January 4, 2015
Hokies drop Commonwealth Clash game to Cavaliers
By Marc Mullen
Virginia (11-3, 1-0 ACC) 293362
Virginia Tech (9-6, 0-2 ACC) 252247
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 1,225
  • High Points: 23 - Rachel Camp
  • High Rebounds: 7 - Rachel Camp

BLACKSBURG Despite a 23-point effort from freshman Rachel Camp, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team dropped its second straight ACC contest of the season, 62-47, to visiting Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum – a game which was part of the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash.

Camp single-handedly brought the Hokies back from a double-figure deficit in the first half by scoring 12 of the team’s last 16 points before the break. She also rebounded from a six-point effort in her first ACC contest to lead Tech, who dropped to 9-6 overall and 0-2 in the league, in scoring for the ninth time this season.

Virginia, who used an 18-6 run in the first half to build that early lead, improved to 11-3 on the season and 1-0 in the conference thanks to opening up the second half with a 16-2 stretch that the Hokies would never recover from.

“Obviously, this was not the way we wanted to start the first weekend of ACC play including Friday night and this game,” Tech women’s basketball coach Dennis Wolff said. “I thought the team played hard right until the end. I thought the end of the first half we had good energy and we were accomplishing what we wanted to do defensively.

After Sidney Cook scored on a layup with 14:46 left in the first half to make it 9-7 in favor of Virginia, the Hokies failed to make a shot from the floor for the next 10 minutes. Camp ended the span at the 4:34 mark with a driving basket and free throw that made it 27-16.

The charity stripe would help keep the game close as Tech converted 6 of 6 from the foul line during its drought, while a driving Camp provided help in the comeback – as her last layup of the half with 43 ticks left made it 29-25 heading into the locker rooms.

“I think we got some momentum from our trap and we kind of got some steals out of that and get some momentum into our offense and get some fast-break layups,” Tech sophomore guard Vanessa Panousis said. “Coming out of the break, they were just the more aggressor and we kind of laid down a little bit when they started to get a few shots up.”

“That was my message to them in the locker room was that we had the momentum coming in at halftime, but for whatever reason we didn’t sustain it,” Wolff said. “I think, they hit a shot and then we didn’t clear our defensive boards a couple of times. And those are deflating things, when every possession is valuable.”

The second half was all Virginia and the first 10 minutes belonged to Breyana Mason, who scored nine of her team-high 16 points in the span to push the Cavaliers’ lead into the 20s. Mikayla Venson added 13 points and Aliyah Huland El had 10, while Sarah Imovbioh pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

Camp notched her seventh game of the season with at least 20 points and has been in double figures 11 times. Panousis chipped in with 10 points, her 11th game this season with at least 10 as well, while Camp also led the team with seven boards.

“The first three or four minutes of the second half really zapped the life out of us,” Wolff said. “We have to regroup, but credit Virginia, they played harder defensively and some of their players who had not shot particularly well from the perimeter made some shots early in the game that gave them confidence.”

Up next for the Hokies is a road date at NC State on Thursday, January 8 with a start time of 7 p.m.

Virginia529, the official college savings plan of Virginia Tech Athletics, sponsored the game. With a victory today from Virginia women’s basketball, the Cavaliers added a half point for their school to the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash.

The score for the Clash is now, University of Virginia, 5, and Virginia Tech, 1.5. The other women’s basketball half point will be up for grabs when the Hokies visit Charlottesville on February 22. Learn more about Virginia529 and this new competition at www.thecommonwealthclash.com

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