Hokies big third-quarter run leads to victory

Virginia Tech women down Auburn 72-63

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Courtesy: Hokiesports.com 

Taylor Emery scored 20 points and Chanette Hicks added 14 to carry Virginia Tech to a 72-63 non-conference victory over Auburn at Carilion Clinic Court on Monday night.

The win moved the Hokies to 2-0 on the season, and they beat Auburn for the second straight year. The game marked the season opener for the Tigers.

“A really good win,” Virginia Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said. “I thought it was a really good win because it was a character win. Watching this team and trying to learn this team all throughout the preseason, I knew we could score and we could get up and down. We’re a finesse team and rely on the 3-point shot a lot, but today’s win was more a character win because I learned a lot about our team. We won in a fashion that I didn’t know we could win. We were gritty, and we were tough.

“Auburn’s a very physical basketball team. They come at you and continue to come at you. You have to handle the adversity. You’re going to make mistakes, and you have to turn the page. I thought our kids did that. It wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t perfect, but I’m learning this team. I like this team, and I found out that we can win in a different way other than outscoring you.

“A really good win for our program. A really good win for this particular team just because I learned a lot about them. I like it. I like the possibilities of where they could go.”

Tech struggled in the first half, shooting just 26.3 percent from the floor and committing 14 turnovers. As a result, the Hokies found themselves trailing 32-28 at halftime.

But the Hokies pulled away in the second half after owning the third quarter. Using a balanced offense, they went on a 20-5 run to grab the lead and never relinquished it. Seven different players scored in the run, and Emery’s 3-pointer with 6:03 left broke a 36-36 to give the Hokies the lead for good. They hit 8 of 15 shots during the period and did not turn the ball over.

Auburn trailed by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter, but cut the lead to 60-54 on a layup by Jessica Jones with 4:59 remaining. Tech, though, answered, as Emery converted a three-point play with 4:23 remaining to push the lead to 63-54, and Auburn got no closer the rest of the way.

Emery made just 4 of 13 from the floor, but connected on 9 of 10 from the free-throw line for the Hokies, who made 15 of 22 from the line for the game. Tech shot 50 percent in the second half and finished at 37.5 percent.

Daisa Alexander scored 19 points to lead the Tigers, who made just 31.9 percent from the floor.

GAME NOTES

• Emery, the national junior college player of the year last season, has scored 20 points in each of the Hokies’ first two games.

Aisha Sheppard celebrated her 19th birthday in style, scoring 11 points and hitting 4 of 6 from the floor, including three 3-pointers.

• The Hokies’ 31 3-point attempts were just two shy of tying the school record of 33 set on two occasions, mostly recently against Duke on Jan. 15, 2015.

• Tech made nine 3-pointers and has now hit at least five 3-pointers in nine consecutive games and in 15 of their past 16 games dating back to last season. The Hokies have hit at least nine 3-pointers in five straight games.

Alexis Jean recorded his first double-double as a Hokie, as the junior college transfer finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

• The Hokies won despite getting just four points from standout center Regan Magarity. The four points marked her fewest in a game since Nov. 19 of last year when she went scoreless in the Hokies’ win at UCF. Magarity did grab 12 rebounds.

UP NEXT

The Hokies return to action Friday when they take on USC Upstate in the third of four straight home games to open the season. Tech holds a 2-0 edge in the series. The game tips off at 9 p.m.

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