ 10 assists were three shy of a freshman record for assists in a game set by Lisa Leftwich versus VCU back in Feb. 1992. Ironically, Evans had not registered an assist in her prior 120 minutes played prior to Saturday’s game.
“Longwood had a bunch of quick, little guards, who put a lot of pressure on us in the backcourt. Neither Alyssa and Lauren are true point guards, so it was tough for them to handle the ball … but we had 25 assists which is pretty good.”
Virginia Tech (4-2) gets a couple days rest before heading out on the road to face Richmond on Wednesday night, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. before a five-game home stand that starts with Penn State the following Wednesday.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).