Virginia Tech 57, Virginia 56
by Will Stewart, 11/30/00

Blacksburg, VA -- Amy Wetzel's driving bank shot with 3.7 seconds to go lifted the Hokies to a 57-56 win over #17 Virginia before a crowd of 3,132 in Cassell Coliseum.

With the Hokies holding possession with 13.4 seconds to go, Wetzel drove the left side of the lane, was bumped, and put the shot up. It banked in to give Tech their first lead of the game since they were up 5-4 in the first half.

The Cavaliers were unable to get a shot off on their last possession as Schuye LaRue caught the ball at midcourt and dribbled to the three point line, where she was met by Tech's Chrystal Starling, who forced LaRue into bobbling the ball as time ran out.

The Hokies were led by Wetzel's 17 points. Tere Williams had 13 points and 9 rebounds, and Sarah Hicks had 12 points. Hicks scored 10 of her 12 points in the last 8:38 of the game.

Wetzel's game-winning basket capped a furious comeback by the Hokies, who were down 45-33 with 11:32 to go but went on a 24-12 game-ending run for the win. Sarah Hicks keyed the run with two-three pointers, the second of which tied the game at 54. Hicks's three-pointers were Tech's only three-pointers of the game, and the Hokies took care of the ball down the stretch, committing just 4 turnovers in the last 11:30 after having 19 turnovers in the first 28:30 of the game.

After falling behind 45-33, Tech went on a 13-4 run to close the gap to 49-46 with 7:19 to go. The Hokies finally tied it up at 54 on Hicks's second three-pointer in a row with 2:59 to go.

From there, the game see-sawed over the last three minutes, with key turnovers and shots by both teams. UVa took the lead 56-54 with under two minutes to go, and Tech closed it to 56-55 when Tere Williams went 1-2 from the free throw line with 50 seconds remaining.

After Virginia failed to score on their next possession, the Hokies took over with 13.4 seconds to go, just enough time for Wetzel to work her magic. She took the ball at midcourt, drove left past a pick by Nicole Jones, and popped free in the left hand side of the lane. She was met by a UVa defender, and there was contact. Wetzel nearly walked, but the officials went with a no-call on both the foul and the traveling, and Wetzel banked in a shot for the win.

The Hokies looked to have little chance to win this one throughout a lethargic first half that saw them take a 5-2 lead, only to fall behind 18-7. Tech closed the gap to 27-19 at half time, but the Hokies were struggling to score and were getting beaten down low by an aggressive UVa offense.

Despite a decided first-half advantage in fouls (UVa had 9 fouls, including the first 4 fouls of the game, while Tech only had 5), the Hokies did not get the ball inside and take advantage of the disparity.

Tech had 13 first half turnovers and shot just 7-22 (32%) in the half. In the second half, though, they torched the nets on 14-24 (58%) shooting, good enough to close the gap and win.

The game was played at a deliberate pace. There were only 2 fast-break points for the entire game, scored by UVa.

"I told them not to get caught in an up-and-down (fast break) game with this team," Tech Coach Bonnie Henrickson said, "because they weren't going to win that kind of game."

Henrickson credited the defensive job the Hokies did on Schuye LaRue as being key to the win. LaRue was 2-10 from the field for the game and scored just 4 points. Another big key was when UVa's Dean'na Mitchelson picked up her fourth foul with 9:23 to go and the Hokies down 47-39.

With Mitchelson out, the Hokies found the going much easier inside, enabling Hicks and Tech senior forward Tere Williams to work inside. After getting outscored in the paint 16-12 in the first half, the Hokies outscored UVa from inside 20-12 in the second half.

Tech was limited all night long by Virginia's size advantage, but the Hokies still managed to piece together enough of an inside and outside game to pull together the win.

When asked if her game-winning shot against an in-state rival was like a dream come true, Wetzel responded, "Yes, but tomorrow we've got to get up and prepare for another game, and get ready to play Richmond (on Saturday in Richmond)."

The victory was Tech's second win over UVa in the last three years. Tech head coach Bonnie Henrickson is now 9-0 against in-state teams in Cassell Coliseum. box score


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