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   Welcome to TSLMail #216 - Friday, March 3, 2006    
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   Tech Sports News

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Hokie Women Notch Another 20-Win Season, But Challenges Await
by Chris Coleman,

The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team recorded their first-ever ACC Tournament victory on Thursday night when they defeated Wake Forest 73-60. The win improves the Hokies’ record to 20-8, and all but locks up an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, no matter what happens in their second round game against Duke. The 7th seeded Hokies will take on the #2 seed Blue Devils on Friday night at 7pm.

When Bonnie Henrickson left Virginia Tech to become the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, maybe were concerned about what the future held for the women’s basketball program, and rightfully so. The Hokies were one of the top programs in the Atlantic 10 and Big East with Henrickson at the helm.

Henrickson coached at Virginia Tech for seven seasons. She compiled an excellent overall record of 158 wins and 60 in her tenure in Blacksburg. She averaged 22.6 wins per season and never failed to win 20 or more games in a season. Henrickson’s teams appeared in five NCAA Tournaments and two WNITs. They made it past the first round of the NCAA Tournament on each occasion, and once advanced to the Sweet 16.

Those are difficult numbers for Beth Dunkenberger to live up to, but she has done a pretty good job thus far. Virginia Tech made the NCAA Tournament in Dunkenberger’s first season as head coach…barely. The Hokies were 17-11 after the ACC Tournament, and were literally the last at-large team selected for the NCAA Tournament. Tech faced off against DePaul in the first round and dropped a tough 79-78 decision after coming back from a big deficit.

This season, Virginia Tech got off to a rough start in conference play. They were 1-5 in ACC play after six games, and an NCAA Tournament bid looked like it would be difficult to attain. But the Hokies got it in gear in the second half of the season. The only games they lost after starting 1-5 were to Duke and North Carolina. VT got big wins against Virginia, Florida State and Wake Forest.

At this point, Virginia Tech is a shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament. Their 20-8 record gives them an RPI of 23 heading into Friday night’s game against Duke, who is #3 in the RPI. The Hokies strength of schedule is ranked #19 in the nation. If they got in last season at 17-11, all that’s left to worry about this season is what seed they will get and whom they will play.

Tech can certainly help their seeding with a victory over Duke on Friday night. The Hokies played Duke twice during the regular season and lost both games. Back on February 6, they played the Blue Devils tough in Blacksburg, but eventually fell 73-62. On February 22, they traveled to Durham and got crushed 93-51 on Duke’s Senior Day.

Virginia Tech’s marquee victory in women’s basketball came against the Blue Devils back on November 17, 1998. The Hokies played #4 Duke on the road and came away with a remarkable 72-70 victory. That was Bonnie Henrickson’s greatest win at Virginia Tech, and the Hokies went on to a 28-3 season and a trip to the Sweet 16, where they eventually fell to Tennessee.

Virginia Tech will play in one of four ACC Tournament games on Friday. The second round commences at 11 am, when #1 seed UNC will take on #9 seed UVA, who defeated Boston College on Thursday. The winner of that game would face the winner of #4 Florida State and #5 NC State in the semifinals. Florida State and NC State will tip off at approximately 4 pm.

On the other side of the bracket, the Hokies and Blue Devils will tip off at 7 pm Friday night. The winner of that game will square off against either #3 Maryland or #11 Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech pulled off an upset of #6 Miami on Thursday. If the Hokies manage to defeat Duke tonight, they will play in the semifinals on Friday at 3:30pm. The game will be televised by Fox SportsNet.

In Dunkenberger’s first two seasons, the Hokies have struggled somewhat against ACC competition, going 6-8 and finishing seventh in the conference both seasons. But Tech finished strong this year, and it looks like they’ve finally got this ACC thing figured out. But there is one problem. Four of Virginia Tech’s top five scorers are seniors. Beth Dunkenberger must have some key backups step into the starting lineup and play well next season.

Tech will lose arguably their best player in Kerri Gardin, who is second on the team in scoring (12.4 ppg) and first in rebounding (9.7 rpg). They also lose Carrie Mason, a four-year starter who averages 11.9 points per game and hits 45.2% of her three-point shots. Leading scorer Dawn Chriss (12.8 ppg) will be gone as well, plus center Megan Finnerty, who started every game this season.

