The No. 21 (AP) / No. 24 (Coaches) Virginia Tech Hokies followed up their devastation of the Clemson Tigers by defeating the No. 16 / No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels during today’s ACC Quarterfinal match held in Greensboro, NC.
The fifth seeded Hokies got off to a sluggish start against the fourth seeded Tar Heels, falling behind early, 17-8, just past the halfway mark of the first quarter. After a collision with UNC’s Kennedy Todd-Williams, at the end of the first quarter, ACC Player of the Year, Elizabeth Kitley was sidelined for the remainder of the game. Early in the second Aisha Sheppard hit a three pointer to bring Virginia Tech to within one point, but North Carolina retorted with eight unanswered points. VT fought back, never trailing more than eight points, but the Heels retained control and the Hokies entered the half down, 37-31.
The Hokies returned to the court and took the lead, 46-45, late in Q3. The fourth quarter was a maelstrom of back and forth, with four lead changes in the final quarter alone, as both teams fought to avoid elimination. With one second left in regulation, down 69-66, UNC’s Eva Hodgson hit a three pointer to tie the Hokies, 69-69, and force Overtime.
Virginia Tech had about enough of that nonsense and jumped out to an early OT lead before North Carolina acquired a brief one-point lead, 74-73, halfway through the extra period. That was the final taste UNC had of an advantage as the Hokies went on a ten-point scoring streak. The Hokies outscored the Tar Heels 18 to 11 points during OT. 13 of those overtime points were from free throws! When the dust settled Virginia Tech walked away with an 87-80 victory and a spot in the ACC Tournament Semifinals for the first time in program history.
The team didn’t slow down due to the absence of superstar, Elizabeth Kitley. Georgia Amoore and Aisha Sheppard led the VT scoring effort with 22 points each! Kayana Traylor added 19 points to round out the Hokies’ top three scorers.
Virginia Tech shot a respectable 27 of 53 (50.9%) field goals, 11 of 29 (37.9%) 3PT, and 22 of 27 (81.5%) free throws.