Photo Credit: Liam Sment
Virginia Tech earned their biggest win in women's basketball history on Thursday night with an 83-71 victory over No. 2 North Carolina State, snapping a three game losing streak.
“We needed the win,” said head coach Kenny Brooks. “The fact that it was against the number two ranked team in the country was the cherry on top.”
The victory is the program’s highest ranked victory in its 45 years of existence. This is also the program’s second win ever over NC State.
The win improves the Hokies record to 8-7 overall and 3-7 in the ACC, but more importantly, it gives Virginia Tech something to build off of as the team looks ahead to a tough slate of ACC games to finish out the regular season.
Early on, it looked like the Wolfpack was going to run away with the win. NC State jumped out to a five point lead after an 8-0 run six minutes into the game. The Hokies were out-muscled down low in the first period, trailing the Wolfpack in rebounds 6-13, leading to a four point deficit after the first ten minutes.
Neither side could really get much going offensively in the second quarter, combining to shoot a meager 6-19. With both teams scoring eleven in the second, the Wolfpack was able to keep its four point lead heading into the intermission.
Virginia Tech was able to cut the NC State lead to one by the end of the third quarter, courtesy of six forced turnovers and a trio of threes.
The fourth quarter began with a quick triple from Raina Perez, stretching the Wolfpack lead to four. After that, Elizabeth Kitley began to heat up, scoring 8 of Virginia Tech’s 13 points in the quarter after putting up only two points in the first half.
The effort propelled the Hokies to a three point lead 22 seconds left to play. It looked like Virginia Tech was going to finally close out a game after struggling to finish all season.
Then the inevitable happened.
With two seconds on the clock, NC State’s Camille Hobby drained a three to send the game to overtime.
“[After the shot] the first thing I said to them was ‘Look, if anybody here doesn’t think we’re going to win the basketball game, get up and go, leave,’” said Brooks.
His team received that message and caught fire in the extra period, beginning overtime with a 12-2 run, capped off by an emphatic three from Aisha Sheppard.
Sheppard carried that momentum for the rest of the game, scoring 11 of the Hokies’ final 13 points.
It was a win to remember for the Senior guard.
“To see all these things come to fruition and to be able to beat the number two team in the country, those are things that I literally have dreamed about since being a little girl and wanting to come here,” said Sheppard.
Now that the team has finally gotten over the hump it can turn its attention to getting a spot in March Madness.
“Let’s start a new season. We’re 0-0. Let’s go 1-0,” Brooks said. “Let’s finish the season the right way.”
Virginia Tech will have another chance to go 1-0 as the team hosts North Carolina on Sunday at 4PM.