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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
When: every Tuesday from 7:05-8:30
Station:  AM 910 in Richmond

Monday, February 25, 2002
by Apex Hokie

Mondayís Hokie Hotline focused entirely on basketball, and featured head basketball coaches Bonnie Henrickson and Ricky Stokes.

Bonnie Henrickson

The early part of Coach Henricksonís half of the program was extremely garbled, so the commentary begins after the first commercial break. Techís next game is at home against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Tuesday, and it will be the final regular season home game for the four Tech seniors, Lisa Guarneri, Sarah Hicks, Nicole Jones and Mollie Owings. There will be a presentation for the seniors following the game, and the fans that attend are asked to stay for the brief ceremony.

The Scarlet Knights are a young team, and have struggled over the season. Theyíve been in most of the games other than the Connecticut game. They have a freshman point guard and at least three freshmen off the bench, but as a young team, they continue to improve as the season progresses. Coach Henrickson knows the head coach from one of her previous coaching positions, and said that she really looks frustrated.

Later in the show, she broke down the Rutgers team. She said that they play a half-court zone, are very athletic and put a lot of pressure on the ball. They typically start four guards and a post player, and the team that takes advantage of the match-ups will most likely be the one that emerges victorious. For the Hokies, they have to control the tempo, work the ball inside to the bigger players, and get rebounds. It needs to be a real team effort.

Tech comes into the game with a record of 17-9 overall, 8-7 in the BIG EAST. They are 11-1 at home and 5-8 on the road. Coach Henrickson said that turnovers and inconsistent play have been the key factors in the poor road play. If the team is turning the ball over, they canít control the tempo, and thatís a key to the teamís success.

Ieva Kublina is leading the league in blocked shots at the moment, and the coaches think she has a chance to be on the first team all- BIG EAST team, though a little more success for the team down the stretch would have helped her individual chances a lot more. They think that sheís a definite for the second team and could be the most improved player in the league. The first team will most likely include three players from Connecticut and one from Notre Dame. The other will be a toss-up.

On the issue of post-season play, the hosts noted that some have mentioned that the seventh place team could very well beat the second place team in the league this year, indicating parity across the board. The conference is ranked eighth in the RPI -- much lower than in previous years, and lower than most of the other major conferences. They discussed that the league may get five teams in the NCAA tournament, but they would have to get some help. The fact that the conference had the best overall record in the NCAA tournament last year was offered as a possible bonus.

In losing seven of their last nine games, Coach Henrickson noted that the quality of opponents has improved dramatically over the teams they played during the extended winning streak early in the year. The inability to finish games and lack of production from the point guard position were offered as two of the key reasons for the losses. There have been some difficulties at point guard, and itís a burden that they have to bear, but itís also a reality. As the point guard play goes, so goes the team.

Coach Henrickson closed her portion of the program by taking a few questions on the teamís past and future. She speculated that the season may have gone a little better if Amy Lingenfelder and Fran Recchia had been healthy, but other teams have also been hampered by injuries as well. Tech has signed a home-and-home series with Maryland that will be coming up soon. She said that Maryland is a good fit as an opponent, and the matchup really helps with recruiting.

The future of the point guard position has Emily Lipton as a senior next season with Fran Recchia as a redshirt freshman. The team also signed a talented point guard out of the Pittsburgh area. Henrickson hopes to recruit another point guard next season, and she is counting on Emily Lipton to help out with the freshmen next season.

Ricky Stokes

Coach Stokes began his portion of the program discussing the menís teamís recent successes. They have won three of their last five overall and the last two in a row at home. He said that he was very happy for the players, who have worked very hard and never given up. The teamís record sits at 9-17, 3-11, which is not where they want to be, but is an improvement over last season. They still have two games remaining, and have a chance to continue to improve on the numbers. Stokes gave credit to the players, the crowds and the students for supporting the team.

Bill Roth said that, following Saturdayís game, the Providence coach called the Tech team "massive" and said that they couldnít match up inside. Stokes credited the improvement more to experience than anything else, and also said that it helped that the team hung in there and continued to make free throws.

Roth brought up the substitution patterns, pointing out that Bryant Matthews came out of the game early and never returned, having been replaced by Joe Hamilton. Stokes said that it was the product of having a lot of interchangeable parts and a deep bench. In the game on Saturday, Matthews wasnít having a good game, so Joe Hamilton was able to come in to help the team. Other examples that he gave were Dimari Thompkins, Jon Smith, and the guard tandem of Eric Branham and Brian Chase.

A member of the audience asked about two of the players that will help the team in the future, Harding Nana and Luke Minor. Harding Nana had two knee surgeries this season, and is expected to return to full strength in a few months. He will get some individual workouts and should be ready for next season. He has received a redshirt year and will have four years of eligibility for the Hokies.

Luke Minor is a Junior College transfer from Hagerstown via USC. Heís a 7í-3", 285 pound player from Virginia, who went out to California to school, but didnít see enough playing time and got a little homesick. He transferred to junior college, and the Tech coaching staff had a good relationship with his coach. Stokes said that heís a skilled player that runs well, and Roth confirmed that heíll be the tallest player to ever come to Tech.

The next home game for the men will also be against Rutgers on Wednesday, and it will be senior day for them as well. Tech has four seniors, all of whom will start, though Stokes hasnít made a determination on walk-on senior Barrett Watson. This is the first game against Rutgers in over a decade. Rutgers is in the other half of the conference, and Tech hasnít played them since a meeting in a preseason tournament.

Roth asked Stokes if he could name an MVP for the team or if he needed to see the final two games to make that decision. Stokes said that the whole team had worked so hard all season that he wanted to name the whole team as the MVP. As an example, he said that the Providence game was a great win for them. Despite having no chance at postseason play, the team continued to battle.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Michael Vick moved into the #1 quarterback spot for the Atlanta Falcons as Chris Chandler was released on Monday.
  • Former Tech basketball player Bimbo Coles had knee surgery, but the details were very difficult to hear and it was only mentioned during the first part of the show (Editor's note: Coles, who was averaging roughly 3 points and 2 assists per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is expected to be out about six weeks.)
  • Five Virginia Tech football seniors are preparing for the NFL Combines in Indianapolis. The list includes Derrius Monroe, Ben Taylor, Chad Beasley, Andre Davis, and Emmett Johnson.
  • Monday was Day 870 in Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, and Day 1,214 in Tech's possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.

-- Apex Hokie


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