After winning their first two games at home, the Virginia Tech Hokies went on the road to Penn State for the third round of the WNIT looking to pull an upset on the road and get to the Elite 8. While Penn State was the best opponent that the Hokies likely have faced in the WNIT, Virginia Tech proved they were definitely up to the challenge in what would be a dominant performance.
Virginia Tech beat Penn State 64-55 in a game that included the Hokies being up by 20 at halftime after outscoring Penn State 17-4 in the second quarter. The win sends the Hokies to the Elite 8 of the WNIT where they will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday at 2pm.
Virginia Tech only played seven players with only six playing double-digit minutes, but five of those players scored in double figures to help lead the Hokies to victory. Virginia Tech was quite good defensively in the first half holding Penn State to 28% shooting from the field with the Nittany Lions shooting over 50% in the second half, but that not being enough. Virginia Tech also had 12 offensive rebounds and 12 turnovers compared to 6 offensive rebounds and 14 turnovers, helping the Hokies have 9 more shots in this game.
Chanette Hicks was the star of this game for the Hokies leading the Hokies with 13 points, 6 assists, and 5 steals while also having 3 rebounds and no turnovers. Hicks has made a name for herself this season especially against non-ACC opponents with Hicks undoubtedly set to become one of the stars of the ACC next season.
Sami Hill had a strong game with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal while fellow senior Vanessa Panousis also played well with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Sidney Cook was solid with 11 points and 6 rebounds while Regan Magarity led the Hokies with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks but only had 5 points in what was not a great shooting night. Kendyl Brooks led the Hokies off the bench with 11 points and 5 rebounds while Kaela Kinder had 2 rebounds.
The win means that the Hokies are still unbeaten this season against non-ACC opponents with another road game against a Big 10 opponent coming up next against Michigan. Virginia Tech has proven to be a strong contender to win the WNIT but at this point in the tournament, there’s no doubt hat every team the Hokies will face is a serious contender to win it all.
The question is can the Hokies keep this high level of play up like they did in non-conference play or will they revert to ACC form with their second road game in three days? That remains to be seen.