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Rust factor leads to second straight loss for Virginia Tech Women

Azana Baines made her debut as a Hokie after learning she would be eligible for the season earlier this week.

Florida State's Sara Bejedi 5 is surrounded by Virginia Tech defenders before passing the ball during the forth quarter of an NCAA college basketball game in Blacksburg Va., Thursday, December 31 2020. Florida State won the game 73-63. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, Pool)
Florida State's Sara Bejedi 5 is surrounded by Virginia Tech defenders before passing the ball during the forth quarter of an NCAA college basketball game in Blacksburg Va., Thursday, December 31 2020. Florida State won the game 73-63. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, Pool) (Matt Gentry)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – In their first game in two weeks, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team came up short to Florida State 73-63.

The Seminoles started the game shooting lights out from beyond the arc, draining 6 three pointers in the first half. Sammie Puisis and Morgan Jones each dropped 15 points while Kourtney Weber contributed 14.

The Hokies were led by Aisha Sheppard who scored 21 points in 39 minutes of play. Elizabeth Kitley’s offensive production was limited for the first half thanks to the Seminoles stifling defense in the paint. The sophomore did finish with a double-double, 16 points and 13 rebounds. Virginia Tech only trailed by 6 at halftime but was outscored 22-9 in the third quarter.

Florida State increased its lead to as many as 22 early in the fourth quarter until Kenny Brooks’ crew fought back with a 18-3 run with big shots from Sheppard, Kitley and Duke transfer Azana Baines. The deficit was cut to as little as 6 before FSU cemented it with more late buckets.

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“You’re not going to win basketball games the way we played today. We have a lot we need to work on and time to do it,” said head coach Kenny Brooks.

The Hokies committed 20 turnovers which turned into 18 points for the Seminoles.

“We’re not playing well defensively at all. It starts out front We get hit with a lot of ball screens and we’re not handling them properly. It’s something we worked on but we have to carry it over and get better at it,” Brooks said.

Thursday was the first time the Hokies had played a game in two weeks after their Dec. 20 matchup with Virginia was postponed.

“We were rusty. I was looking at the kids like ‘what are you doing?’ We were a step off and didn’t have tempo. We just didn’t have that flow.”

The Hokies wanted to force Florida State to take shots but weren’t expecting the ‘Noles to catch fire early.

“Florida State did a really good job hitting shots. We went over scout and things and initially coming in to this game they weren’t shooting that well but it was one of those games where their shooters got hot,” said Hokies guard Aisha Sheppard.

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Virginia Tech hopes to keep the rust off as they now have a week off before welcoming in No. 3 North Carolina State to Cassell Coliseum on Jan. 7


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