Defensive Woes Plague Women in Fall to Tech

The Virginia Tech Hokies, losers of their last three contests and in a recent offensive slump, found their turkey strut again today by taking advantage of a porous Mountaineer defense and cruising to a not-even-this-close 76-64 victory in Blacksburg Saturday afternoon.

The Hokies never trailed in the contest. Jumping to a quick 6-0 lead in the opening four minute stretch that saw West Virginia take one shot and commit four turnovers, Virginia Tech used a potent 1-2 combination of big center Ieva Kublina and the ever-hot shooting guard (at least against the Mountaineers) Chrystal Starling to dominate on the inside and outside. The closest this game would get was at 8-6 with almost six minutes gone by in the first half. From that point, Tech gradually built a lead that would reach as many as 14 points before the Mountaineers were able to scrap back to a ten point deficit at halftime, 37-27.

Ugly as they may have been, the halftime stats showed a ray of hope for West Virginia. While Kublina had scored eight on 4-8 shooting and forward Erin Gibson had 10 on 5-6 shooting, the Mountaineers had out-rebounded the bigger Hokies by a margin of 18-14, grabbing seven on offense for 11 second-chance points.

Unfortunately, though, the Hokies were probably getting out-rebounded because they were shooting an excellent 59% from the floor, making 17 of 29 tries. Further, the Mountaineers committed nine turnovers, resulting in 10 points for Tech. In the paint, the Mountaineers were outscored 24-8.

The second half would not to get any better than the first. After a basket by Emily Lipton to make the score 39-27, Tech again gradually built its lead and then saw a mini rally by WVU to make the score 52-42 with 11:04 left, led by five points from Yolanda Paige. A quick Tech timeout then set the Mountaineers up for the kill - a 14-2 run capped with a three-pointer by Kublina with 6:25 left to make the score 66-44. Michelle Carter quickly fouled out after that, taking away most of West Virginia's size (and hope) in the paint. The Mountaineers were able to keep their chins up, and managed to outscore the Hokies from that point 20-10 to close the gap to a 76-64 final.

The Mountaineers just did not have "it" on Saturday. The object of the game was to stop the Hokies in the paint on defense and grab more rebounds. They looked in the first half like they might accomplish the rebounding goal, but there was just no stopping Kublina and Gibson inside. Pair that with a poor shooting day on offense (give credit to the Hokies, their straight up man-to-man defense didn't give the Mountaineers a lot of open opportunities), and the recipe was right for the blowout.

Yolanda Paige led the Mountaineers today with 18 points, 12 of those coming in the second half, on 8-15 shooting and five assists. Yolanda was followed by Latitia Williams, who really was the only Mountaineer able to get into a rhythm inside today, with 15 points and seven rebounds, on 6-10 shooting. Kate Bulger was brought back to earth after a huge night Wednesday, scoring 12 on 4-13 shooting, eight in the first half. Ashley Dunn had seven, Michelle Carter six and Janell Dunlap scored four. Eartha White had two points but pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. The Mountaineers shot 41% for the game and grabbed 37 rebounds, tying the Hokies (who shot 50% for the game, so not so many rebounds were to be had).

Virginia Tech was led by Starling and Kublina, who each had 18 points. Kublina led the Hokies with nine rebounds.

West Virginia, now 15-11, 4-11 in conference, travels to Hartford to face the #1 Connecticut Huskies this Tuesday. The Mountaineers either need a miracle win Tuesday or a loss by Providence to Villanova, the more likely scenario, to get into the Big East tournament next weekend.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories