The Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball team beat Auburn Monday night 72-63. Led by a 20-point performance from Taylor Emery, the Hokies fought through the Tigers’ full court press the entire game and made their free throws when it counted to pull off the victory.
Emery, the 5’10” junior guard out of Tampa, was 4-13 from the field (31%) and 3-9 from behind the arc (33%) but she solidified the lead late, making nine of her ten free throws. Emery had four rebounds and two assists but got into foul trouble late in the second half. She, along with Regan Magarity and Rachel Camp, finished the game with four fouls each. Emery, who made her debut last Friday night against Wagner, scored 20 points in both games.
Virginia Tech got into foul trouble late in the game between Magarity, Emery, and Camp, but they managed to not have anyone foul out and they kept the lead against the feisty Tigers. The referees went from letting every call go to calling everything, and the crowd did not like it.
However, the Hokies pushed through the questionable calls and got out in front, leading by as much as 13 in the second half. The Hokies committed 20 turnovers but forced 19 from Auburn in a game that was very fast paced. Virginia Tech shot 24-64 (37.5%) while Auburn shot 23-72 (31.9%). The Hokies also made 9 threes compared to Auburn’s five, which helped decide the game.
Daisa Alexander led the Tigers with 19 points and four steals on 7-16 shooting from inside and 3-8 from three. Janiah McKay added on 15 points for Auburn. Besides those two players, the next highest scorer for the Tigers was Unique Thompson, who had 9 points. Auburn outrebounded the Hokies 52-45 but got beat when pressing, as the Hokies scored most of their points in transition.
Chanette Hicks, Aisha Sheppard, and Alexis Jean had heavy contributions for the team in the game in addition to Emery’s big performance. One of the keys for the Hokies to be able to win was for Hicks to have a big game, and despite turning the ball over 10 times, she played well. Hicks shot 6-13 from the field but struggled at the free throw line, making two of her seven attempts. Hicks led the Hokies in assists (4), steals (4), and both she and Magarity had two blocks.
Sheppard, the freshman from Alexandria, scored 11 points on her birthday and helped lead the Hokies to a quality win. Shooting 4-6 from the field and 3-5 from three-point range, she helped extend the Hokies’ lead in the second half. Jean, the transfer from Palm Beach State, scored 11 points and had 14 rebounds, recording her first double-double in her second-ever game as a Hokie.
Regan Magarity did not have a huge role in the game tonight, only scoring four points. Her presence inside was a plus for the Hokies, even though she picked up four fouls which put Tech in foul trouble. Kendyl Brooks did not have her best game either, only scoring six points, both coming on three-point baskets. She shot 2-9 from behind the arc, going 0-5 on her first five attempts.
Michelle Berry also contributed for the team, adding depth to a team that was heavily in foul trouble. Berry had four rebounds and four points in the 17 minutes that she played. Camp only played 14 minutes because she got into foul trouble, but she scored a basket to add onto the score.
Overall, it was a well-played game for the Hokies who, even though they turned the ball over 20 times, kept fighting through foul trouble and picked up the victory to improve to 2-0. Assuming Virginia Tech can fix their mistakes and stay out of foul trouble throughout the next few non-conference games, the Hokies should be in good shape when it comes time to face a tough slate of games against West Virginia and Illinois. Those games aren’t until late November, however.
The team’s next game is this Friday in Cassell Coliseum at 9pm against USC Upstate before they host UCF on Sunday at 6:30. A 2-0 record is pretty good after a tough team like Auburn. Expect Virginia Tech to improve on their mistakes over the next few games and make the game on November 25th against the Mountaineers a great one.