The best player that returns next year is Kirby Copeland, Tech’s fourth leading scorer at 10.3 points per game. Copeland started 26 games for Tech this year. Besides Copeland, seven other players from this year’s team will return next year. Those seven players have just six starts among them.

Dunkenberger has proven that she can win with Bonnie Henrickson’s recruits. Beginning next season, she must prove that she can win with her own. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Hokie Women Down Wake

March 3, 2006
Last year, Virginia Tech's women's basketball team finished 7th in the ACC and dropped a first-round tournament game to #10 seed Wake Forest, 61-56. It was a major disappointment for the Hokies. This year, the Tech women once again finished 7th in the ACC, with an identical 6-8 conference record, and faced off against 10th-seeded Wake. History did not repeat itself, though, as the Hokie women notched a 73-60 win. Tech advanced to the second round and will face powerhouse Duke today at 7 pm.
Also: Ike Whitaker Suspended; Pearman Lands at UNC.

Virginia Tech Offers Miami Star
March 3, 2006
Virginia Tech is one of several Division 1A programs to officially offer North Miami Beach (Miami, FL) star Doug Wiggins. Wiggins, a second-team 6A all-state and first-team all-Dade county selection as a junior, will be a rare 4-year starter for head coach Jeff Bertani’s program. Wiggins, who also played quarterback this past season, has played defensive back since his freshman season.

The Top Ten Plays of the 2005 Football Season
March 2, 2006
The Hokies will start Spring Practice 2006 in less than three weeks (on Wednesday, March 22nd), but before they do, let's take a look back at the top plays of the 2005 season. 2005 wasn't packed with wall-to-wall drama and season-altering plays like the 2004 season, but there were still many memorable moments. Take a look at what we here in the TSL office voted as the Top Ten Plays of 2005.

TSL Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris", for 3/1/06
March 2, 2006
The main topic up for discussion this week between TSL recruiting analyst Chris Horne and show host Mike Harris was in-state recruiting. Chris and Mike talked in more depth about recent recruiting updates, including reports on DJ Thomas and Andrew Nuff. The two also discussed sophomore (2008 recruit) Jeron Gouveia, the son of former Washington Redskin Kurt Gouveia (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.4 MB, 22:04).

Hokies Blow Late Lead, Lose to Clemson 86-81
March 2, 2006
Virginia Tech lost another tough ACC contest on Wednesday night, falling 86-81 to the visiting Clemson Tigers in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies held a seven point lead late in the game, but were outscored 14-2 by Clemson down the stretch. The Tigers improve to 17-11 overall, with a 6-9 mark in ACC play. Tech drops to 14-14 overall and 4-11 in the ACC.

Close Games Highlight Hokies' Improving Competitiveness in the ACC
March 1, 2006
Since the 2005-06 basketball season began, you’ve probably read about a few more nail-biters than you’d like to remember. Most have been Virginia Tech losses, but there have been a few wins sprinkled in now and then. In fact, close games have been a major trend in the ACC this year. There are some teams in the ACC that are good. There are some teams in the ACC that are very close to being good. The only difference between the "good teams" and the "very close to being good" teams is that the good teams win the majority of their close games. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case with the Hokies, but even though they're losing more ACC games this season, the statistics show that they're continuing to become more competitive.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson
March 1, 2006
If you have not attended a Virginia Tech basketball game this season, tonight would be a good time to start, for two reasons. Number one, it’s senior night, and Shawn Harris, Allen Calloway and Bob Ritchie will be honored before the game. Number two, the Hokies are playing Clemson, and if the last three meetings are any indication, you won’t see a more competitive ACC basketball game than what you’ll see tonight.

Ward Leaving for Raiders; Torrian Gray expected to Join Hokies
March 1, 2006
Multiple news agencies are reporting that Virginia Tech defensive backs coach Lorenzo "Whammy" Ward has reached an agreement with the Oakland Raiders to become their new defensive backs coach. Ward was apparently offered the job on Sunday at the NFL Combine, and the sides reached a contract agreement on Tuesday.

Burd, Mills Headline Matoaca's 2007 Class
March 1, 2006
WR Kris Burd and RB Patrick Mills – both of which earned Richmond Times-Dispatch first-team all-metro honors in 2005 – lead the Matoaca Warriors into 2006. Head coach Pat Manuel is counting on his dynamic rising seniors to help the program achieve even more than it did last season, when it won the Division 5 Group AAA Central Region championship and reached the state semifinals.

