Off the bench
Houseright scores 21 as Virginia Tech defeats St. Peter's
Posted: Saturday March 13, 1999 10:06 PM
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Senior reserve Michelle Houseright thought there was an outside chance that Virginia Tech's first round game in the NCAA tournament Saturday would be her last game, so she made each moment count.
Houseright scored 21 points on 10-for-11 shooting, had six rebounds and blocked three shots as No. 13 Virginia Tech defeated St. Peter's 73-48 in the East Regional game.
"I was the first person in the locker room before the game, just because I wanted to savor every minute of this," Houseright said.
Normally, the 6-foot-1 forward passes up a lot of shots during the season, but not this night, particularly not after her second shot took some wild bounces around the rim before falling through the net.
"When they fall like that, you know you're on," Houseright said. "I was just chucking up stuff, thinking, ooh, open rim. I was glad I had a good touch."
Houseright came off the bench six minutes into the game and promptly scored all 11 of Virginia Tech's points in one four-minute stretch, putting the Hokies (27-2) ahead 26-12 with a 3-point play with 8:03 left in the first half.
St. Peter's (25-6) has never won a NCAA tournament game and fell quickly behind in this one, turning the ball over 15 times in the first half and letting Virginia Tech get numerous wide-open passes under the basket.
Amy Wetzel scored 14 points and Tere Williams had 13 for Virginia Tech, which led by more than 20 for nearly all of the second half.
Patty Marchese led the Peahens with 14 points and seven rebounds. She finished her career with 1,272 points and moved up to seventh place in the school's all-time scoring chart.
The Hokies out shot the Peahens 53 percent to 36 percent and had twice as many blocks and assists.
"We got beat in all facets of the game," St. Peter's coach Mike Granelli said.
Granelli said he would prefer to never play again at Virginia Tech, where a capacity crowd of 10,052 - the all-time record in Cassell Coliseum for a women's game - pumped up the home team.
"I wouldn't mind playing the Hokies at our place once in a while, but I definitely wouldn't want to come back here," Granelli said. "Seriously, it was a great college atmosphere. I think this is what you strive for all year long, to get in this situation and play in front of 10,000 fans."
Granelli said he wasn't surprised by Houseright's play off the bench.
"We knew all of them were good players," he said. "In games like this, you never know who's going to jump up and bite you."
Houseright "was a big difference," Virginia Tech coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "That's why we're 27-2 or whatever we are, because of our balance and depth."
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