Tuesday, February 9, 1999

How 'Bout Those Hokie Women?

And I'm not talking about the co-eds, cheerleaders, or Hi-Techs (by the way, is it High-Techs, or Hi-Techs?  I'm too lazy to look it up, so somebody, let me  know on the message board).

I'm talking, of course, about the Tech women's basketball team, who beat Xavier Friday night at the Cassell in a thriller that harkened back, in a way, to the last-second victory the men had over New Mexico State in the 1995 NIT.  The Cassell was rocking, the opponent was tough, and the Hokies pulled it out at the end.  If you missed my game report on it, click here to read it.

The ladies went on to smash helpless LaSalle Sunday, while in the meantime, Xavier must have taken the loss to heart, because they collapsed at GW on Sunday and got mauled, 99-64.  So Xavier is dead meat in the A-10 West race now, and the Hokies are challenged only by GW, which is 9-2 in the A-10 and visits Tech in the season-ender on February 21st.

Not only that, but I heard it through the grapevine that Xavier's great three-point shooter, Levandusky, punched a wall after the Tech game and seriously injured her hand, perhaps breaking it.  If she did indeed do serious damage to her hand, it will severely cripple Xavier's chances in the A-10 tournament.

(TV Notes - the Tech / GW game will be televised by the A-10 TV network, as will next Sunday's game at Rhode Island.)

For all my gnashing of teeth over Tech's RPI rating, in particular their strength of schedule rating, it all appears to be much ado about nothing.  After downing LaSalle, the Hokies moved up to #3 in the RPI, or so says a message board poster.  The RPI that I rely on - see the link - hadn't updated their site since Friday.

As of that Friday listing, the Hokies had the #38 schedule in the country, which is just fine and should stay right about there, as Tech still has to entertain GW (#45 in Friday's RPI) and then will play in the A-10 tourney.  It's starting to appear that - gulp! - the Hokies might actually get to host the first two rounds at Cassell, unless they inexplicably go into the tank somewhere along the way.  Stay tuned for the outcome there, because I still don't trust the politics involved.

One other note - Roanoke Times columnist Jack Bogaczyk wrote a column about the game, Official's Call Blemishes Great Game.  Not only am I still trying to figure out what a "famale" is (see the second paragraph), but my own personal opinion is that the ref made the correct call.

I was there in person, and I've seen the play on tape three other times, and Amy got hammered on the last shot.  Sure, you don't want the game decided on a referee's call, but you shouldn't allow the defense to declare open season on the offensive team just because there's fewer than three seconds left in the game.  I think the game ended the way it should have.

How 'Bout Those Hokie Men?

With the two victories by the women, the men's victory over GW made it a trifecta for Cassell over the weekend.

Certainly the 77-75 victory over GW was unexpected, and with GW's Shawnta Rogers scoring 29 points in 14 second-half minutes (he finished with 31), it must have been a real barn-burner to watch.  The game had two outstanding characteristics:

1.)  It was Tech's first victory over a Top-50 (RPI rating) team in the Bobby Hussey tenure.

Zowie.  Now you know why so many fans are calling for Bobby Hussey's head.   Although they have played some tough teams well along the way, the fact is, it took 47 games for Tech to record their first victory over a Top-50 opponent.  That'll make the natives restless anyday.

2.)  It took a great offensive effort by Tech to get the win.

The Hokies don't score over 70 points very often - just five times in the 19 games prior to this one, with many of those coming against the likes of Liberty - so 77 points against a quality opponent represents a veritable points explosion.

Along the way, Tech shot 8-14 on three-pointers, including 3-3 by Rolan Roberts, and that was the difference in the game right there.  Other than that, the Hokies did nothing out of the ordinary on offense, shooting 48% (24-50) from the field, 64% (21-33) from the line, and committing 17 turnovers.

After the game, Bobby Hussey uncharacteristically smiled, pumped his fists, and slapped an assistant coach on the back.  He also saluted the crowd of about 5,000, borrowing a trick from the women's team.  Bobby could make some serious headway with the fans if he would come out from behind his video tape machine and do that kind of stuff more often.

I missed the game because I was attending the recruiting roundup, and that's a shame, because I would have paid good money to see Bobby Hussey grinning from ear to ear after a Tech win.


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