Virginia Tech 71, Providence 64
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com 2/21/01
Blacksburg, VA -- Down by 3 points with seven minutes to go in the game, the Hokie women, led by freshman Ieva Kublina, went on a 13-0 run to pull ahead and grab a brutal, foul-plagued 71-64 win over Providence.
It was Senior Night for the Hokies, but on a night when only one of their two seniors -- Amy Wetzel -- played and scored just 6 points, Kublina came up big with 18 points and 11 rebounds, leading Virginia Tech in both categories.
With leading scorer and rebounder Tere Williams benched due to a knee injury, the Hokies (18-7 overall, 9-5 Big East) found themselves down 55-52 with 7:14 to go when Providence's Andre Horvath hit a layup.
The Friars would not score again until Dani Trippany hit a jumper with 2:29 remaining in the game. In the meantime, powered by 8 points from Kublina and 5 more from Sarah Hicks, the Hokies put together a 13-0 run to go up 65-55, and Trippany's shot made it 65-57. Providence would not get closer than 7 points the rest of the way, as Chrystal Starling scored Tech's last 6 points down the stretch.
The 13-0 run broke open a game that had been a physical, seesaw battle. The Hokies and Friars were whistled for 51 fouls, and there were 20 lead changes, the last coming when Tech took the lead 57-55 on a layup by Kublina with 5:48 to go.
Tech took 42 free throws, making 30 (71.4%), and Providence went 16-27 from the stripe (59.3%). Remarkably, only one player -- Providence's Jenese Wilcox -- fouled out, and that was fortunate for the Hokies. Wilcox scored 10 points in just 16 minutes and was giving the Hokies trouble inside until she picked up her third foul late in the first half. Wilcox had 10 points in 12 minutes in the first half, but played just four scoreless minutes in the second half before fouling out.
Senior Night proved to be a personal disappointment for Wetzel, who struggled to find her shot, going 2-9 and scoring just 6 points in 33 minutes. But Kublina and Starling each put up 18 points to carry Tech to the win. Tech fans may have gotten a glimpse of the future in this game, as Starling and Kublina are two of the players that the Hokies will look to for leadership next year, after the departure of Williams and Wetzel.
For Kublina, the performance helped soothe the wounds from her 0-14 performance against Boston College in Tech's prior game, a 65-59 Hokie loss. She was 5-9 from the field and 8-10 from the free throw line in this game, and 5 of her 11 rebounds came on the offensive end.
Providence fell to 9-15 with the loss (3-11 in the Big East). The Hokies' bid to finish fourth in the Big East is still alive, and they are guaranteed that placement if they can win their last two games, on the road at Seton Hall (on Feb. 24th) and St. John's (Feb. 27th).