Virginia Tech Hokies
| MESSAGE BOARD
RECORD: 22 - 7
REGION: East SEED: 8
COACH: Bonnie Henrickson CONFERENCE: ACC
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
Ieva Kublina -- fun to say, but definitely not fun to defend. A 6-foot-4 senior forward, Kublina is the focus of the Hokies' offense. She leads the team -- for the second straight season -- in scoring (13 points) and rebounds (nearly seven a game). Foul her and she'll hurt you there, as she shoots 82 percent from the free-throw line. But as important as she is on offense, she is a disruptive force on defense as well, leading the Big East in blocks (2.5 per game).
ANALYSIS BY ESPN'S STACEY DALES-SCHUMAN
Hokies fans have good reason to be excited as they will host the first and second round of the NCAA Tournament. With the home court advantage, anticipate this full-fueled defensive squad to hold its opponents below approximately 57 points, one of the best scoring defenses in the country.
Bonnie Henrickson has done a fabulous job motivating her players through the past several years to carry out strong defensive principles, and expect nothing less this time around. Understand that the Hokies like to use their size and stature -- the average height on the 12-player roster is 6 feet -- to block at least five shots per outing, which is just another category in which they shine.
Speaking of shot blocking, senior center Ieva Kublina is the main culprit. She not only leads her team in this department, but the entire conference with a total of two swats per match. Despite a midseason senioritis-like slump, Kublina is back on track at just the right time.
One player that has continued to elevate the team's play since her freshman season a year ago is Carrie Mason. It will be fun for Hokie fans to watch this versatile player develop a game that already has so much potential. Mason can score well via the dribble or the pass, but it's her knack for reading game situations that makes her special.
With junior Erin Gibson owning the boards, and sophomore Kerri Gardin dishing out almost three assists from the forward spot, Virginia Tech should be able to use its combination of speed and size to run the tourney tables. With such good size, you might think that a team like Virginia Tech can only bruise and dominate from close range. But keep in mind the Hokies have quick guards who have done a fine job all season of protecting their 3-point territory, holding foes to just 28 percent from the coveted curve.