Virginia Tech trailed after one quarter of play in Cassell Coliseum tonight, but the Hokies battled back through the next three quarters of play and walked away with an 87-56 lead over the USC Upstate Spartans. Alexis Jean led the Hokies with 19 points on 8-12 shooting and 8 rebounds. Jean was one of five Tech players that had double figures tonight.
Alexis Jean had an outstanding night for Tech, and Regan Magarity did as well. Magarity posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Shooting 6-15 with four blocks, Magarity was a key force inside for the Hokies and scored plenty of second chance points.
Other players decided to step up alongside Magarity such as Chanette Hicks, a player that shot 2-6 from the field and was 8-8 from the charity stripe. She also got into foul trouble early and had to sit out for much of the game. Hicks also added three assists and four steals, and she finished with four fouls.
With Hicks not playing as much due to foul trouble, other guards had to step up and control the point for the Hokies, and both Aisha Sheppard and Kendyl Brooks fit the role well. Sheppard came off the bench and revived the Hokies, shooting 4-10 from 3-point land and 2-2 from the free throw line to manage 14 points. Sheppard hit threes when they mattered and she handled the ball fairly well for the Hokies.
Brooks, who played the most minutes out of anyone on the team with 31, had 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Brooks also hit shots when they needed to fall. Behind Brooks and Sheppard shooting a combined 8 of 19 from behind the arc (42%) which was better than the entire Spartans team who shot 35%.
Taylor Emery had a quiet game with only 7 points on 2-5 shooting, but the pieces around her worked well and she didn’t have to do as much for the Hokies to be able to pull out a victory. Michelle Berry and Rachel Camp both came off the bench and had an impact as both players had 7 rebounds. Berry had six points while Camp had zero, but their contributions off the bench on the boards were the biggest key for the Hokies.
Overall, Virginia Tech struggled early but head coach Kenny Brooks rallied his troops and gave his team some motivation that led them to come out of the locker room and own the second half. The Hokies were outscored 40-36 in the first half but scored a whopping 51 points in the second half and only allowed 16. I’d say that’s pretty impressive.
Virginia Tech improved to 3-0 and will host UCF on Sunday at 6:30 in Cassell Coliseum before traveling to Melbourne, Florida, to play in the Paradise Jam tournament.