BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech women’s basketball got what they wanted in the waning moments of its game with visiting Miami. The Hurricane’s Maria Brown converted on just one of her two free throws enabling the Hokies to possess the ball down two points with 14 ticks left on the clock.
The ball bounced out of bounds off Miami and the Hokies’ third chance at the tie or win was missed by Vanessa Panousis on the inbounds’ play and Tech fell to the ‘Canes 64-62 on Sunday afternoon in ACC action at Cassell Coliseum.
“It was another hard-fought game. We’re, right now, plagued by some of the same exact things that have hurt us in the other games – missed free throws and plays where we didn’t finish on the offensive end,” Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said. “These kids played hard as hell and I’m proud of the effort … but in a game like this, you can’t leave points out there and we did.
“They executed what we asked them to do and we still got a shot there at the end, it was just off … yeah, we got our shots.
“What I told the girls in the locker room is that these are three league games, we’ve got a bunch left. We just need to correct some of the things that are problematic for us and we need to get the girls a little bit of rest.”
It was another tough loss for the Hokies as they have now dropped to 10-6 on the season – losers of their last four – and to 0-3 in the ACC. Miami improved to 10-6 with the victory and 2-1 in conference.
The loss for Tech was almost similar to their previous home game that saw them lead for the entire game only to fall in the final minute. In this one, the Hokies led by nine in the second half and were up 54-46 with 7:46 left in regulation.
That’s when a couple of bad bounces sparked a 9-0 run by the ‘Canes capped by an Adrienne Motley fast-break lay-up that gave her team a one-point advantage. Motley ended with 11 points, while Caprice Dennis led Miami with 17 points, including a 3-point basket with 2:26 that pushed her team’s lead to 62-58.
“I think, in regards to Vanessa, we are asking a freshman to handle the ball for the majority of the time for 39 minutes against hard-ball pressure,” Wolff said about the team’s 15 turnovers. “She just had a couple of plays that she really fought hard to get the ball and it was fluky things.
“The ball bounced off somebody’s foot and they got a layup, then somebody hit her from behind. So, I’m happy with the way she played.”
Motley would make just one of her two free-throw attempts with 1:08 left to make it a five-point advantage before the Hokies’ Taijah Campbell scored her eighth point of the afternoon on a layup. She was 4 of 6 from the floor and added seven rebounds and two blocks to her totals.
After Dennis missed on a 3-point attempt, Campbell pulled down the rebound and the Hokies called timeout with 30 seconds left. Tech decided to go with a 2-for-1 – as opposed to trying an attempted tying 3-pointer – and Uju Ugoka hit a short jumper in the lane to make it a one-point game.
On the inbounds pass, they fouled Brown, a senior who coming in was a 58 percent free-throw shooter. She made one of two before Tellier pulled down the miss, which set up the game’s final 14 seconds.
“They shot 35 percent. We outrebounded them and again, the offense was clicking, but if we make five more foul shots, and we have a couple point-blank misses that go in, then we are sitting here having won the game,” Wolff said. “These kids are trying very hard and sometimes when you’re trying too hard to put the ball in the basket, it doesn’t go in.
“If we have the same stat line as then, if we are 15 for 20 (from the foul line), we win (Tech was 10 of 19).”
Tellier notched her third double-double of the season and the sixth of her career with 17 points and 10 rebounds and she added three assists and three steals to her stat line. Panousis scored 15 points, had six assists and five rebounds.
Ugoka finished the game with 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks. It was her 14th straight game scoring in double figures and the 15th game this season. The streak is the longest since Brittany Cook opened the 2007-08 season with 20 straight games with 10-plus points. The only other person with a string of at least 10 straight since then was Tellier, who had an 11 gamer last year.
The Hokies will take a week off before returning to the court next Sunday, Jan. 19 when they welcome top-5 Duke to Cassell Coliseum for a Noon tip.
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