‘Canes pull out OT win

Convocation Center drought comes to an end
Hurricane Sports Writer
After losing their first two games in the brand new Convocation Center, the Lady ‘Canes basketball team got a tough victory, beating Virginia Tech 67-66 in overtime Tuesday night. Despite hitting just one of 13 three-point shots, missing 16 of their 26 free throws, getting out-rebounded 55-43, and shooting a paltry 25 percent from the field in the first half, the ‘Canes managed enough defense to come out victorious.
The Hokies only scored 18 points in the first half and didn’t lead until the 11:13 mark of the second half. Although V-Tech shot 25 percent in the first half, they found a way to beat the ‘Canes defense and score 36 points in the second half.
Riding on the shoulders of their 6-2 junior center Shaquana Wilkins, who led the ‘Canes with 19 points, the ‘Canes extended their largest lead of the game to nine points with only 3:11 left to play in regulation. From that point on the ‘Canes would only score one more time as they let the Hokies chip away at their lead and eventually tie the game.
Head Coach Ferne Labati, who fell over as she jumped in frustration on the sideline, said, “Shaq [Wilkins] came through really big for us, especially in the second half. She’s a very stable person who you know you can depend on because she’s very personable.”
Freshman phenom Tamara James and Yolanda McCormick both missed the front end of one-and-one free throw attempts with less than two minutes to go, giving the Hokies confidence and the chance to come back. Virginia Tech freshman Carrie Mason, who scored a game-high 24 points, hit two foul shots with just over a minute to go, pulling the Hokies within three points.
On the Hokies next possession, Mason calmly came down the court and nailed a three pointer to tie the game at 54 points with 25 seconds to go. The ‘Canes had one more shot at winning the game when the Hokies fouled James as she drove to the basket. Miami’s free-throw woes continued as James missed her free-throw attempt. Virginia Tech got the rebound but failed to get off a shot before time expired.
Halfway through the overtime period, James hit two free throws to put Miami in the lead for good. The Hokies did however come very close to making another comeback.
After building a five point lead with a little over two minutes remaining, the ‘Canes allowed the Hokies to pull within one point. Again the Hokies resorted to fouling the ‘Canes. James missed two foul shots that could have extended Miami’s lead, but the ‘Canes defense came through as Meghan Saake blocked the next Hokie shot. The Hokies fouled Saake and she too missed both of her foul shots.
With only five seconds remaining the Hokies made a mad dash down the floor to attempt a last second shot but Chanivia Broussard stole the ball to end the game. Broussard, who led Miami in points her first two seasons made her first start against Virginia Tech.
The ‘Canes host Villanova tomorrow night at the Convocation Center.

You can reach Nate Johnson at NPJ44@aol.com.