Vanessa Panousis set the Virginia Tech record for career three-pointers on Wednesday night as the Hokies rolled to a 3-0 start with a 67-36 win over Presbyterian.
“It’s pretty cool. I’m just happy we got the win tonight,” Panousis said. “Even though it was a scrappy game, I still feel that we can get a lot out of it and learn a lot from it.”
Panousis set the record in the fourth quarter with roughly six minutes left. It was her 201st three-pointer made in her career. She finished 3-13 from the field, scoring nine points, dishing two assists and grabbing two rebounds.
Coming into the game, Panousis had really been struggling with her shot. She started the season 0-8 from the floor and 0-7 from behind the arc, but was finally able to shake off the slump in the second half.
“I know the coaches, previously and now, they’ve helped me a lot with my shot and told me to keep shooting, even if they weren’t hitting, which they haven’t been this season, but hopefully it’ll change,” Panousis said.
The Hokies’ biggest advantage came in the paint, where Tech dominated the smaller Presbyterian team. Tech won on the boards 45-29 and scored 36 of their points in the paint. Forward Sidney Cook led the Hokies with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
“We knew they weren’t very big,” said Head Coach Kenny Brooks. “It’s something we haven’t been able to do, establishing ourselves on the inside very much. That’s really not our game, but we’re going to have to do that against some opponents and tonight was one of those.”
“I think me and Regan, when we would miss down there, we would be in our own heads because they weren’t really tall,” Cook said. “It was us and the basket.”
Virginia Tech’s offense struggled early on against the Presbyterian zone, committing turnovers and taking ill-advised shots. The Hokies shot just 4-13 in the opening period and led 9-7 heading into the second.
“I thought we got stagnant and we were playing against a set-up zone,” Brooks said. “Obviously our defense wasn’t creating any offense for us and we were walking it up.”
The Hokies offense kicked into gear in the second quarter. Virginia Tech started making crisp passes and thanks to a few turnovers by Presbyterian, Tech ended the quarter on a 14-2 run and held a 30-19 advantage after the first half. Tech shot 60 percent in the second quarter and scored 14 of their points off of turnovers.
“I think we just changed our mindset,” said Samantha Hill, who scored 13 points on 5-9 shooting. “We realized we weren’t playing up to our potential and going into half, we really wanted to pick it up.”
Virginia Tech continued to lock down defensively in the second half and came out of the break on a 9-2 run, extending the lead to 39-21 with 5:39 left in the third quarter. The Hokies’ dominance continued in the fourth quarter as they outscored Presbyterian 22-7 and held Presbyterian to just 3-17 shooting.
The Hokies are now 3-0 this season. They’ll go on their first road trip of the season to take on Central Florida on Saturday and Charleston next Tuesday, Nov. 22. After that, Tech will host Tennessee on Nov. 27. The Volunteers are ranked 13th in both the AP Top 25 and in the Coaches’ Poll.