The Kenny Brooks era got off to a solid start on Friday night as Virginia Tech surged in the second half to defeat UNC Asheville 71-52.
“They got off to a pretty good start against us, but I’m proud of the resolve we showed,” Brooks said. “We got off to a sluggish start but they didn’t panic. We regrouped at halftime, we challenged them and they came out and responded in a great way.”
The Hokies trailed at the end of the first half, but an 18-2 run that started in the third quarter and lasted into the fourth completely changed the complexion of the game. Virginia Tech outscored UNC Asheville 45-22 in the second half.
Virginia Tech’s defense fueled the Hokies’ game-changing run. UNC Asheville shot just 31 percent in the second half while committing 10 turnovers. In turn, Virginia Tech shot 55 percent from the floor.
“Coach was just saying, we had to relax,” said Chanette Hicks. “We were just so hype for our first game and just the jitters. Once we calmed down, we practice it every day, we practice what we run, we just had to get it together.”
Hicks led the Hokies with a career-high 24 points, three assists, three steals and three rebounds. Regan Magarity added 12 points and seven rebounds. In all, four Hokies finished in double figures.
Despite foul trouble, Virginia Tech only was able to dress nine players for Friday night’s game. Just seven saw the floor, including true freshmen Kaela Kinder and Genesis Parker. The two combined for 10 points and eight rebounds.
With multiple players unavailable for Virginia Tech due to transfer rules and injury, Parker and Kinder will need to continue to play a big role off the bench.
“They definitely played hard. I think they have a lot of confidence and we trust them,” Magarity said. “It’s just the relationship that we have with them and they definitely fit in with our offense.”
It’s a short turnaround for Tech. The Hokies will play their next game on Sunday at home vs. Georgetown at 4 p.m.