Just a few days removed from a dramatic come-from-behind victory against in-state rival Virginia, Virginia Tech managed to not only build on that performance, but also put together one of its most complete team efforts of the season. The 70-49 victory over Boston College (10-9, 3-5 ACC) was Virginia Tech’s (14-4, 4-3 ACC) first time in school history starting conference play 3-0 at home.
Now sitting above .500 in ACC games, the Hokies put another statement win on their resume for a potential NCAA Tournament bid.
The Hokies got off to a strong start with a 13-5 run in the opening quarter with forward Lydia Rivers contributing two quick buckets.
Tech’s strong play continued for the rest of the quarter, with guard Aisha Sheppard burying a 3-pointer just before the clock ran out. It wouldn’t be Sheppard’s only highlight in the half, as she finished the first two quarters with a team-high 13 points; she shot four-of-five from beyond the arc, with her finest triple coming in the second quarter.
Sheppard was fouled as she shot a deep three that she ended up nailing and getting a 4-point play off of. The shot rocked Cassell Coliseum, and Sheppard made sure to flex her muscles towards Tech’s bench after the shot. Sheppard said that was a move she’s been working on with head coach Kenny Brooks this season.
“We’re a couple games in now so teams know where certain people want to get the ball so she knew exactly what was coming, but she didn’t know the countermove I had,” Sheppard said.
Tech also got strong production from forward Trinity Baptiste in the first half. Baptiste added 12 points of her own after shooting a productive six-of-eight from the floor. Baptiste built off her strong start with one of her strongest performances this season with a 20-point performance off nine-of-12 shooting.
Despite the strong shooting night from Baptiste and Sheppard, it was the defense that was key to the victory. Coming into the game ranked third in the conference in scoring per game, Boston College was supposed to be a tall task for Tech’s defense, yet Boston College never really got much going on the offensive end, shooting just 29% from the field on the evening.
“We knew what was coming, and we took a lot of things away,” Sheppard said. “Scout-wise, I think we were on our p’s and q’s tonight.”
Another highlight from the game was Elizabeth Kitley’s first career 3-point make in the left corner late in the fourth quarter. The freshman buried a corner three with the game all but over that got the Tech bench going crazy for Kitley, who was all smiles for the rest of the game. It was just her second career 3-point attempt this season, with her first coming in the team’s game against Virginia.
Though the score may indicate a perfect performance from the Hokies, they did struggle with turnovers against the Eagles’ defense with 13 turnovers on the night. Clock management was also an issue, with the team struggling to get a shot off on a few possessions.
Nitpicking aside, it was an impressive performance from the team. They’ll look to add to their two-game winning streak on Sunday, Jan. 23, when they take on Clemson at Cassell Coliseum at 1 p.m; Clemson is just 3-5 in conference play this season.