After a rocky first quarter, Kenny Brooks' Virginia Tech team made the needed adjustments and cruised to an 82-49 victory over the Monmouth Hawks. Dara Mabrey led all scorers with 26 points on 9-13 shooting, while Regan Magarity added 13 points and 14 rebounds.
"We got off to a funky start, just because they hit some unbelievable threes, and it just kind of threw us out of whack a little bit," said head coach Kenny Brooks. "Once we got our bearings down...we were able to really take off in the second half."
Monmouth got out to a fast start, making four three-point baskets in the first four and a half minutes to take a 17-7 lead. The Hokies had to stick their game plan and keep their heads about them in order to weather the early storm.
"One of the things I did tell them is that they're not going to keep making these shots, but at the same time you can't sit back and just rely on that," said Brooks. "We kept the same game plan, but it was just more of a sense of urgency."
The Hokies did start playing better after the media timeout in the first quarter. Monmouth's Sierra Green had 12 points in the first five minutes of the game, but the Hokies caught on to her quickly. Virginia Tech held Green to just two points in the last thirty-five minutes.
Even though the Hokies improved, they still seemed to be sleep walking a little bit. That is, until freshman Dara Mabrey decided to take over about half way through the second quarter.
Mabrey had fourteen points in second quarter alone. She was shooting well from outside, but she also knocked down a couple of nice floaters in the paint. For most of the game, the Hawks had no answer for her.
"At first, I was attacking, and I didn't know that I was wide open in the paint," said Mabrey. "I just kept recognizing it, and they didn't really adjust, so I just kept taking those little floaters, and they were just falling. The first time I got a couple shots, that just boosts your confidence to keep going."
In the third quarter, the Hokies dominated. They outscored the Hawks 20-8, and they began moving the ball extremely well in order to find open looks.
This success continued in the fourth quarter, and the Hokies started to heat up even more from beyond the ark. In the end, Virginia Tech pulled away for a 33-point win.
Mabrey added 7 rebounds and 2 assists to her game-leading 26 points. Two other Hokies scored in double figures, as both Regan Magarity and Trinity Baptiste had 13 points. Magarity had 14 rebounds, while Baptiste added 8.
"She's a rebounding machine," said Taylor Emery of Magarity after the game. "I think without her rebounds, we'd struggle, so she definitely helps us out a lot."
Magarity also led the team in blocked shots with 6. Rachel Camp led the Hokies with 5 assists, and Kendyl Brooks had an important +32 point differential when she was on the floor.
Key Stat - Hokies outscore Hawks 43-16 in the Second Half
Obviously you have to score more points than the other team to win, so this may seem like a silly stat. However, it is important because of the way the Hokies adjusted on defense. After giving 19 points and five three pointers in the first quarter, Coach Brooks made some very successful adjustments.
In addition, the defense led to offense. The Hokies forced 15 turnovers, which gave them more possessions and more opportunities to score. After allowing Monmouth to shoot 41.7% from beyond the ark in the first quarter, Virginia Tech held them to 0% for the rest of the game.
The women's basketball team gets only a couple of days off before their next game. The Hokies will be back in action against Chattanooga on Monday night at home in Cassell Coliseum.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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