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March 14, 2012

Tech women's hoops team sees season end with loss to Wake at ACC Tournament

By: Marc Mullen

Competing until the final horn sounded on its season, Virginia Tech closed to within four points of Wake Forest in the closing minute of its first-round ACC Tournament matchup, but came up short, as the Hokies ended their season with an 80-74 loss to the Demon Deacons on March 1.

Leading the Hokies, as they had all season long, were sophomore Monet Tellier and junior Aerial Wilson, who scored 23 and 20 points, respectively, and each logged more than 30 minutes of action in the contest.

“We’re very sorry that the season is over,” first-year Tech head coach Dennis Wolff said after the loss. “I couldn’t be any more proud of a group of kids. They literally played to the last possession of the season, so I think that bodes well for their character and how we are going to try to run the program going forward.”

Playing the 2011-12 season with a limited roster, which became even smaller in the frontcourt after injuries, numerous player set career highs in minutes played, which comes as no surprise. For example, forward Porschia Hadley saw 481 minutes of playing time during conference play. Before this season, only three women had more minutes played in an ACC season, with Utahya Drye (2008-10) eclipsing that three times.

Brittany Cook was the leader with 495 minutes played during the 2008 season, but that was blown out of the water, as Wilson (566), Tellier (557) and junior Alyssa Fenyn (549) all pushed past the 500-minute mark.

Only once this season had those three played less than 25 minutes. Wilson turned in the most, as she played all 45 minutes in Tech’s overtime loss to Clemson at Cassell Coliseum in early February.

Help is on the way for the Hokies, though, for a 2011-12 roster with just four juniors and no seniors. The staff inked three players last November during the early signing period, including a pair of guards and a forward.

At the time of the announcement, Wolff said, “They are all good students, and they are all basketball players who will add a lot to our program. All three players will immediately compete for playing time.”

True, no athlete likes to see his or her playing time cut, but given the lack of depth this past season, the three incoming freshmen will be a welcomed addition to the women’s basketball squad.

Wilson makes the most of her PT

At the start of the season, the reigns to the offense were handed over to Wilson, and she made the most of it. She started 29 of 30 games played and easily topped all of her previous season highs.

In fact, her totals over her first 55 games played in a Tech uniform – as a freshman and sophomore – were more than doubled during the 2011-12 season, except in minutes played, as she only played about 200 more minutes this season than the other two seasons combined.

The Cocoa, Fla., native was second on the team, just behind Tellier, in points (362), field goals made (139), 3-point field goals made (35) and free throws made (49), and was second in assists (87), one shy of Fenyn’s 88. She finished third on the team in steals (41).

Her 1,068 minutes played this season were the fifth-most ever played by a Hokie and her 208 points scored in ACC action were the third-most behind Cook’s 250 in 2008 and Kirby Copeland’s 212 in 2007.

Hokies welcome Evans back for final games

After missing the majority of the season because of an injury, a span that included 13 straight ACC contests, sophomore Nia Evans returned to the lineup for the final four games of the season.

Limited in action through the first three games back – a high of 17 minutes came against Georgia Tech in which she was 3 of 3 from the field and had three rebounds and two blocks – Evans reached double figures for the first time this season with 12 points in the ACC Tournament first-round game against Wake Forest.

The Decatur, Ga., native was 4 of 5 from the floor and hit 4 of 6 from the free-throw line. She also pulled down four rebounds – three offensive – and blocked another shot, and she collected three steals.

Tellier establishes ACC scoring mark

With her 23-point effort in the loss to Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament, Tellier set a new ACC Tournament single-game scoring record by a Tech player, surpassing the 21 points scored by Drye in 2009 against Virginia.

The Charlotte, N.C., native hit 7 of 15 shots from the floor, which included four 3-point baskets, and was a perfect 5 of 5 from the free-throw line. She added five rebounds, two blocks and a steal and an assist to her totals.

The sophomore also helped Tech shoot a season-high 47.4 percent from the floor in the contest, eclipsing the previous high of 46.2 percent against Georgia Tech set the previous week.

The 74 points were also the third-highest scoring output for the team this season, only less than the 77 points scored at Old Dominion in the season opener and the 75 in the Hokies’ upset win at Maryland, the eventual ACC Tournament champions.