Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tech falls in OT; Crosby hurt in Virginia win

Our fingers are crossed for star-crossed Virginia point guard China Crosby, who went down with another knee injury late in the first half of the Cavaliers' 67-41 rout of High Point Wednesday at John Paul Jones Arena.

Cavaliers coach Joanne Boyle postgame remarks indicated Crosby's injury is nothing serious.

"She's fine, she just tweaked it and got scared because she's had some issues before," Boyle said. "But they tested her and she's walking on it so it looks like she just strained it or pulled it. But she looks good."

That sounds good. But two years ago when Crosby suffered her first knee injury at Colorado, then-Virginia coach Debbie Ryan made similar remarks and added that Crosby was actually cleared to return to the game. A few days later, the school announced that Crosby would have season-ending ACL surgery.

We not suggesting that's the deal again; in fact we pray it's not. We're just waiting for the test results to make absolutely sure this injury is as benign as it seemed Wednesday night.

Judging from that final score, one might assume Boyle wouldn't have much more from Wednesday's game to fret about. But the coach offered pointed criticism of her team's mental approach and early effort level against High Point on her post-game radio show. That Boyle would be so ticked off after a 26-point win is an indication of the high standard she's setting for this group. It also says that Boyle knows who the Cavs play next - Tennessee - and that she realizes that shortcuts against the Lady Vols will get her team killed.

In other games Wednesday:

Charlotte 71, Virginia Tech 65 (OT): The Hokies didn't always execute the way coach Dennis Wolff wanted, but that's understandable given it's mid-November and he's given them so much new material to digest. But it sounds like they played their tails off, and you get the feeling that a combination of that kind of effort and more practice reps could result in a surprisingly dangerous team in the weeks ahead. Alyssa Fenyn's jumper with one second left tied things at 59 and forced overtime. The problem, of course, is that with just nine scholarship players, this Hokies team isn't built for extended play. Making matters worse Wednesday, Monet Tellier and Nia Evans both fouled out, leaving Tech especially vulnerable in the extra period. Fenyn and point guard Aerial Wilson (a career-high 18 points) both played 40-plus minutes, and walk-on Kelsey Conyers had a 14-minute stint. It wasn't quite enough. But we still came away feeling a lot better about this Tech team than we thought we might at this point of the season.

Radford 69, Winston-Salem 46: Those mistresses of the "strip and score" were at it again. The pesky Highlanders had 20 steals and scored 35 points off 29 Lady Rams turnovers to improve to 2-0 for the first time since, remarkably, the 1985-86 season. Ashley Buckhannon scored a career-high 25 points, All-Big South performer Da'Naria Erwin Spencer added 18 and junior college transfer Tiana Cannon had 9 points and 10 rebounds for the Highlanders. That Radford had 20 fast-break points and still shot just 33 percent is a concern, and the Highlanders still haven't faced a Division I opponent. But man, these guys sure can take the ball away.

Norfolk State 60, Chowan 43: After shooting a program Division I-record 56.6 percent at Texas Southern in their opener, the Spartans managed just 30.2-percent shooting in their own gym Wednesday night. But when you allow your opponent to shoot only 20 percent, you can win by 17. Whitney Long scored 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting; the Spartans' other starters basically couldn't throw it in the ocean (3 of 19). But NSU got 21 points from its bench, and the Spartans were able to get enough easy points in transition (14-2 edge on the fast break) to shrug off a slow start and make decisive work of the Hawks. And because this was the first half of a doubleheader with the NSU men's team, more than 1,000 folks were on hand to check it out.

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