DURHAM, N.C. – The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team couldn’t stop a late rally from Duke to force overtime and in the extra session the Blue Devils outscored the Hokie 7-2 to secure a 72-67 victory Sunday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tech drops to 12-4 (2-3) and Duke improved to 8-8 (2-3).
It was a back and forth affair in the opening minutes as Elizabeth Kitley scored Tech’s first three points of the afternoon including a jump shot from the elbow and Dara Mabrey hit a triple to give the Hokies a 6-2 lead. But Duke, in a game of runs, went on one through a variety of scorers including All-ACC guard Haley Gorecki to take a 21-12 advantage into the second frame.
The Hokies would steady themselves and race to a 13-2 run of their own behind solid defense and layups from Kitley, Lydia Rivers and Aisha Sheppard. The best player on the floor was dressed in Virginia Tech black, Taja Cole, who controlled the game with her pace, timely shot making and defense.
Cole registered a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while also adding five assists and four steals. She found Sheppard for an open 3-point shot at the 5:15 mark in the second to tie the game and force Duke into a timeout.
Tech’s largest lead was nine in the second half, but Duke kept battling back with sparks coming off the bench in Mikayla Boykin and Miela Goodchild, a 3-point specialist who hit three in the game.
Duke closed out regulation with a 13-4 run, that included forcing several bad shots late in the shot clock as the Hokies could not find their rhythm.
Tech did score 32 points in the paint, thanks in part to Kitley who scored a game-high 21 on eight of 11 shooting. The freshman center just missed out on a double-double with nine rebounds.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- The Hokies had 18 turnovers, which Duke turned into 27 points on the other end.
- Tech had the edge on the glass 39-33.
- Tech assisted on 14 of their 26 made field goals.
- Virginia Tech was only 6 of 25 from beyond the arc (24%).
- Duke's bench scored 39 points, including three double figure scorers (Goodchild 14, Boykin 14, Williams 11) and Tech got five points off of the bench.
- Aisha Sheppard scored in double figures for the 15th time in 16 games this season with her 13 points against the Blue Devils. She continues to lead the team at 16.9 points per game. With her one made 3-pointer at Duke, she’s now hit 18 in the last four games.
- Tech used the same starting lineup for the ninth straight game – Cole, Mabrey, Sheppard, Rivers and Kitley.
- Taja Cole scored 10+ in consecutive games for the first time as a Hokie. First double-double at Tech
- Elizabeth Kitley scored in double figures for the first time since the NC State game (1/2). It was her Second 20-point game of the season, after registering 27 points on opening night vs. Saint Francis.
- The game was the first overtime game in the series (30th game).
NEXT TIME ON THE HARDWOOD•The Hokies will travel to the University of Virginia on Sunday, January 19 for a 3 p.m. contest broadcast on Regional Sports Networks.•Tech is 11-50 all-time against Virginia and 4-24 in Charlottesville. •Last season the Hokies and 'Hoos split the season series with both squads winning on their home floors. Virginia won 62-58 at John Paul Jones Arena after a late comeback and the Hokies earned a 63-45 victory at Cassell Coliseum six weeks later.
NEXT TIME AT CASSELL COLISEUM•Tech returns to Carilion Clinic Court on Thursday, January 23 to take on Boston College at 7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.•The Hokies won last season’s contest against the Eagles in Chestnut Hill 95-86 and have won three in a row in the series. Overall Tech leads 15-12.