CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Freshman Vanessa Panousis matched a career-high with 24 points as she led the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team to an upset win over No. 11/8 North Carolina, 50-47 on Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C.
"I couldn't be prouder of how our kids played,” said Head Coach Dennis Wolff. “I think we did a good job of trying to control the tempo of the game to some degree. Vanessa Panousis was great and I really give our kids credit. We’ve had a lot of close games like this. And unfortunately, we haven't closed some of them out. So today we were able to and it's a great feeling."
Panousis connected on 7-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-8 from outside the arc and 6-of-8 from the line to lead the Hokies (13-14, 3-11 ACC) to the win. She also handed out three assists, setting a new Tech freshman single-season record with 110 on the season. Uju Ugoka added 13 points for the Hokies while Monet Tellier led on the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds.
On the defensive side, the Hokies held the Tar Heels (21-7, 9-5 ACC) to their lowest scoring output of the season as UNC averages 84.2 points per game.
Virginia Tech opened the game with a 19-7 run capped by eight straight points from Panousis as the Hokies took the lead eight minutes in to the game. UNC responded with a run 12-0 run of its own, tying it up at 19-19 with 6:35 to go in the half. The two teams traded baskets in the final minutes with the Hokies taking the 25-24 lead in to the break.
The Hokies opened the second half with a 7-2 run, taking the six-point, 32-26, lead off a jumper from Taijah Campbell with 16:14 on the clock. Virginia Tech maintained the advantage and was up 36-30 with just under 13 minutes to go before UNC answered with an 11-0 run to take the 41-36 lead with 8:48 remaining.
UNC took its largest lead of the game two minutes later as the Heels went up 43-37. Tech refused to back down, going on a 9-0 run as Tellier, Campbell, Ugoka and Panousis all chipped in points for the Hokies, giving Tech the 46-43 advantage with just under two minutes on the clock. UNC’s Diamond DeShields sank two-of-three from the free throw line to cut it to a one-point game going in to the final minute. The Tar Heels were unable to get a basket and fouled Panousis with 19 seconds remaining, sinking both shots to put Tech on top 48-45. The Tar Heels’ Xylina McDaniel connected on one final jumper with seven seconds to go, but Panousis again stepped to the line and connected on a pair of free throws to secure the win for the Hokies.
McDaniel led the Tar Heels with 13 points and eight rebounds. Stephanie Mavunga tallied 10 points.
Virginia Tech shot 14.3 percent from the field while the Tar Heels connected on 26.8 percent. UNC was 16-of-26 from the line while the Hokies connected on 8-of-16.
The Hokies will be back on the court on Thursday, Feb. 27 when they host Clemson. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum. Tech will recognize seniors Tellier, Ugoka, Nia Evans, Porschia Hadley and senior manager Morgan Allen prior to the game.
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