Virginia Tech women’s basketball didn’t have the Senior Night they wanted a couple weeks ago. On Friday night, they got a chance to make up for that.
The Hokies used a 23-1 run to end the second quarter to pull ahead in a 76-62 victory of Rider in the first round of the WNIT inside Cassell Coliseum.
“It definitely felt nice to get a good win under our belt, heading into our next few games in the tournament, especially the next one, of course,” said Samantha Hill, who finished with 19 points and four steals. “It felt really nice to be out there on the court working together and coming away with a win was really important.”
Rider began the second quarter on a 7-0 to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to 22-18, but would never be that close again. The Hokies’ defense stifled Rider after their opening spurt, holding them to 0-13 from the field during the 23-1 run.
“Chanette (Hicks) had a couple steals that led to some fast break points, Sami did the same thing. We just did a really good job focusing. We were all on the same page.”
Regan Magarity led the way for Virginia Tech, scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Hicks added 21 points.
For one of the few times this season, the Hokies held a big advantage down low. Virginia Tech outrebounded Rider by 16, scored 19 second chance points and were plus-six in points in the paint.
“I think the guards did a really good job of finding us in the post,” Magarity said. “We were able to produce It’s always nice when you have an advantage.”
Virginia Tech controlled the game from the tip, but wasn’t pleased with their performance in the second half. The Hokies led 55-25 midway through the third quarter, only to give up an 11-0 run in the next three minutes. Rider would continue to chip away at the Hokies’ lead for much of the game, but never got closer than 13 points.
“I thought we played well in the first half,” Brooks said. “I was a little concerned. I’d never coached a team that had a 16-day layoff in between games. You don’t know whether the teams going to come back and be rested or rusted. I thought we came out, we had good energy. We really got off to a great start, establishing ourselves in the first half.”
“In the second half, we just really got away from the things that got us to the lead,” Brooks said. “Our defense was lackadaisical. You give them credit, because they really didn’t give up.”
Friday night’s win pits Virginia Tech against Navy in the second round of the WNIT. The Hokies will host Navy on Sunday at 2 p.m. inside Cassell Coliseum. This is the second straight season where Virginia Tech women’s basketball has advanced to the second round of the WNIT.
“We have to be much better if we’re going to continue this run,” Brooks said. “Obviously each stage you get to, the next step, you’re going to be playing better and better teams. We have to play much better, particularly in the second half.”
For Hill and the other seniors on the team, it gives them another opportunity to win one more game in their home arena.
“I try not to think about that too much,” Hill said. “More focusing on, since it’s a tournament, we have to win another game to keep playing.”