Virginia Tech women’s basketball picked up a much-needed conference win on Thursday night, as the Hokies knocked off Georgia Tech 68-62.
The win not only pushed Virginia Tech to 14-7 overall and 3-5 in the ACC, but ended a three-game losing streak.
“It’s a good win for us. Very proud of the kids, but also very happy for them,” said head coach Kenny Brooks. “I think we’ve been really close as of late. I think I said after the UVa. game that we’re not into moral victories, but I thought that we had been playing hard enough to win. We just needed to make a couple more plays, and I thought we did so.”
Virginia Tech secured the victory with a rousing fourth quarter, outscoring Georgia Tech 19-12 in the final period. Aisha Sheppard drained consecutive three-pointers to give the Hokies a 57-52 lead with 7:20 remaining, and Virginia Tech held onto the lead for the remainder of the game.
“I think we were really focused on getting back to our strengths and how we play,” Sheppard said. “We realized we were starting to stray away from that, and Coach was like, ‘Just play our game, and we’ll come up with the win.’”
Sheppard finished with 11 points and four rebounds off the bench, while Taylor Emery scored a game-high 23 points on 8-15 shooting. Regan Magarity registered a double-double, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Virginia Tech’s defense proved to be excellent on Thursday, as the Hokies held Georgia Tech leading scorer Francesca Pan to just five points on 2-9 shooting. Georgia Tech shot just 37.3 percent from the floor overall, and made just six of their 21 shot attempts in the fourth quarter.
“We felt like (Pan) was their more dominant scorer. She can score in three different ways,” Brooks said. “She can shoot it from the three, she can shoot the mid-range and take it to the basket. Also can shoot from the free throw line. So we wanted to try and neutralize her as much as possible. It was essentially a box-and-one, without the denying part of it. We just kind of followed her around.”
The Hokies’ win over Georgia Tech came at a critical juncture. Not only were the Hokies on a three-game losing streak, they’d also lost four of their last five.
“It feels great. Honestly, we’ve been working really hard for it and we’ve been waiting for this win,” Emery said. “We’ve been saying, ‘We’re going to get it, we’re going to get it, there’s no such thing as moral wins,’ and we’d come so close but that’s not close enough. We’ve really been in practice stressing like,’ You’ve got to get over that hump and finish out the game,’ and I think we did that today.”
“I’m very pleased with our performance in the last two games in the fourth quarter, because we’ve given ourselves a chance to win,” Brooks said. “That’s what you have to do in this league, because you’re going to have to win games like this, and in this fashion. I thought we did finish the game in a much better fashion today.”
Virginia Tech will host Miami inside Cassell Coliseum on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. The Hurricanes are 14-7 on the season and 4-4 against ACC teams.