Coming of a crushing loss to the No. 7 NC State Wolfpack this past Thursday, the Hokies matched up with another North Carolina school as they took on the North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have a strong home record as they came into the game with 11 wins and only two losses at home. The Hokies on the other hand have struggled a bit on the road as their away record coming into the game was 2-4. However, records do not mean everything as the Hokies took down the Tar Heels 72-63.
The game was close from the start to the finish. Despite the close ending, the Hokies led for most of the game as they were up for over 30 minutes of the game. The two teams matched up evenly as both squads nearly put up identical numbers. North Carolina and Virginia Tech turned over the ball 14 times each and had the same number of defensive rebounds (31). Virginia Tech is quite dominant when it comes to defensive rebounds as it ranks in the top 15 teams in the NCAA for defensive rebounds per game (29.8).
Though the stat line was quite similar, the three stats that helped and ultimately carried Virginia Tech to this victory were 3-point shooting, blocks and second-chance points. The Hokies were a defensive powerhouse in the afternoon matchup as they recorded seven blocks to North Carolina’s one.
Though UNC and Virginia Tech had nearly the same number of offensive rebounds, the Hokies were able to capitalize as they translated it into 15 second chance points. The Tar Heels on the other hand only had eight second-chance points.
Both teams did not shoot well from the 3-point line. The 3-point shot was not helpful to the Hokies as they shot 29% (6-21), but it certainly hurt the Tar Heels more as they shot a dreadful 9% (1-11) from 3-point range.
The scoring load was predominantly shared among three players: junior guard Aisha Sheppard, freshman center Elizabeth Kitley and sophomore guard Dara Mabrey. All three Hokies put up double-digit points: Sheppard with 15, Mabrey with18 and Kitley with 17 pts.
Junior forward Trinity Baptiste, graduate student guard Taja Cole and graduate student forward Lydia Rivers held down the rebounding as both Baptiste and Cole grabbed eight boards apiece and Rivers grabbing seven of her own.
The Hokies now move up to 17-6 overall on the season and 7-5 in the ACC. Virginia Tech will play its next game at home in Cassell Coliseum in another ACC matchup against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-8, 7-6).