By: Rodrigo Alviles
Photo Credit: Charlie Alexander
In a continuation of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 67-54. This was only the second match-up between the two teams. The first game resulted in a Hokie defeat by a score of 80-62 in West Lafayette, Indiana. That was all the way back in 2003. This time however, the Hokie evened up the series. Both teams came into the game with a record of 6-1 and both teams lost their game previous games. The Boilermakers lost to Gonzaga 63-50 in the Gulf Coast Showcase while the Hokies lost to Georgia 77-72 in the Daytona Beach Invitational. The Hokies took a 20-13 lead after the first ten minutes. Some solid defensive play allowed the Hokies to take a quick lead. Dara Mabrey hit two threes for six points in the first leveling her with Trinity Baptiste for the most in the quarter. Tamara Farquhar had five points for Purdue, the most for her team in the quarter. Purdue was able to put together a stronger second quarter outscoring the Hokies 14-9, but were still trailing 29-27. The Boilermakers were able to capitalize on points from the turnover as well as their second chance points. For Virginia Tech, their shooting took a drastic drop. In the first quarter, the team was shooting at 57 percent from the field and it dropped down to 23 percent the following quarter. With three seconds left in the quarter, Baptiste received a technical foul after she celebrated a block on Karissa McLaughlin. McLaughlin scored both free throws to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to two points. The third quarter started with the Hokies making a 7-0 run. Purdue then fought back to tie the game at 40-40. Aisha Sheppard helped spur another run for the Hokies. She hit a three, followed by a steal that finished in a layup. After getting a defensive rebound she went unmarked all the way to the rim for an easy two points. The Hokies ended the quarter with a 51-44 lead. The fourth quarter was dominated by the Hokies as they outscored the Boilermakers 16-10. Aisha Sheppard continued to push the offense along with Trinity Baptiste. Purdue were unable to create much offense in the last quarter and the Hokies were able to put the game to sleep with about three minutes left. Virginia Tech were in the lead for 37 minutes throughout the whole game, never letting the Boilermakers get ahead of them on the scoreboard. Aisha Sheppard and Dara Mabrey both had 17 points on the night, leading the Hokies. The Hokies only scored one more field goal than Purdue, but made seven 3 pointers compared to zero for Purdue. Virginia Tech now improves to 7-1 on the season. The Hokies next game will be at home on Sunday as they get ready to face the 3-2 Gardner-Webb Running Bulldogs.