BLACKSBURG — The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team fought its way out of the “mud” and finally beat a Big Ten team Wednesday night.
Monet Tellier scored 13 of her 17 points in the final 11 minutes to help the Hokies rally past Wisconsin 47-38 in the women’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge at Cassell Coliseum.
The Hokies (3-2) had lost eight straight games to Big Ten foes, including a defeat in their annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge game in each of the past four years.
It was Tech’s first win over a Big Ten team since a victory over Minnesota in the 2007 challenge.
“It’s exciting,” said senior guard Alyssa Fenyn, whose team lost 57-29 at Michigan State on Nov. 18. “When we got down, we stayed together.”
Down 32-23 with 11:22 to go thanks to an 8-0 Wisconsin run, the Hokies were in danger of yet another loss. But they went on a 16-2 run to grab a 39-34 lead with 4:13 left.
“To come back is a very encouraging thing,” Tech second-year coach Dennis Wolff said. “What I found myself saying to them on one of the timeouts midway through the second half is, ‘We’ve been at that juncture a number of times since we’ve all been together where, for a lack of a better way to put it, we were stuck in mud.’ We were trying, but we were too hesitant on offense.
“Maybe for the first time since we’ve all been together, we fought our way out of it.”
Tellier, who played only 12 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, scored 13 of Tech’s final 21 points.
“To start out the second half, I think I was forcing it a little,” Tellier said. “I sat back and relaxed and the game started to come to me.
“I am confident down the stretch.”
Tellier, who finished with nine assists and six rebounds, had eight points in the 16-2 run.
“Monet was fabulous in the second half,” Wolff said.
Five of Fenyn’s six points came in that run.
“Alyssa, who was trying way too hard up until the 10-minute mark, made some big plays,” Wolff said.
The Badgers (3-3) cut the lead to 39-36, but Porschia Hadley sank a jumper to extend the lead to 41-36 with 1:21 left. Tellier made a layup and free throw for a 44-36 cushion.
Wisconsin played without senior guard Taylor Wurtz (12.6 ppg) because of a back injury.
The Badgers shot 30 percent from the field.
“When you can’t hit little short shots and then you kind of leave people open on the other end, … that’s really on us,” said Badgers coach Bobbie Kelsey, who was a Tech assistant from 2004-07.
Two Tech regulars were hurt in the first half and did not return to the game.
Starting center Taijah Campbell suffered a concussion when she landed hard on the court, striking her head on the floor. Campbell, the team’s top rebounder this season, walked off the court with 7:11 left in the half.
Backup point guard Aerial Wilson hurt her ankle and limped off the court with 3:24 left in the half.
Down 17-7 with 6:35 left in the half, the Badgers switched to a zone defense and went on a 13-0 run to grab a 20-17 lead late in the first half.
With Wilson sidelined, freshman Lauren Evans shouldered the ball-handling chores in the second half.
“Lauren deserves a lot of credit,” Wolff said.
Tech also got help from freshmen Alex Kiss-Rusk, who had eight points, and Alexis Lloyd, who began the 16-2 run with a 3-pointer.