The Virginia Tech women's basketball (17-9, 4-9) team picked up their first home ACC win on Thursday night, upsetting #14 Miami (22-6, 10-3) 73-65. Taylor Emery led the Hokies with 24 points, and Regan Magarity added a career high 19 rebounds.
Going into Thursday night, the Hokies were winless in 5 ACC games inside Cassell Coliseum. That included single digit losses to Syracuse, Florida State, and Louisville. Virginia Tech was looking for a chance to prove that they were better than what their record indicated.
The Hokies offense started out a bit stagnant as they scored just 10 points in the first 8:59 of game time. However, they scored 5 points in the last minute of the quarter to keep Miami's lead at just 7, 22-15.
For much of the second quarter, both teams seemed to trade buckets. Miami continued to lead by 7 to 10 points for the majority of the quarter. Yet the Hokies closed out the half on a strong note.
After Miami's Emese Hof knocked down a short jumper to stretch the lead to 10 with 2:08 remaining in the half, Aisha Sheppard answered with a quick three pointer. The Hokies strung together a couple of stops in a row, and Taylor Emery hit another three pointer to trim Miami's lead to 35-31 at halftime.
Once again in the third quarter, the teams seemed to trade buckets for buckets and stops for stops. Neither team was really able to pull away, and Miami led 49-46 going into the final frame.
Miami opened the fourth with an easy layup, but back to back threes from Aisha Sheppard and Trinity Baptiste gave the Hokies their first lead since early in the first quarter.
After another quick two by Miami, Emery knocked down yet another three to give the Hokies a 55-53 lead with 7:21 remaining. Miami would not lead again.
The Hurricanes did manage to tie the game at 58 with 3:12 to go, and a missed three pointer by Mabrey gave them a chance to regain the lead. However, Mykea Gray missed a triple of her own for Miami, and Aisha Sheppard made her three point attempt on the ensuing possession.
Down by 3 with 1:13 to go, Miami decided to start fouling in order to try and extend the game. The Hokies, though, are the #1 team in the country at 79.9% on free throws
Virginia Tech made 12 consecutive free throws to end the game, all of which came from Baptiste and Emery. That allowed the Hokies to capture the 73-65 victory.
Key Stat - Hokies Collect 18 Offensive Rebounds
Virginia Tech was dominant on the offensive glass, picking up 18 offensive rebounds that led to 20 second chance points. Regan Magarity collected 9 offensive rebounds herself during her impressive 19 rebound-night.
Miami's 12 offensive rebounds and 15 second chance points were nothing to scoff at, but they were not quite at the same level as the Hokies'. In a game that Virginia Tech won by exactly 5 points, that just may have been the difference.
The Hokies will travel to Clemson this Sunday in search of their fifth ACC win. Tip off is set for 1 pm on the Virginia Tech IMG Radio Network.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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