2015 ACC WBB Tournament: First round highs and lows

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 15th-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies posted the most surprising win of the day, topping the No. 10 N.C. State Wolfpack 57-56 in the final seconds of play in 2015 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament first-round play at Greensboro Coliseum on Wednesday.

The 13th-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons also moved on, beating the No. 12 Boston College Eagles 69-53, while the 11th-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets easily ran past the 14th-seeded Clemson Tigers, 80-53.

Second-round play continues on Thursday with four games scheduled:

11 a.m. – No. 5 Syracuse vs. No. 13 Wake Forest

2 p.m. – No. 8 Miami vs. No. 9 Virginia

6 p.m. – No. 7 Pitt vs. No. 15 Virginia Tech

8 p.m. – No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech

Game 1: Wake Forest 69, Eagles 53

Dearica Hamby’s 23 points and eight rebounds led the Demon Deacons to a 69-53 win over the 12th-seeded Eagles in the first game of opening round play of the 2015 ACC women’s basketball tournament.

It marked the seventh consecutive year in which the Demon Deacons have won their opening tournament game, the longest current streak among ACC teams.

Hamby, Wake’s all-time leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, finished the game 6-of-11 from the floor and 10-of-14 from the foul line.

Amber Campbell added 12 points for the Demon Deacons, who shot 46 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Eagles 38-25.

“I’m just really proud of the whole team, and again, I obviously can’t say enough about Dearica Hamby and what she does for us night in and night out,” Wake Forest head coach Jen Hoover said.

“It was definitely a total team effort.”

Hamby’s 15 first-half points paced the Deacons to a 38-32 lead at intermission.

“Wake Forest deserves all the credit. I thought coach Hoover did a great job,” Boston College head coach Erik Johnson said.

“They were prepared, they made some good adjustments. Their defensive pressure really got us back on our heels. We didn’t do a great job of getting to the rim in the first half.”

Emilee Daley, Ashley Kelsick and Nicole Boudreau each scored 12 points for the Eagles.

Boston College closed its season at 13-17.

Wake Forest (13-19) moved on to face fifth-seeded Syracuse (21-8) on Thursday in second-round play.

Syracuse and Wake Forest met once during the regular season with the Orange posting a 73-62 win at home on Jan. 15.

Game 2: Virginia Tech 57, N.C. State 56

Hannah Young’s last-second heroics in launching a successful three-point attempt pushed the 15th-seeded Hokies past the 10th-seeded Wolfpack, 57-56, in the two teams’ first-round matchup.

Coming out of a timeout with 15 seconds to play, Virginia Tech worked the ball around the perimeter before finding Young in the left corner for a game-winning 18-foot jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining on the clock.

“Yeah, it was exactly how the play was drawn up,” Young said.

“I’m still in shock to be honest. Vanessa threw me that pass and I just shot it with confidence, and it went in. So here we are.”

“Needless to say, I’m extremely proud of how competitive our girls have been, particularly given the way the season has gone,” Virginia Tech coach Dennis Wolff said.

“To come in here and play a good NC State team and both teams play well and us to make one more play, which we needed to do a number of different times this year, it’s very, very satisfying, and I’m very, very proud and happy for the kids.”

Pacing the way for the Hokies was sophomore Vanessa Panousis, who scored 19 points and dished out eight assists while playing 38 minutes.

Kelsey Conyers and Sidney Cook also scored in double digits for Virginia Tech.

Spencer turned in a valiant effort for the Wolfpack, posting 19 points in the loss.

After trailing for the majority of the first 12 minutes, Virginia Tech took its first lead of the game as the Hokies knocked down three consecutive threes to take a 22-21 lead.

The lead changed hands four times during the final seven minutes of the half as the teams entered the locker room deadlocked at 32-32.

Though the Wolfpack pulled out to a six-point lead with 9:11 left in the game, the Hokies mounted a steady comeback to take their first lead of the second half, 51-50, with 6:14 to play on a Taijah Campbell hook shot in the lane.

