ACC Legends: Sarah Hicks of Virginia Tech

March 1, 2012

Sarah Hicks represented Virginia Tech in two conferences, and with another year or two, she might have added to that total.

That’s a function of timing, of course. It’s also a testament to Hicks’ perseverance and her school’s upward mobility, and it’s an important reason she is honored as the Hokies’ ACC Legend for 2012.

The guard from nearby Roanoke, Va., got her first recruiting contact when Tech was in the Metro Conference. She played in the Atlantic 10 and Big East, earning all-conference distinction in the latter, and graduated two years before the Hokies joined the ACC.

She was a part of teams that played in three NCAA Tournaments and two WNITs and still thinks the greatest thing in her five years was the season she missed with injury. If she didn’t see it all, she was at least in the metro – not the Metro – area because, like any good shooter, she kept on firing away.

It was undeniably an interesting time to be a Hokie basketball player. The school joined the A-10 in 1995 and, its profile boosted by football, became an attractive candidate for a promotion shortly thereafter. The common assumption said Tech would be overwhelmed in the Big East.

Hicks and her teammates, who had made the Hokies into A-10 powers, didn’t listen. In the inaugural season of 2000-01, Hicks shot 39 percent from the 3-point line and averaged 10.7 points and 6.0 rebounds against the big, bad Big East as Virginia Tech went 11-5 in its new home and upended No. 21 Villanova in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

That put Tech into the NCAAs, in which it dispatched Denver and led at Texas Tech for a half before fading.

Hicks, meanwhile, had proven her toughness. She missed the 1998-99 campaign after undergoing surgery on both shoulders and watched in street clothes as the Hokies stunned SEC power Auburn in the second round of that year’s NCAAs to earn a Sweet 16 trip. Years later, Hicks describes the association with that team as the highlight of her Tech tenure.

In her redshirt senior season, Hicks made sure to go out on a high note. She became the third Hokie to earn All-Big East honors with a third-team citation in 2002, when she knocked down 64 3-pointers. Her 22-point effort in the WNIT quarterfinals propelled the program into the semis, in which it took Houston to double overtime before losing.

She finished up as a Verizon Academic All-American and the producer of 1,092 career points. She’s still third on Tech’s career chart for 3-pointers (157) and averaged 10.7 points against Top-20 competition over her time.

If anything, Hicks proved the Hokies belonged, and the success of that era fuels hope of advancement in the ACC.