After a 15-year wait, the Hokies returned to the NCAA Tournament with a strong start to their opening round tie against 10th seed Marquette. Virginia Tech went into halftime up 32-21, but nearly let the game slip away in the final minutes. Ultimately a 7-point win, led by Elizabeth Kitley’s 23 points, saw Tech advance into the second round to take on 2-seed Baylor Tuesday night.
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021
Match-up: #7 Virginia Tech vs. #2 Baylor
Venue: Bill Greehey Arena (San Antonio, TX)
Time: 7:00 pm ET
TV: ESPN2 / Watch ESPN App
Live stats: HokieSports
All-time series: Just like in round one this will be the Hokies’ first meeting against this opponent.
Here is a look at the top 10 plays from day one action in the Women’s NCAA Tournament. (Hint: Stick around for #1).
Scoring: Kitley (VT - 18.7) vs. Smith (Baylor - 18.1)
Rebounds: Kitley (VT - 10.) vs. Smith (Baylor- 9.2)
Assists: Amoore (VT - 4.6) vs. Richards (Baylor- 6.2)
The Baylor Bears finished the regular season 25-2 and 17-1 on their way to winning the Big 12. Baylor is one of the premier women’s basketball programs in the country as they clinched their 11th straight conference title this year. While the entire Bears’ squad will be a big step up in competition from Marquette for the Hokies, LaNyssa Smith is in the elite level category. The junior won the Big 12 Player of the Year award, averaging over 18 points and 9 rebounds a game and shooting over 55% on the season.
Baylor finished the season ranked 5th in the final AP poll with their last loss coming back on January 16th. In the opening round, the Bears easily pushed aside 15-seed Jackson State in a 101-52 win. With four players averaging double digits for Baylor, the Hokies will need to bring the same level of defense we saw against Marquette in the opening three quarters on Sunday.
It’ll be an incredibly tall task for Virginia Tech to pull off this upset, but this is exactly where they wanted to be back when the season started in November — still alive in the NCAA Tournament and taking on the best teams in the country.
Baylor - 74
Virginia Tech - 68