Monday, January 14, 2013

Rims, Terps give Virginia Tech women no breaks

Virginia Tech shot 28 percent as the Hokies suffered their fourth straight ACC loss.

Special to the Roanoke Times

Maryland's Chloe Pavlech (back) pressures Virginia Tech's Uju Ugoka on Sunday in Blacksburg.

Photos by Associated Press

Maryland's Chloe Pavlech (back) pressures Virginia Tech's Uju Ugoka on Sunday in Blacksburg.

Maryland's Tierney Pfirman (22) looks to shoot against Virginia Tech's Lauren Evans (10) on Sunday. The Terps beat the Hokies 74-45.

Maryland's Tierney Pfirman (22) looks to shoot against Virginia Tech's Lauren Evans (10) on Sunday. The Terps beat the Hokies 74-45.

Virginia Tech Hokies basketball

Berman Courtside

BLACKSBURG - If only the rims were a couple inches wider, the Virginia Tech Hokies might have been able to play with No. 10 Maryland. The standard rims were too unforgiving, too restrictive and just a smidge too small all afternoon for the Hokies as they fell to the Terps 74-45 in Cassell Coliseum.

The problem wasn't getting the ball to the hoop, it was getting the ball through the hoop as shot after shot drew iron on the inside of the cylinder before falling away.

Virginia Tech coach Dennis Wolff said he has no fault with effort or shot selection, just the luck of the bounces that didn't go the way of the Hokies.

"In a whole bunch of sequences we had shots that didn't go, some really good shots," Wolff said. "Obviously we have to shoot better than 27 percent in a game like this."

Rounding up, the actual figure was 28 percent, but Wolff's point is valid - beating a top 10 team like Maryland will require scoring and the Hokies (7-9, 1-4) haven't had much of that in their last four ACC games, averaging a shade under 46 points in the four straight losses.

In addition to having trouble coaxing a field goal from short range, Tech was shutout from distance, missing all eight attempts from behind the three-point line.

The Terps, by contrast, shot 54 percent (27-for-50) from the field and 75 percent (6-for-8) from three-point range.

"We are what we are on offense," Wolff said. "We really don't have a point guard and we really don't have anybody who can beat you off the dribble, so we try to manufacture some offense other ways,"

Maryland (13-3, 4-1) was expected to be a tall task for Tech, which was made all the harder when they played a game Terps coach Brenda Frese called "dominating."

"I'm really proud that we could come in here and play a good team like Virginia Tech and get a dominating win," Frese said.

The reasons for the domination could be found in the numbers, but the main number was 25. Not a statistic, 25 was on the jersey of Alyssa Thomas, a player Wolff called "one of the best in the country."

Thomas recorded a double-double before halftime and finished with 26 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. She did so while playing four positions - point guard, shooting guard, the wing and the post.

"To watch [Thomas] tonight showing what makes her so special, you saw her versatility, played all four positions, especially when we were in some foul trouble in the first half," Frese said.

"Our defense was really good. They have a lot of great actions they run but we were locked in and did a really nice job," she said.

Trailing by 13 at the half, the Hokies found themselves down by 18 less than four minutes into the second half. But two quick baskets by newcomer Uju Ugoka and a lay-up by Alyssa Fenyn cut the lead to 12 and seemed to turn momentum toward the home team. The Hokies then forces turnovers on the Terps' next three possessions, but missed two open shots and had a turnover of their own to come no closer.

Maryland was able to pull away by making every possession difficult.

"I have no issue with our girls. None," Wolff said, citing the effort that forced Maryland to turn the ball over 22 times and allowed the Hokies to gather in 18 offensive rebounds. Those rebounds, however, didn't offer much on the score sheet, leading to only three second-chance baskets.

Ugoka led the Hokies with 12 points, followed by 11 from onet Tellier, who was battling the flu and was a game-time decision.

The Hokies next play at No. 4 Duke on Wednesday.

MARYLAND (13-3)

Hawkins 7-13 0-2 14, Pfirman 4-7 1-1 11, Thomas 8-17 10-12 26, DeVaughn 0-0 0-0 0, Pavlech 0-1 0-0 0, Austin 2-3 0-0 5, Howard 3-5 0-0 7, Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Rutan 3-4 3-3 11. Totals 27-50 14-18 74.

VIRGINIA TECH (7-9)

Young 0-2 0-0 0, Ugoka 5-13 2-5 12, Campbell 2-6 0-0 4, L. Evans 1-4 0-0 2, Tellier 4-17 3-6 11, Wilson 1-2 0-0 2, Fenyn 3-9 0-0 6, N. Evans 1-7 2-3 4, Kiss-Rusk 0-1 0-0 0, Hadley 2-5 0-1 4, Lloyd 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-68 7-15 45.

Halftime-Maryland 37-22. 3-Point Goals-Maryland 6-8 (Rutan 2-2, Pfirman 2-3, Austin 1-1, Howard 1-1, Hawkins 0-1), Virginia Tech 0-8 (Wilson 0-1, Fenyn 0-1, Ugoka 0-1, Young 0-1, L. Evans 0-1, Tellier 0-3). Fouled Out-Hawkins. Rebounds-Maryland 43 (Thomas 18), Virginia Tech 33 (N. Evans 7). Assists-Maryland 19 (Thomas 6), Virginia Tech 9 (Fenyn, Wilson 3). Total Fouls-Maryland 16, Virginia Tech 15. A-1,674.

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