The Hokies Needed to Prove Something
It’s New Year’s Day and there was basketball to be played in the Cassell. The Lady Hokies took to the court this afternoon at 4:00 EST to take on then North Carolina Lady Tar Heels for a major ranked game. Tech was looking at the probability of dropping pretty far in the rankings on Monday if they lost this one.
Their last game was not a happy one. The inside bruiser with Clemson left a bad taste in the mouths of Hokie Nation. It was certainly a disappointment to the Hokies on the court. They played hard but just couldn’t get anything to drop when they needed it to.
The Hokies needed a major ACC win to get the ship righted and stave off a big drop in the rankings (which are critical as March tournament season rolls around). The first game of 2023 went from an important ACC game against a ranked team to boiling point pressure. The Hokies needed the win.
Great day to get a dub #Hokies pic.twitter.com/YBjMpdGes3— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) January 1, 2023
The Game was a Battle from Start to Finish
This was as close a game as you can imagine. There was rarely more than 4 points separating the score as it see-sawed back and forth through the entire four quarters of the game. I lost count of the lead changes in the play-by-play, but only one time did North Carolina manage to exceed the 4-point differential barrier and that one was at the 6:44 mark of the 3rd quarter when for a brief moment the Heels went up by 6 points. That evaporated by the 5:18 mark on a free throw and 2-point bucket by Liz Kitley and a bucket from downtown by Georgia Amoore.
After that, it was back to lead exchanges of a point here, two points there, Kayana Traylor got the Hokies up by 4 with 9 seconds to go in the 3rd quarter, but that was sliced in half by Carolina before the buzzer.
The fourth quarter proceeded along the same pace with steady pulses of the Hokies taking a small lead, and the Tar Heels erasing it. The one time that the Lady Tar Heels opened up a multiple score lead was at the 4:15 mark when they went up 62-58 and the Hokies seemed a bit like it was going to stall out. That didn’t happen because the Amoore to Kitley connection put four points up to even the score. The Heels lost that exchange because of a block by Taylor Soule and a critical defensive rebound by D’asia Gregg. Gregg would come back to drop a critical three to put the Hokies up 65-64, and her foul on the UNC charge up the court ended up with a missed first free throw and a 65-65 tie. Then came the last-minute gasp. Georgia Amoore and company worked a final shot into the mix as she put up a three with one second on the clock. The Tar Heels were playing heavy pressure, and Amoore drew the foul. With one second up she only needed one of her three free throws to put the Hokies in the lead with 1 second left on the clock. She sunk all three from the charity stripe, and D’asia Gregg knocked away the inbounds pass and the final second ticked off the clock.
It was a Real Team Effort but Everyone Knows Whose Game It was
Time for some stats because this was a tough one, and the Hokies needed everyone who played, to play well and contribute. They most certainly did that.
The scoring was led by Georgia Amoore with 24 points. Georga, again, played the entire game without an in-game rest. She quarterbacked an offense that was beaten up, screened out hard, and pressed inside. That meant outside shooting and few inside opportunities. Amoore was only 7-17 from the floor but 6 of those were threes. It’s really rare that you see a point guard shooting 17. She was 4-5 from the charity stripe (especially draining the final three free-throws to seal the deal). She also dished out 6 assists.
Liz is 6’6” and hard to miss. She certainly attracted way too much attention from Carolina who pushed her around, double teamed her constantly, and generally concentrated on stopping her. Well, they sort of succeeded. Kitley “only” scored 13 points and was 5 of 11 from the floor. She ended the game with 39 minutes on the floor, seven rebounds, and a blocked shot. Liz’s big contribution was being Elizabeth Kitley and eating up two defenders which left the likes of Amoore, and Cayla King uncovered to put up critical threes.
Kitley’s high school teammate is well deserving of standing on her own two feet for recognition. She put up a critical three of seven from downtown, and drained all three of her free throws for a double-digit scoring contribution of 12 points. She grabbed 8 boards, for of which were critical offensive rebounds and grabbed a steal and a blocked shot to make a contribution on defense.
Talk about a quiet double-double! Wow, if Amoore hadn’t sunk so many, Gregg would have been the big cheese for this game. She scored 11 points and grabbed a critical 10 rebounds 8 of which were defensive and kept Carolina from putting the ball back up, thus killing their run momentum.
Kayana Traylor and Taylor Soule
Contributed eight points between them (Soule 5, Traylor 3), and Traylor would grab five assists to Soule’s five rebounds.
Everyone contributed something and every single minute of effort was needed. This was a close game from start to finish and there was absolutely no room for errors. There was also no room for selfish play. Carolina was pressing hard the entire game, and that means players that didn’t score a great number of points were contributing heavily in other ways.
This was a team effort, and that team was led by a fierce competitor.
ice water personified pic.twitter.com/PAzKftLzQI— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) January 2, 2023
Georgia Amoore’s Mother Spent a New Year’s Celebration in the States
Maybe there was a little more behind Georgia Amoore’s stand out team leading performance in today’s critical win?
We waited till G's mom could present her a game ball for her - against Nebraska on Dec. 1 #Hokies pic.twitter.com/wUKzILbTts— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) January 1, 2023
Kelly Amoore, Georgia’s mother made the trip from summer in Ballarat, Victoria to a chilly holiday in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She was there to present Georgia with the Nebraska game ball, the one she scored to program’s first triple-double. It was nice to see and maybe, just maybe put a bit more emotional energy in Amoore’s already impressive basketball skills.
Even the NCAA March Madness Folks Noticed the Effort Today
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) January 1, 2023
No. 7 @HokiesWBB defeats No. 13 North Carolina, 68-65#NCAAWBB pic.twitter.com/Pt0pGE8WoL
The Wahoos come visiting the Cassell on Thursday January 5th. The Tip-off is at 7:00PM and we intend to be there.