Hokies Battle Back To Beat Eagles In First Round Of ACC Tournament, 60-54
March 1, 2007
BY STEVE PHILLIPS
GREENSBORO, N.C -- Virginia Tech basketball coach Beth Dunkenberger knows it isn't about style points at this stage of the game.
Dunkenberger watched her seventh-seeded Hokies struggle offensively most of the way and need overtime to turn back 10th-seeded Boston College, 60-54, in Thursday night's Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Tournament first-round game at the Greensboro Coliseum.
But Virginia Tech (18-13) owns a spot opposite second-seeded North Carolina in Friday's 6 p.m. quarterfinal game.
"At this point, it's about surviving," Dunkenberger said. "It doesn't matter how you get to Round Two -- you just get to Round Two. We are excited to be coming back tomorrow."
The Hokies, who scrapped back from a nine-point deficit with 13 minutes to play in regulation, used a big defensive play and a clutch shot by senior Kirby Copeland to send the game into overtime.
Boston College (13-16) led 52-49 and held possession with 23 seconds to play. But Kindyll Dorsey's long inbounds pass was off the mark and Britney Anderson made the steal for the Hokies.
Anderson passed off to Copeland, who pushed the ball hurriedly upcourt, then connected on a pull-up 3-pointer to tie the score at 52-all with 17.2 seconds showing on the clock.
It was the biggest of many big plays for Copeland, who was limited to nine first-half minutes and two points after picking up three quick fouls. She finished the night with a game-high 19 points.
'When we were down nine (42-33 after a 16-5 Boston College surge to open the second half), I said, `I'm not ready to go home yet,' " Copeland said. "That's what I was thinking. At this point, it's win or go home. I just took shots, and I was confident the shots were going in."
Boston College called two timeouts after Copeland's 3-pointer and got a good look at a winning shot when guard Mickel Picco drove the middle of the lane. The left-handed Picco put up a right-handed shot that bounced at least twice on the rim before rolling off.
"I thought it was worth at least one point because it hung up there so long," Eagles coach Cathy Inglese jokingly contended later. "I was hoping they would give us half a point."
Virginia Tech took the lead for keeps with just over two minutes to play in overtime. Laura Haskins came up with a steal and fed Brittany Cook on the break for a 56-54 lead.
Both players were in on key plays several possessions later. With the Hokies still up by two, Haskins dove on a loose-ball rebound and alertly called timeout with 48.8 seconds to play. Then, with 23 seconds left and the shot clock winding down, Cook claimed an offensive rebound to allow Virginia Tech to maintain possession.
That forced Boston College to foul, and Haskins and Copeland combined to hit four straight free throws in the final 13.1 seconds to put the Eagles away.
Cook and senior center Nare Diwara each finished with 13 points for the Hokies. Picco's 15 points led Boston College, while Dorsey added 14 and Kathrin Ress had 12.
The Eagles lost despite holding the Hokies scoreless for a six-minute stretch late in regulation. The teams finished with near-identical stats that told the story of the defensive struggle -- Boston College shot 36.8 percent (21-of-57) and committed 17 turnovers. Virginia Tech went 21-of-57 from the floor and turned the ball over 16 times. Each team had 37 rebounds.
"Overall, I was pleased with our efforts and how we hung together," Inglese said. "Obviously, I am disappointed with the outcome."