Following two more lead changes and the Hokies clinging to a 55-53 lead, Spencer droppped a 15-footer and a foul shot, to put the Wolfpack ahead 56-55 with 15.3 seconds to play.

It wasn’t enough as Young hit her game-winning shot on the ensuing Virginia Tech possession.

A long half-court attempt from Spencer fell short for the Wolfpack.

“You know, they did a good job,” N.C. State head coach Wes Moore said.

“They rolled the post on the first pick on the ball and came up with another pick on the ball, and that one got her free, and then Miah had to help up, and that left them open for Young in the corner. Again, she knocked it down. You know, I don’t know. Looking back on it, maybe we should have done something different, but again, we felt like we didn’t want to let her knock down a three off the pick. They won this one, they won that one. What do you say? They did a good job versus the pick on us at our place. We switched and we were able to take advantage of the mismatch.

Virginia Tech (11-19) moved on to face seventh-seeded Pitt (19-10) in Thursday’s second-round after beating N.C. State for the first time in 17 matchups, and in the first meeting between the teams in ACC Tournament play.

The win also snapped a nine-game losing streak on the season for the Hokies, while sending N.C. State home with a final 16-14 record on the season.

Game 3: Georgia Tech 80, Clemson 53

Aaliyah Whiteside scored 23 points and Roddreka Rogers added a career high 20 points and 14 rebounds as the Yellow Jackets downed Clemson 80-53 in the closing game of the day.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for Georgia Tech, which closed the regular season with conference wins over Clemson, Duke and Wake Forest.

“Obviously I’m really proud of this young team,” Georgia Tech head coach Machelle Joseph said.

“We’ve been on a journey all year long trying to figure out how to win and be successful in this tough conference. I think over the last month, we’ve really grown up. We’ve started to understand each other. We’ve started to trust each other, and we’ve really developed an understanding of our roles.”

Georgia Tech limited Clemson to 8-of-31 shooting from the floor in the first half and held the Tigers scoreless for a stretch of nearly five minutes.

The Yellow Jackets scored 15 unanswered points and built up a 43-22 lead by halftime.

Georgia Tech guard Kaela Davis, who entered the game as the ACC’s leading scorer, scored just three first-half points after picking up two fouls and was limited to just 10 minutes of action.

That hardly slowed the Yellow Jackets, who shot 58 percent from the floor.

Whiteside worked her way inside and to the foul line for 13 first-half points, while the Yellow Jackets shot 6-of-9 of from 3-point range – keyed by freshman Antonia Peresson’s 3-for-3 showing off the bench.

The Tigers rebounded for a stretch.

A 12-2 Clemson run in the first three and half minutes of the second half cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 10 points, 45-35.

The game suddenly seemed anything but a done deal, particularly with Davis having picked up her third and fourth fouls.

However, Georgia Tech countered with a burst of nine unanswered points led by Whiteside, and the Tigers couldn’t provide any more answers.

Senior Chelsea Lindsay led the Clemson with 12 points in her final collegiate game, while Shelbie Davenport and Cha’Nelle Perry each scored 10.

The 14th-seeded Tigers closed out their season at 9-21.

“I just told them that they have to continue to fight,” Clemson head coach Audra Smith said.

“I’ve been in these situations a lot where we’ve been down and I told them what’s going to happen. I said ‘hey you’re a little complacent and they’re going to get a little comfortable’. Typically, the team that has the lead, it always happens, and we just have to chip away and be patient and we have to make shots. In the first half, we couldn’t buy a basket. And I also stressed the fact that we needed to attack the basket. And as you know, we attacked the basket and that’s how we were able to cut that lead to 10. But with Georgia Tech, they have some very, very good scorers and they were able to knock down some shots and pushed the lead back up to 14 before we knew it, then 16, then 19, and it was tough, and then we tried to dig ourselves out of the hole again, but by that time it was too late for us.”

With the win, the Yellow Jackets (18-13) advanced to Thursday’s second-round game against sixth-seeded North Carolina (23-7).

Georgia Tech and North Carolina met once during the regular season, with the Tar Heels winning 96-81 at home on Jan. 11.