January 23, 2015
Five players reach double figures in Tech victory
By Marc Mullen
Wake Forest (9-11, 0-6) 184159
Virginia Tech (10-10, 1-6) 393776
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,611
  • High Points: 16 - Vanessa Panousis
  • High Rebounds: 10 - Taijah Campbell

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team did something Friday night that hadn’t been done in almost six years in its 76-59 victory over Wake Forest in ACC action at Cassell Coliseum – have five players reach double digits in an ACC game.

Vanessa Panousis (16), Sidney Cook (13), Hannah Young (12), Taijah Campbell (12) and Samantha Hill (12) all scored in double figures to give the Hokies their first ACC win of the season. Tech is now 10-10 overall, 1-6 in conference, while the Demon Deacons dropped to 9-11, 0-6.

“We are all proud of these ladies,” Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said. “Everyone’s been talking about how we haven’t won a league game, but my feeling has been that they had been trying really hard in every game, have been practicing well and have been following everything we’ve been asking them to do.

“The team has tried really hard … and if you miss a point-blank shot, it deflates everyone. The team finished plays tonight and gave them energy back on defense. Wake Forest has a good team and good players and has played everyone in the league tough. The way we guarded them, it would be harder on them if they didn’t hit outside shots.”

Tech raced out to a 39-18 halftime lead as Panousis scored 11 points in the first half – a stanza that saw the Hokies shoot 45.8 percent from the floor, opposed to Wake Forest’s 28 percent and connected on 13 of 15 free throws.

The Hokies also held one of the ACC’s top scorers – Dearica Hamby (second at 20.7 per game) to just three points on 1 of 5 shooting from the floor. The Demon Deacons also failed on all eight of their 3-point shots, as the Hokies knocked down four before intermission.

“I think that credit (for the defense on Hamby) goes to Sidney and Kelsey (Conyers), who had to face guard her,” Campbell said. “I would help, but the credit definitely goes to those two. This was a team thing and that was a key to the game.”

“We played a box-and-1 on (Hamby) and as Taijah said, I think that Sidney and Tara (Nahodil) and Kelsey and everyone that guarded her did a good job. She’s the focal point of what Wake Forest does and we thought that we would try and make the other players beat us.”

The win would come without Wake Forest making a serious push midway through the second half, cutting a 20-point deficit at the 11:48 mark, after a Conyers basket, down to just eight with 6:40 left to play.

Campbell, though, scored on a layup and later converted on a three-point play to push the lead back into double figures and the foul line sealed the game for the Hokies as Wake Forest never got closer.

Tech made 25 free throws and shot 46 percent for the game. Campbell notched her third double-double of the season by adding a team-high 10 rebounds – the Hokies held a 39-31 edge on the boards – while Panousis handed out a game-high five assists.

“I think that the difference in this game was that we had a lot of contributors with five players in double figures which really helps,” Panousis said. “But I think we needed to stay poised (during that Wake run) because they tried to speed us up. During our huddles, we just kept saying ‘We just need to stay calm’ and we just finished the easy plays.”

The last time the Hokies had five players score in double figures in an ACC game was also in a home game against Wake Forest – on February 22, 2009 (click here to see that box score).

The win also ended the Hokies January woes, as they had not won a game in the month since Jan. 26, 2012 – a span of 23 straight games.

Tech will remain at home for its next game, welcoming top 10 Notre Dame to Cassell on Thursday, January 29 with a 7 p.m. tipoff.

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