Fast start leads Hokies to easy win over Pittsburgh

Pitt (8-9, 0-5) 2011161966
Virginia Tech (13-4, 2-2) 3320142289
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,256
  • High Points: 22 - Taylor Emery
  • High Rebounds: 8 - Regan Magarity

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech hit 13 of its first 16 shots and never looked back, blasting Pittsburgh 89-66 in an ACC game played Thursday night at Carilion Clinic Court.

The win moved the Hokies to 13-4 on the season, 2-2 in the ACC, and they also won for the ninth time in 10 home games. Pittsburgh fell to 8-9, 0-5 in league play.

“Any time you can get a 23-point win in the ACC, you have to be satisfied,” Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said. “It was good. It was needed. I thought our kids did a really good job of coming out from the start to finish and playing good basketball. I think we kind of fed off our second half against Louisville, and the attitude and effort kind of carried over. It propelled us to this win, so I was very pleased.

“Got a lot of people involved. A lot of people contributed in major ways. If we can go out and continue to play like that, I think we give ourselves a chance.”

Taylor Emery led the way for the Hokies, scoring 16 of Tech’s 33 first-quarter points. The junior from Tampa, Florida buried four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, as Tech canned all six of its 3-point attempts and built a 33-20 advantage. The Hokies wound up shooting 64.5 percent in the first half and led 53-31 at the break.

The Hokies cooled off in the second half, but still built a 28-point lead with a little more than 4 minutes remaining largely behind four other players who scored in double figures. Despite the cold shooting in the second half, the Hokies still shot 47 percent for the game and hit 12 of 30 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Emery connected on 8 of 13 from the floor, including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc, and paced the Hokies with 22 points. Regan Magarity added 21 points and eight rebounds.

Rachel Camp and Chanette Hicks scored 12 points each, with Hicks adding nine assists. Alexis Jean pitched in 11 points and six rebounds for Tech, which out-rebounded the Panthers 40-29.

Yacine Diop paced the Panthers with 23 points.


Camp made her third consecutive start and her seventh of the season, but her first of the season as the point guard. She wound up playing four different positions in the game, which led Brooks to call her his “Swiss army knife.” Brooks said he didn’t start Hicks because she had lost a little focus and that part of his program consists of accountability.

In addition to scoring 12 points, Camp grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists and had a career-high four steals.

“I thought she did a great job – better than I had hoped,” Brooks said. “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on her, but I thought she handled everything extremely well. She got us into the offense. I gave her a little play sheet, and instead of having the 25 sets that we have on there, I gave her six. I told her, ‘This is what we’re going to run. If you get into a bind and you freak out a little bit, run this one.’

“We simplified it, and maybe it was something that we needed to do. Our offense can be complex if we go through the whole thing, and a lot of that has to do with we’ve had to invent ourselves, re-invent ourselves and re-invent ourselves again, trying to get kids in certain spots, so you keep building up plays. You’re trying to figure out which one you want to go to, and then if you keep running a lot of them, they’re not good at certain ones. So we simplified it, and I thought we executed as well as we have all year, especially in the first half.”


• Tech’s 53 first-half points were tied for the team’s most in a first half this season and the second-most in a half overall (58 in second half versus UMES).

• The Hokies’ 33 first-quarter points were the second-most points that they’ve scored in a quarter this season. Tech scored 39 in the third quarter of a 90-52 win over Maryland Eastern Shore.

• The game marked the sixth this season in which the Hokies reached double figures in 3-pointers, and the Hokies are 5-1 in those games.

• Magarity has scored in double figures in 16 of 17 games this season and has scored at least 20 points in four games. She has scored at least 20 points in 11 games in her career, and Tech is 10-1 in those games.

• Emery scored in double figures for the 12th time in 17 games this season and has scored at least 20 points in eight games.

• Hicks had started in 27 consecutive games before coming off the bench against Pittsburgh.

• Hicks has dished out at least nine assists in four games this season. She had dished out at least nine assists in just three games in her career coming into this season.

• Every Tech starter hit at least one 3-pointer in the first half.


The Hokies continue ACC play this Sunday when they travel to Tallahassee, Florida for a Sunday evening game against Florida State. Tech will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak to the Seminoles.

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