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Down in a Blaze of Glory: Virginia Tech Edges Out UAB

Shame on the people who left the doubleheader early.  Even by five-thirty, it wasn't snowing hard enough to be a hazard, but more of the UT-Arlington fans stuck around than did the St. John's people (as few of them as there were).  Much respect for the Virginia Tech fans who made it up in this weather, though.  I know a bunch of them were there for one of the Hokies who's from New York, but still.

Because my mother ran into a friend of one of the Blazers at the bus stop and brought her over to sit with us, we were rooting for UAB in that game.  Their coach is very... intense.  And tall.  And I don't know if she intended for her sharp skirtsuit to be in Virginia Tech maroon, but it was, and it was beautiful.

There was a bit of roster fail with the cards that St. John's gave out; #25, Erica Simpson, was not listed, which was inconvenient when she picked up two fouls and a field goal in the second half.  Khalilah Watson played a lot in the second half and overtime.  Shelly Breaux had a well-timed lay-up.  LaKenya Lowe had a good putback.  TaRonda Randall needs to learn how to control her body, because she can be a lot more effective that way.  Unfortunately, the player who had us rooting for UAB, Meagan Brown, didn't get in the game.  I feel vaguely cheated.  It's okay, though; the lady we sat with was very cool.  One thing that impressed me about UAB's bench was their ability to make big plays down the stretch.

Wow, Amanda Peterson's shooting.  She was taking threes from deeper than NBA range- and some of them were going in.  She's the kind of player who goes to the floor for hustle plays, too.  I'd love to see her go up against another redheaded firecracker, Mickel Picco from BC.  Jala Harris hit some ridiculous shots, and took some ridiculous shots; there was one point where I found myself yelling, "You're not Mark Jackson!  I know it's easy to get confused here, but you're not Mark Jackson!"  I like Amber Jones's feistiness, though she has the strangest shot I believe I've ever seen, and that's impressive, because I've seen a lot of shooters.  Big block for Tamika Dukes, who really upped her game in the second half and the overtime and helped the Blazers come back from a five-point halftime deficit.  If they'd been able to hit their free throws late, they might have pulled this game off.

Virginia Tech has a lot of sweet strokes, and they brought a lot of players with size, which worries me for tomorrow.  Nikki Davis impressed me off the bench late in the game- she had a knack for being in the right place at the right time, whether it was to get her shot in or get a steal or a rebound.  Shani Grey was really good at being in the wrong place at the wrong time, in contrast to Davis.  Abby Redick's a bruiser- I think Coco's going to need an ice bath tomorrow.

Senior Lindsay Biggs might get a look by pro scouts (or who at least should get a look from scouts), because she's a strong guard with a pretty shot.  IMO, she's worth at least a camp look.  Utahya Drye has a way of getting to the line that doesn't bode well for tomorrow.  Shanel Harrison was handicapped by foul trouble, so she didn't get to do much.  Brittany Gordon worried me, but she doesn't impress me.  She should be taking more shots than she is- there were two occasions that I can think of off the top of my head where she had the ball in good offensive position, close enough to the basket for a good shot, with the defense too far away to do anything about it, and she passed off instead.  Brittany, you're six-four and broad-shouldered.  GO TOWARDS THE HOLE.  (But not until Monday.)  The player who really impressed me for Virginia Tech is just a freshman, Alyssa Fenyn, the New York kid who brought family, even if I don't know where Newark, NY is.  (I know where Newark is in Joisey, and I think I could find it in Delaware, but Newark, NY is a new one for me.)  She's strong, she's tough, and she gets things done.  She's still a rookie in some ways, up to the technical she got when she got tangled up with Khalilah Watson.  Great potential, though.

Another unevenly reffed game, but I think after they gave the techs, things settled down.

The Blazers never gave up.  Whatever Coach Smith said in the locker room at the half, they started rebounding and following their shots much better than they were in the first.  A lot of tenacity, a lot of toughness.  They just don't have the height or the gas to go the full forty... or forty-five, as the case may be.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's games, even if they start an hour earlier and we'll be tromping through the snow to get to the arena.  Just remind me to bring my umbrella.


Virginia Tech Hokies 68, UAB Blazers 66 (OT)