Since the calendar turned to 2013, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team has had trouble finding success.
The team heads into its game at Georgia Tech on Friday night having lost nine straight ACC games after opening conference play with a win against Wake Forest at home on Dec. 22.
The Hokies are averaging just 42.67 points per game during the losing streak, topping the 50-point mark just once. Tech just simply isn’t shooting the ball well.
For the season, the field goal percentage is a staggeringly low 35.5 percent. From three-point range, the number is worse, sitting at 21.5 percent. If Tech is going to turn it around, it has to start on offense.
One reason for the offensive struggles is that Tech averages just 11.6 assists on about 19 made field goals per game. If the Hokies can create easier shots for teammates, both of those numbers will improve and so will the scoring.
The bright spot for the Hokies has been junior college transfer Uju Ugoka, who is averaging 13 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. After sitting out due to eligibility concerns earlier this season, Uju has been great, scoring in double figures six times and recording two games with double-digit rebounds. Her offense will be key for the Hokies as they continue ACC play.
Defensively, Tech is only allowing opponents to shoot 37.5 percent from the field and score 55.2 points per game, but the biggest issue is the three-point defense: teams are shooting 33.5 percent from long range against them, which is 298th in the nation. Additionally, the Hokies don’t force many turnovers on the defensive end, and their minus-1.8 turnover margin is 247th in the country.
Georgia Tech comes into the matchup trending the opposite way, riding a two-game winning streak into Friday’s matchup. The Yellow Jackets defeated Wake Forest and Virginia last week.
The Yellow Jackets are led by two-time ACC Player of the Week, junior guard Tyaunna Marshall. In the two wins last week for Georgia Tech, Marshall scored 53 points while pulling down 27 rebounds, including a career-high 17 against Wake Forest, all while shooting 50 percent from the floor. She has also had 10 assists and seven steals in the lasttwo games.
In addition to Marshall, the Yellow Jackets have two other players averaging double figure scoring: guards Brittany Jackson and Dawnn Maye.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jackets create much havoc, forcing opponents into 20.2 turnovers per game. Their defensive pressure will be a test for the Hokies offense that has struggled to score. The Yellow Jackets also boast an impressive rebounding margin of plus-4.0, which may give the Hokies some problems as well.
Coach Dennis Wolff is in his second year as the head coach of the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team, but the program is still a work in progress. Wolff has brought in some solid young players like Lauren Evans, Taijah Campbell and Hanna Young, but the young team needs some more time to learn and mature under Wolff.
Getting an ACC road victory would be a big step, as the Hokies are 0-8 in road games this year.
Tip off is at 8:30 p.m Friday and will be broadcast on RSN/ESPN3.