It was three See-saw Hard Fought Quarters
This is the Semester Break. The students have all wrapped up their finals for the Fall, and Hokie Nation just celebrated its Fall Commencement in the Cassell. No one expected 4,200 folks to show up at the coliseum to watch the big Women’s basketball game between the Fighting Irish and the Hokies.
The team gave the crowd a show, but the result wasn’t what the folks really wanted. Tech and the Irish played a bruising inside game for three quarters, with neither team gaining much advantage and not many shots falling. But Tech was having foul trouble and by the end of the 3rd, the lid went on.
The First Quarter was dominated by the Hokies finishing with only single digits (ironically 9 points) put in by the Irish. The big problem was that aside from Georgia Amoore and Liz Kitley the Hokies were also having issues getting the ball up and into the basket. Tech only managed 16, and really needed 8-10 more points for their effort inside.
The second quarter, the Hokies didn’t gain much momentum, and the Irish did. Notre Dame managed 13 points and Tech only managed to sink enough for 6. The game had become a low post wrestling match, and neither team’s efforts to get the ball to the basket from downtown worked, either. The problem was that Amoore was developing foul trouble, and so was outside shooter Cayla King. The Hokies look like they were playing a very short bench, and there was just nowhere to go for fresh legs and eyesight.
With the first half ending in a 22 all tie, the Hokies needed to find an answer at halftime. It looked like they did for the 3rd quarter. The Hokies’ field goal percentage went up to 50% at 8 of 16, with 4 of those being three pointers, but the tiny three-point lead at the end of three didn’t hold as the Hokies didn’t have the bench depth to sustain the high personal foul counts for critical players. Both teams ended up with a total of 16 fouls for the game. Besides Amoore (who is not a brawler), primary bench sub D’asia Gregg and as mentioned, Cayla King had four each. That severely limited the amount of mixing it up that could be done in the 4th quarter. Tech’s scoring dropped to 9 points, but also its defense flagged as excessive care in not running into the referees’ whistles allowed the Irish to gain the upper hand in shooting. The Irish put up 23 points to close out the 2nd half and that was more than enough to put an 11-point insurmountable lead on the table before the final buzzer.
The Hokies Shouldn’t Take This Badly
It’s going to be a long and thoughtful week for the Hokies. The first loss of the season is always the toughest when you have been on an undefeated streak. They played a tough team with a reputation for bruising inside defensive basketball on a short bench. There will be another chance to get some revenge against Notre Dame. The team will travel to South Bend next season and may even get the opportunity to even the score if they meet in the ACC Tournament.
This season they are just going to have to take this under advisement and make some updates on their game plans for dealing with teams that decide to get into a fouling bruise inducing inside fight.
Game Stats to Note
Georgia Amoore might have ended up in foul trouble, but she did lead the team in scoring with 20 points. Liz Kitley was not far behind her with 16, and grabbed a whopping 20 boards, 17 of which were critical defensive rebounds. The problem is that that was a huge chunk of the scoring for the Hokies. Kayana Traylor and Taylor Soule both managed only single digits and where just not getting shots to drop. Cayla King, usually automatic at least 50% of the time from downtown couldn’t get anything to fall.
Sometimes you just have one of those games where too much wasn’t working, and the other team had your number. This was one of those times for the ladies. There are 2 more games left in 2023 both are on the road. The team travels to High Point, NC to take on High Point on Wednesday the 21st for its final non-conference game. After Christmas it’s on the road again to Clemson to pick up the ACC schedule and hopefully end the season on a high note.