January 11, 2015
Tech stumbles in second half in loss to Miami
By Marc Mullen
Miami (13-3, 3-0 ACC) 233962
Virginia Tech (9-8, 0-4 ACC) 202545
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 1,627
  • High Points: 14 - Rachel Camp
  • High Rebounds: 8 - Rachel Camp

BLACKSBURG – An inability for the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team to clear the defensive boards in the second half and the ability by Miami to convert its free throws was the difference as the Hokies dropped a 62-45 decision to Miami in ACC action Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.

Rachel Camp and Vanessa Panousis both reached double figures for the 13th time this season, with Camp leading the way with team-highs of 14 points and eight rebounds, while Panousis added 11 points and five boards for the Hokies, who dropped to 9-8 on the season 0-4 in the conference.

Tech held the Hurricanes (13-3, 3-0 ACC), who had been shooting almost 42 percent from the floor and averaging close to 76 points per ACC game coming in, to their second-lowest output of the season on 31 percent shooting. However, Miami was able to grab 21 offensive rebounds – scoring 16 second-chance points – and made 17 free throws (opposed to Tech’s four) to get the win.

“I told the girls, I thought we played hard and they followed the game plan well,” Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said. “I think we get to these different points in the game – it could be in the first half or the second half – and if things go against us, there is almost a snowball effect that takes place that we can’t get out of.

“So, we have to continue to try and work through that. I commend the players. They gave very good effort. Defensively, we did what we wanted to do, but in the second half we just didn’t clear our defensive board on that end enough and clearly, we had too many turnovers that led to baskets for them during that stretch that got away from us.”

Early on, the Hokies held Miami without a basket from the floor through the game’s first seven minutes, but could not take advantage of it as they held just a 7-2 lead before Miami’s first bucket. However, the Hokies stayed in front thanks to six points by Camp, whose fast-break layup with 9:05 left before the half put the team up 15-10.

Miami, though, responded by holding Tech to just a Tara Nahodil basket over the next eight minutes as the Hurricanes used a 13-2 run to take a six-point lead. Adrienne Motley scored nine of her game-high 22 points in the span that saw Miami take a 23-17 lead.

Samantha Hill buried a baseline 3-point basket just before intermission to pull the Hokies to within three at the break (23-20). Out of the locker room, Tech scored seven of the game’s next nine points – on a pair of jumpers from Panousis and a 3-pointer from Camp – to reclaim its lead.

“I think we made it a point at halftime that we needed to stay with the same intensity and that we could win the game,” Panousis said. “We just needed to continue to look forward and not look as if we were afraid and I think that really helped our momentum.

“We just need to string two halves together and hopefully that will help us get some wins.”

The teams battled back-and-forth for the next four minutes before the Hurricanes turned up their defensive pressure and offensive efficiency. They scored on six of seven trips down the floor and held Tech scoreless for almost six minutes to take a 46-34 lead with 6:54 left in the game. A Camp free throw broke the string, before Miami closed the game on a 16-10 run to cruise to the victory.

“From where I am sitting, the three areas that have plagued us in almost every one of these games is that we don’t finish what appears to be an easy shot,” Wolff said. “Then we go down to the other end and maybe stop them – they only shot 31 percent – but then they are getting a second shot and that hurts us.

“Then we compound it by maybe having a turnover right them. So, if you add those three things together – we don’t get a basket, they score after getting a rebound, and then they score after pressuring us – that kind of builds up and then weighs us down and we have to somehow, collectively, play through those things in a better way.”

Tech will find itself on the road again this week, traveling to Durham, North Carolina to face its first ranked team of the season. The top-15 Duke Blue Devils welcome the Hokies to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a game on Thursday with a 6:30 p.m. tip.

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