Tech takes positives away from first ACC road game of the season

2017-18 Virginia Tech Women's Basketball Ticket Information
Virginia Tech vs. Pitt tickets

BLACKSBURG – Playing on the road in conference play is always tough, especially when your first trip away from the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum is to the Yum! Center to take on the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals. The Hokies fell behind early thanks to 16 first quarter points from All-ACC performer Asia Durr, and Tech played catch up the rest of the afternoon, ultimately falling 67-56.

“If we could erase the first half and just take the second half, I’d be kind of happy,” head coach Kenny Brooks said. “But no, it was a tale of two halves, whatever you want to call it. I thought that it was a hard fought game. Louisville is a special team, they have special players, Jeff does a tremendous job and they came out and they jumped on us really early in which we couldn’t rebound from.”

After the first quarter the Cards led 29-9, thanks to Durr’s 16 points and hot shooting as a team. Louisville hit 11 of 17 shots (64.7 percent) which included four 3-pointers, while the Hokies had shot just 21.4 percent from the field.

Alexis Jean rounding back into form – Junior forward Alexis Jean logged 29 minutes Sunday, by far the most for her since she returned to the floor following a month out recovering from minor knee surgery.

“Alexis, we needed her to have this type of game,” Brooks said. “Her first action back from her surgery early in December was the NC State game. She had no practice, you know. So, she played that game we were just trying to get her feet wet, got a little more minutes in the Boston College game.

This week, we had a bye on Thursday so she got some practice time and she’s starting to get her rhythm back a little bit. She’s an integral part in what we do and it gives us another scoring threat inside and outside. She rebounds the basketball and getting her back full strength is going to be a key to us to have success in the future. “

Jean scored 12 points, which included a team best two 3-pointers, and also grabbed seven rebounds.

Hokies' ‘D’ clamps down in second half – Louisville averages over 79 points per game on the season and after putting up 48 in the first half, they seemed to be on their way to hitting that mark again. The Hokies regrouped in the locker room and Brooks implemented a different defense to slow down the Cards.

“It was a combination, we took them out of their comfort zone and didn’t let them run free. We did mix it up a little bit, went to a box-and-one to try and take away Asia Durr, just her effectiveness and her freedom of movement and made some other people step up and make some shots. They weren’t as effective making shots in the second half as they were in the first, so I think it just kind of took them out of rhythm a little bit.”

After shooting north of 60 percent in the first half, Louisville only made nine field goals in the second half, shooting 33.25 percent. Their 19 second half points were a season low.

Taking advantage of the free throw line – The Hokies got to the line 22 times Sunday, making 18 attempts, helping Tech mount a comeback against the Cards. As a team, Tech is shooting 72.4 percent from the stripe, led by Taylor Emery. The junior guard sits at 86.9 percent on the year and made 8 of 9 Sunday.

Tech has now shot 20-plus free throws in back-to-back games after making 24 trips last week in the win over Boston College.

Up next: Tech is back on Carilion Clinic Court on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. for a matchup with the Pitt Panthers. Virginia Tech Faculty & Staff will have the opportunity to pick up two complimentary tickets to the game at the Cassell Coliseum Ticket Window with their faculty and staff ID.

Pitt (8-8, 0-3) lost on Sunday at North Carolina 68-67.

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