BLACKSBURG, Va. – Courtesy of Hokiesports.com:
Behind four Hokies scoring in double figures, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team defeated George Mason 78-69 in the second round of the WNIT at Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
The Hokies (20-13, 6-10 ACC) advance to the third round of the tournament, while the Patriots’ (24-10, 11-5 Atlantic 10) season has concluded. With Tech reaching the 20-win plateau for the second straight season, it marks the first time accomplishing the feat since the 2002-03, 2003-04 stretch.
With things knotted at 11-11 to begin the contest, Tech finished the first quarter scoring 10 of the next 14 points to take a 21-15 lead behind 3-pointers from forward Alexis Jean and guard Aisha Sheppard.
Tech would extend its lead to kick off the second frame, going up by 13 points at the 2:31 mark following a steal and layup in transition from redshirt junior Rachel Camp to force a George Mason timeout.
The story of the opening half was the Hokies racking up 17 points off of turnovers, giving them an 18-point cushion heading into the locker room at 43-25.
The Patriots chipped away at the deficit to begin the third quarter, cutting it to a 10-point game at the 5:13 mark after Natalie Butler scored six points during the stretch to force a Tech timeout. Tech responded, though, with junior Taylor Emery scoring six consecutive points to push the lead back to 15 points.
Similar to the start of the third quarter, the fourth entailed George Mason trimming the lead, as the Patriots cut it to an eight-point game. However, redshirt junior Regan Magarity sank back-to-back shots from downtown to get it back to a double-digit lead, which proved to be too much for the Patriots’ chances of completing the comeback, as Tech held them off down the stretch with hitting nine free throws.
Butler led the way for George Mason, registering 26 points and 20 rebounds. The 20 rebounds were one away from tying the Cassell Coliseum record for most by an opponent against Tech, which was Florida State’s Glenda Stokes set it on Jan. 16, 1982, with 21 rebounds.
• Emery continues to extend her lead on the most points scored in Tech history in a single season, owning 587. Amy Byrne tallied 561 points in the 1989-90 season and sits second all-time. Emery scored a team-high 23 points and pulled down four rebounds.
• Magarity swiped four steals, tying a season high, while adding 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists. The 17 points were her most since Feb. 8 against North Carolina.
• Sheppard filled up the stat sheet, turning in eight points, three assists and tied two career highs with four rebounds and three steals.
• Camp also got it done on the defensive end, collecting two steals, which is the sixth time this season the North Carolina native has owned two or more steals in a game. It was her first time owning at least two since Jan. 11. Camp had 10 points and four rebounds.
• For the third time this year, Jean nailed three triples in a contest to tie a career high. The junior finished the game with a near double-double effort of 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and steals.
QUOTING KENNY BROOKS
“First and foremost, I’m really proud of the fact that this is our second year in a row of getting 20 wins, especially considering everything that we have gone through this year,” head coach Kenny Brooks shared. “I’m very proud of the kids and their resiliency.
“So, to get to this point, I’m very happy for the kids because they deserve it. Today’s game, it was good. The motto of the year right now is survive and advance.”
STAT OF THE GAME
• Tech made nine 3-pointers, marking its fourth consecutive game of making seven or more from beyond the arc. In its last four contests, it has nailed 35 3-pointers.