Virginia Tech 78, JMU 60
by Greg Kessler, 11/22/00 recap box score

The Hokie women's basketball team ran their record to 2-0 tonight with a 78-60 win over James Madison.

The early part of the game was very similar to the how the Liberty game began Friday night as the Hokies opened with a quick 11-2 run. Amy Wetzel was huge in the opening minutes, scoring seven of the eleven points to give Tech the early momentum. Unfortunately, starting point guard Emily Lipton got two quick fouls (the referees were calling the slightest touch all night) and just like at Liberty, Wetzel (and later Chrystal Starling) running the point proved to be much less productive.

Fortunately, though the Dukes were initially able to cut the early nine-point lead, they began to self-destruct offensively and key shots by Wetzel, Nicole Jones, and Sarah Hicks allowed the Hokies to enjoy a comfortable 41-30 halftime lead.

The opening of the second half marked the first time this season the Hokies haven't dominated the beginning of a period. With sloppy play on both ends of the court, the Dukes began with a 6-0 run which cut the lead to five points. From that point, the Hokies steadied the game and the lead began to slowly grow until the final margin.

One huge positive in this stretch was the play of true freshman Ieva Kublina. Though still a bit hesitant on the boards (she had one or two that got taken away that she needed to grab a little more firmly), Kublina played huge, scoring 9 second-half points and blocking two shots, helping to get the crowd into the game.

While Wetzel scored 18 points and gave out six assists, usual star Tere Williams was clearly not on top of her game tonight. Though she finished in double figures, she was stuck at three points until well into the second half and missed several close shots and key free throws. On the other hand, Nicole Jones (who got the start in the middle tonight) and Sarah Hicks both played much better than on Friday night. Hicks still isn't hitting her 3-pointers as well as she probably should, but tonight's performance was a huge step in the right direction.

Final notes on the game:

  • Mollie Owings still does not seem to be getting the time she deserves. After being the first substitution when Lipton got into foul trouble, she didn't make another appearance in the first half until there were less than two minutes left. Clearly this team has incredible depth, but a player with her ability to be at the right place and get the ball to the right place needs to be in the game more often. On a negative note, with about eight minutes left in the second half, Owings limped off the floor with an apparent ankle injury after having just entered the game. She still seemed to have a slight limp as the players exited after the game, but it didn't seem too serious.
  • Emily Lipton did not seem nearly as polished today as against Liberty. The early foul trouble could have gotten her out of her rhythm, but her shots were off and her passes weren't crisp. Again though, she was 4-for-4 in free throws in the closing minutes, further cementing the idea that she is a player who you want holding the ball at the end of close games.
  • The attendance was atrocious! Last night, 2,480 people (myself mercifully not included) watched the Hokie men score 46 points in a loss to William & Mary. Tonight, only 1,572 watched the Hokie women score 48 in the FIRST half! There is great basketball to be watched in Cassell Coliseum and as the games get tougher, the team is going to need support! The next home game is Thursday, November 30 against nationally-ranked Virginia.
  • Tonight marked James Madison's second loss this year to a Big East team. They lost by five (75-70) at Georgetown, who was picked to tie at fifth in the conference with the Hokies in the preseason.


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