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   Welcome to TSLMail #69 - Friday, March 14, 2003    
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   Tech Sports News

Hokie Women Ready for Selection Sunday
by Will Stewart,

The Virginia Tech women's basketball team went to Piscataway, NJ last week and did what they needed to do to lock down an NCAA Tournament bid and improve their seeding.

First, the Hokies knocked off WVU 66-60, as expected. That victory gave the Hokies their sixth straight 20-win season in six years under Bonnie Henrickson, a remarkable benchmark of consistency.

While the WVU victory put the Hokies' record at 20-8, they didn't truly lock down an NCAA bid until round 2 of the BE tourney, when they knocked off a ranked team for the second time this season, defeating #23 Boston College, 74-70 in overtime.

In the semi-finals, Tech took on #1 UConn, and though the Hokies led 25-18 in the first half, they were outscored 58-29 the rest of the way, falling by the final score of 71-54. That gave UConn 70 wins in a row, and the Huskies had that streak snapped the next night, losing to Villanova in the championship.

Not only did the BC win avenge a 65-47 whipping at the hands of the Eagles earlier this season, it also gave the Hokies a second win over a top-25 RPI team. BC finishes at #16 in the RPI, and Tech knocked off #14 Rutgers earlier this season.

The Hokie women have three more victories against top-50 RPI teams (#49 Liberty, #40 Virginia, and #28 Notre Dame), giving them five top-50 RPI wins. Just as importantly, they have no losses outside the top 100 of the RPI, unlike last year, when they had two losses outside the top 100. Against the top-50 in the RPI, the Hokies were a respectable 5-7.

Tech could get an NCAA seed anywhere from #5 to #7. The Hokies' RPI rating is 23, which, if you just run the numbers (divide by four), could get them a 6-seed. It's unlikely that they'll rise to a 5-seed, because (1) they finished strong, but not that strong, and (2) NCAA selection committees have a history of not being kind to Virginia Tech teams. The most likely outcome is that the Hokies will be a 6 or 7 seed.

The NCAA bid will be Tech's sixth in the last ten years. If the Hokies land a 6-seed, it will be their second-highest seed ever (the phenomenal 1998-99 team was a 4-seed, and the 2000-01 team was a 7-seed).

In individual honors, Ieva Kublina was named to the six-member All-Big East First Team. She led VT in scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). She was also named to the six-member All-Tournament Team for averaging 16.6/7.3.

Freshman point guard Carrie Mason made the Big East's six-member All-Rookie Team, with a Tech-record 92 assists to her credit. Mason led the Hokies in three-point shooting percentage and minutes played, and she proved herself to be a clutch player on more than one occasion this season.

The women's NCAA Tournament selection show will be on ESPN, Sunday, March 16th, at 5:00 p.m. You can keep up with VT women's hoops on's Women's Hoops Page.

Hokies Fire Stokes

Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver fired men's basketball coach Ricky Stokes Monday. Here are the major points that have come out this week with regards to the firing:

  • Stokes was 45-70 in four years as VT's head coach. The Hokies finished last in the Big East East Division all three years of Big East membership under Stokes.
  • Stokes still had one year left on his five-year contract, which will be bought out to the tune of $158,000.
  • Weaver said the main reason for the firing was recruiting. He said he couldn't, in good faith, grant a long-term extension to Stokes, and a one-year extension or no extension would have crippled recruiting.
  • The search for a new coach will take at least two weeks. Weaver has said he would prefer a coach with head coaching experience, but it's not a necessity. He has not named any candidates and will not talk with the media during the search.

For more on the firing and Weaver's plans, see this weeks News and Notes update and Hokie Hotline Notes. Featured Item
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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Inside the Numbers: 2002 Defensive Player of the Year
by Will Stewart,, 3/13/03, 4:55 pm
Put on your tuxes and your helmets, TSL'ers, we're here to award our Third Annual Football Defensive Player of the Year Award.
in TSL Pass

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
by Will Stewart,, 3/13/03, 12:30 am
Jim Weaver, Bonnie Henrickson, and Frank Beamer were Monday night's guests on the Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Show. The main topic of conversation was the firing of men's basketball coach Ricky Stokes, which had taken place earlier that day.
in Hotline Notes

The Final Fate of a Nice Guy
by Jim Alderson, 3/11/03, 9:30 pm
The 2002-03 Virginia Tech menís basketball season has ended with Techís record of never having lost a Big East tournament game intact. Tech has missed the BE tournament in all three of its years as full Big East members, and for Ricky Stokes the third time proved to be something other than the charm.
in TSL Columnists

A Baker's Dozen That Did In Ricky Stokes
by Will Stewart,, 3/11/03, 12:55 am
Hokie fans accustomed to a top-20 football team expect their men's basketball team to make short work of the likes of Liberty, Wofford, ETSU, Chattanooga, Radford, and William and Mary. But during Ricky Stokes' four-year tenure, the Hokies lost to all those teams and more, some of them more than once, and many of them at home.
in TSL Pass

Ricky Stokes Dismissed
by Will Stewart,, 3/10/03, 11:15 pm
In a 4:30 press conference Monday, Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver announced the firing of Ricky Stokes from his position as head men's basketball coach.
in News and Notes

The Future of VT Men's Basketball
by Jeff Ouellet, 3/10/03, 9:00 am
In light of the Virginia Tech menís basketball team staying home for yet another Big East Tournament, rumors abound regarding Ricky Stokesís future in Blacksburg.
in TSL Pass

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