The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team owns a 6-1 record — and a prolific offense.
The Hokies are tied for 23rd in the nation in scoring offense (80.1 ppg) and are tied for eighth in field-goal percentage (48.5%).
“I love the potential of what we could be,” Tech coach Kenny Brooks said Tuesday.
“We’re still learning how to impose our will on the game, but nonetheless we’ve learned how to win in several different fashions.”
Virginia Tech is coming off a 1-1 showing in the Daytona Beach Invitational, beating Belmont 60-58 before turning the ball over 22 times in a 77-72 loss to Georgia.
“We turned the ball over too much,” Brooks said of the loss. “It was a lot of unforced errors.
“Until the last game, I was really loving the way that we kind of shared the basketball. ... We get a lot of assists on our baskets, so we’ve been able to score. We got away from it a little bit. We’ve got to get back to that.
“But I think the main thing we need to improve is our defensive end. I don’t want to be a team this year where we’re going to try to just outscore people.”
Dara Mabrey is averaging 15.3 points, but she is not Tech’s leading scorer.
Junior guard Aisha Sheppard averaged just 7.4 points last year but ranks fifth in the ACC this season with an average of 17.6 points.
“She’s always been one of the more talented kids we’ve had. She just needed to learn and understand the system,” Brooks said of Sheppard. “Now she’s getting an opportunity and she’s making the most of it.”
Radford graduate transfer Lydia Rivers is averaging a team-high 8.1 rebounds and a team-high 2.0 blocks off the bench.
“She’s my favorite player,” Brooks said. “She doesn’t have to be the one that gets the glory, ... but she does everything to stuff a stat sheet.”
Georgia graduate transfer Taja Cole leads the ACC with an average of 6.6 assists. The point guard averages 7.9 points.
“Her scoring is down … from what it was at Georgia, but I think a lot of it is because she’s just really trying to get everyone else going,” Brooks said.
Freshman center Elizabeth Kitley is averaging 12.3 points and 6.6 rebounds.
“Every time she touches it, they’re double-teaming her,” Brooks said.
Next up for the Hokies are their only two home games of December. They will host Purdue (6-1) on Thursday in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, followed by a Sunday visit from Gardner-Webb (3-2).
Tech signed four recruits last month.
Shamarla King, a guard from Connecticut, is rated the No. 58 high school senior in the nation by ESPN.
“Probably shoots the ball just as good or better than Aisha Sheppard or Dara,” Brooks said. “She’s going to come in and make a tremendous impact on us immediately.”
Brooks also signed point guard Georgia Amoore from Australia. She knows ex-Hokie Vanessa Panousis, who is also from that country.
Amoore might enroll at Tech in January, but she would not play for the team until next season.
The class also includes Shelby Calhoun, a guard from Kentucky, and Nevaeh Dean, a forward from Ohio.
The Radford men’s basketball team is only 2-4, but coach Mike Jones isn’t fretting.
After all, Radford plays in a league — the Big South — where only the tournament champ has ever gotten an NCAA Tournament bid.
So why should Jones sweat over some November nonleague losses?
“There’s no benefit to winning nonconference games, other than to win,” said Jones, whose team topped the Big South’s preseason poll. “We certainly want to win every game that we play, but our bigger picture is certainly in our league play, in particular the last part of the league so that we can be playing well going into our tournament.”
All four of Radford’s losses have come on the road.
“We’re disappointed that we haven’t gotten more wins on the road, but we certainly learned from a lot of those,” Jones said. “We continue to evolve and define our identity.”
Radford is coming off a stretch of four straight road games, and won just one of them.
A Nov. 19 victory at Northwestern showed the Highlanders’ potential, but the Highlanders followed that up with losses at Bradley (70-61) and at Monmouth (80-63).
“Those teams are a little bit better than their name might suggest,” Jones said of Bradley and Monmouth.
Radford, which has not played at home since Nov. 12, is back at the Dedmon Center for two games this week. The Highlanders host James Madison (5-3) on Wednesday. UNC Greensboro (6-2), which knocked off Georgetown last weekend, pays a visit on Saturday.
Radford signed three recruits last month.
Two of them are point guards — Xavier Lipscomb from Washington, D.C., and Fah’mir Ali from Delaware.
“In the last couple years, one of the reasons why we’ve been successful is because we play with two point guards on the floor at all times,” Jones said. “That puts a lot of pressure on the other team, so we want to continue to do that as we move forward in the future. That’s why we brought in two more.”
The third signee is off-guard Keishon Porter from North Carolina.