2007 Class: Stone Bridge OL Boasts Early Offers
March 1, 2006
From Stone Bridge’s (Ashburn, VA) 12-2 squad last season, head coach Mickey Thompson feels two players could end up on the Division 1A level in the 2007 class. There is offensive/defensive lineman Andrew Nuss, who already has several 1A scholarship offers, and then there is athlete Terence Glenn, who led the offense from the quarterback position and who Thompson calls a “late bloomer.” Jeron Gouveia, an impressive 2008 prospect, is another kid to watch next season.

Conversation Starters: Marcus Vick and Bryan Stinespring
February 28, 2006
Looking for something to talk about? Consider these topics: Marcus Vick and Bryan Stinespring. Vick has been at the NFL Combine for a few days, and whether or not he did well there depends upon whom you talk to. Even if you don't care for Marcus Vick or more news about him, he's an interesting study and very much in the public eye. Meanwhile, some changes in Bryan Stinespring's coaching and recruiting responsibilities have taken place with the arrival of new OL coach Curt Newsome. Is Stinespring's load being lightened?

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 2/27/06
February 28, 2006
Seth Greenberg was Monday night's guest, and he discussed next year's incoming recruits, free throw shooting, Robert Krabbendam's development, his relationship with Jim Rome, and scheduling for next year.

2007 Class: Kempsville Fields Top Talents
February 28, 2006
Head coach Jeff McGowan boasts at least four potential 1A prospects for the 2007 class, and it’s one of the reasons why he’s so excited about the 2006 season. Kempsville missed out on a playoff berth after losing a coin toss, but the players, led by these four excellent talents, don’t plan on leaving their playoff hopes to chance again.

As ACC Tournament Arrives, Women's Basketball Team Hitting Their Stride
February 27, 2006
After dismantling Wake Forest on Sunday, the Virginia Tech women’s basketball is getting ready for the ACC Tournament, which begins on Thursday night. The Hokies will play Wake Forest for the third time this season in the first round. Tech has endured an up and down season, breezing through out-of-conference games and running into trouble at the beginning of their ACC schedule. But Beth Dunkenberger and her staff have gotten things turned around, and the team appears to be headed to the NCAA Tournament.
Also: Men's Basketball Team Looking to Make NIT

Patrick Henry Star Lands First Offer
February 27, 2006
Patrick Henry (Ashland, VA) star D.J. Thomas picked up his first official scholarship offer last week, when Virginia Tech came in with an official letter. There certainly may be more to come for the 5-9, 168-pound standout athlete, as Maryland and Virginia have been showing interest as well.

Hokies End Slide, Whip Florida State 72-61
February 25, 2006
At approximately 8:55 on Saturday night, sounds of the Tomahawk Chop filled the air in Cassell Coliseum. This time however, Tech fans could smile when they heard the student section start the chant, because the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team beat the Florida State Seminoles for the first time since February 24, 1990. The Hokies played well in virtually all aspects of the game and grabbed a 72-61 victory over the ‘Noles. Tech is now 14-13 overall and 4-10 in ACC play. Florida State’s chances of an NCAA Tournament bid took a big hit as they dropped to 17-8 and 7-7.

Basketball Game Preview: Florida State at Virginia Tech
February 25, 2006
Virginia Tech returns to Cassell Coliseum on Saturday night to take on the Florida State Seminoles in an ACC battle that is critical for both teams. The Hokies (13-13, 3-10) are trying to earn a spot in the NIT, while the Seminoles (17-7, 7-6) are looking to inch closer to an NCAA Tournament berth. Tech enters the contest having dropped three games in a row, while FSU has won four of their last five games.

Staff Changes Unusual for Beamer's Hokies
February 24, 2006
With three new coaches coming on board, and a possible fourth opening coming soon, Frank Beamer's football staff has undergone its biggest changes since 1992, when a 2-8-1 season led to a housecleaning and the shuffling of the staff into the unit that eventually led Tech to Big East championships and the national championship game. Also notable is that a member of the coaching staff, for the first time since 1992, has been removed from a coaching job against his will: Danny Pearman (at right).
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