Virginia Tech 69, Old Dominion 57
by Will Stewart, 12/21/00

Tere Williams scored 19 and Chrystal Starling added 17 to lead the hot-shooting Hokies to a big road win over Old Dominion.

After battling the Lady Monarchs to a 24-24 tie at half time, the Hokies came out firing in the second half, hitting 11 of their first 12 shots and pulling away. Tech repeatedly went inside for easy buckets against a taller ODU team and simply dominated the game in the second stanza.

The first half was a series of runs. After ODU scored first to go up 2-0, the Hokies responded with 7 straight to go up 7-2, but then the Lady Monarchs came right back with 11 points in a row to go up 13-7.

The Hokies put on a 16-6 run to take a 23-19 lead late in the half, but ODU closed strong to knot the score at 24 going into half time.

At that point, there was nothing remarkable about the Hokies' game. They were playing well defensively, but they had only shot 10-24 from the field and had 10 turnovers. In addition, ODU had destroyed the Hokies on the boards, holding a 21-12 rebounding edge.

The second half was a different story.

The Hokies came out strong, pounding the ball down low and getting easy basket after easy basket. At first, ODU took the lead, going up 30-27 with 18:15 remaining, but when ODU's 6-1 senior Hamthetou Maiga went out with an injury, the floodgates opened for Tech.

Maiga had been causing the Hokies problems with her defense, swatting passes away and blocking shots, but when she exited the floor, Tech's inside game took over. The Hokies went on a 12-1 run over the next 3:22 to take a 39-31 lead with 14:53 remaining, and they would never look back.

Despite hitting 11 of their first 12 second half shots, Tech was only up 51-43, because ODU was hitting enough three-pointers to stay close. Several times, ODU was able to cut the lead to 6 points, the last time coming when Maiga, who had returned with about 10 minutes to go, hit a couple of free throws to make it 58-52 with 3:58 to go.

But on Tech's next possession, the Lady Monarchs committed a serious error, fouling Amy Wetzel as she attempted a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. Wetzel made all three free throws to stretch the lead back to 61-52 with 3:28 remaining.

ODU's Okiesha Howard hit a driving shot to make it 61-54, but over the next two minutes, a series of offensive rebounds by the Hokies enabled them to eat up the clock and hold ODU at bay.

In the last 1:17 of the game, Sarah Hicks and Chrystal Starling each went 4-4 from the free throw line for the Hokies. The free throw shooting down the stretch helped increase Tech's 61-54 lead to a 69-55 margin before Maiga made ODU's last shot for the final 69-57 score.

The Hokies played perhaps their best game of the season, and without question their best half. Tech shot 14-23 from the field in the second half and 17-19 from the free throw line, while committing just 6 turnovers in the half. For the game, Tech shot 20-25 from the free throw line and had 16 turnovers. By contrast, in their previous game, an 80-59 blowout at the hands of the Clemson Tigers, Tech had 30 turnovers.

Tere Williams was 8-10 from the field in leading the Hokies with 19 points. In addition to Starling's 17 points, Amy Wetzel added 11 and led the Hokies with 6 assists. Starling led the Hokies with 7 rebounds.

Wetzel, Emily Lipton, and Lisa Guarneri all played point guard for Tech in the game. Guarneri, still nursing a broken right hand, played 12 minutes and had 2 turnovers, a vast improvement from her 8 turnovers in 19 minutes in the Clemson game.

Coming into the game, Old Dominion led the series 21-2. The 57 points scored by ODU are a new season low. Tech, now 7-3 on the season, will take a Christmas break before returning to action at home on Thursday, December 28th against UNC-Asheville in the Lady Luck Classic tournament.


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