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March 13, 2014

Women end hoops season with loss to Clemson

By: Marc Mullen

Four seniors depart, including Uju Ugoka, who earned second-team All-ACC honors, and Monet Tellier, who scored 1,331 points during her career

Monet Tellier finished her career as the ninth-leading scorer in Virginia Tech women’s basketball history.

Less than a week after dismantling Clemson 74-48 on senior night at Cassell Coliseum, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team came up well short of its first ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament win since 2007, as the Tigers got revenge with a 69-56 win over the Hokies in a game that opened the 2014 tournament in Greensboro, N.C. and matched the No. 12 and 13 seeds.

Second-team All-ACC player Uju Ugoka, a senior who brought home the first ACC postseason honor for a Tech player since Utahya Drye earned honorable mention honors in 2009 and Brittany Cook was tabbed a second teamer in 2008, paced the Hokies with 20 points and 10 rebounds, notching her 16th double-double of the season, a single-season record at the school.

Junior Kelsey Conyers scored a career-high 10 points and tied for the team lead with three assists. Conyers came on late for the Hokies, averaging almost 22 minutes per game over the final six contests as opposed to playing just 34 total minutes the prior 24 games,

“It’s disappointing on our end,” Tech coach Dennis Wolff said in the press conference following the game. “But they [Clemson] rebounded from last week and came after the game the right way, so congratulations to them.

“I’m proud of the seniors. I’m proud of Uju, Monet [Tellier], Nia [Evans] and Porschia [Hadley], but we’re really disappointed. We had a bad start to the game. We had foul trouble and missed open shots, and that caused us to lose our composure. I probably didn’t do a good enough job of trying to impress upon the kids that this could happen.”

The Hokies ended the season with a 14-16 mark, their most wins in a single season since 2009-10, and they were 4-12 in the ACC.

Final game for four Hokies, including Tellier

The ACC tournament loss to Clemson marked the final game for a quartet of Hokies – Evans, Hadley, Tellier and Ugoka – and for Tellier, she certainly made a case for herself to be included in the discussion as one of the top 10 players ever at the school. Unfortunately, she played on some rebuilding teams, and that may limit people’s perception of her true ability.

The Hokies went 42-76 during Tellier’s four years, but the Charlotte, N.C., native played all four seasons in the highly competitive ACC. She finished with 1,331 points, ninth all time in the program’s history, and seventh all time in scoring average at 11.3 points a game (min. 100 games played). Not one player on either of those top-10 lists played more than two seasons in the ACC.

Also, only one other member of the 1,000-point club – Amy Wetzel (1996-01) – can claim to have scored that many points and have added at least 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 150 steals in her Hokie career. Tellier’s numbers are very similar to the Tech Hall of Famer’s except when it comes to wins.

Tellier Wetzel
Games 118 129
Points 1,331 1,444
Average 11.3 11.1
Rebounds 590 565
Assists 318 399
Steals 153 235
Wins 42 94

Tellier ended her career ninth all time in field goals made (468), fifth in 3-point field goals made (101), eighth in free throws made (294) and tied for 10th in assists (318). She also finished 28 rebounds and four steals shy of the top 10 in those categories.

Hokies upset nationally ranked Tar Heels

In the midst of a three-game ACC winning streak, something that hadn’t been done since the 2007 season, Tech upset then-No. 11 North Carolina 50-47 at the Carmichael Auditorium in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Feb. 23, marking the first Tech win ever in Chapel Hill.

Freshman Vanessa Panousis tied a career high by scoring a game-high 24 points, while also handing out three assists. She hit 7 of 12 shots, including four 3-pointers to lead the team. Ugoka added 13 points and nine rebounds in the victory, and Tellier pulled down 12 rebounds, one shy of her career high.

“I couldn't be prouder of how our kids played,” Wolff said. “I think we did a good job of trying to control the tempo of the game to some degree. Vanessa Panousis was great, and I really give our kids credit. We’ve had a lot of close games like this. And unfortunately, we haven't closed some of them out. So today we were able to, and it's a great feeling.”

It marked the third straight season that the Hokies have upset a nationally ranked team, as they beat No. 19 Florida State last year at Cassell Coliseum and upset No. 8 Maryland in College Park, Md., back in 2012.

The UNC victory was sandwiched around a 69-62 home win over ACC newcomer Pittsburgh and the Clemson win, which gave the team its first three-game winning streak in league play since 2007.

Back then, Tech won two games on the road – at Wake Forest and Virginia – before beating Miami at home during its three-game winning streak in January of that season.

Panousis sets several freshman school records

A native of Sydney, Australia, Panousis certainly started her career on the right foot. Playing in all 30 games for the Hokies, she set three freshman records at the school and was just 50 points shy of a fourth.

Two records by a freshman that stood for more than 20 years – 3-pointers both made and attempted – were broken by Panousis, as she connected on 58 of 177 during the season. Sarah Hillyer set both records during the 1989-90 season when she went 53 for 138 from behind the 3-point line.

Carrie Mason was knocked off the assists record, as Panousis led the team and handed out 121 this season, passing the mark of 106 set by Mason during the 2002-03 season.

Finally, Kim Seaver set the scoring record for a Tech freshman with 427 points back in 1996-97, as she led the Hokies that season.

Ugoka led Tech this year with 533 points – the fifth-most ever in a single season at Tech – but Panousis added 373 to finish second on the team in scoring.