Tech Takes Down the Panthers in Their House
This game was far more important than one would think at a glance. Pittsburgh is definitely an ACC opponent, yes, but the game was on the road and face up against a sliding Panther team that was at home and absolutely desperate for a win.
Bringing home a dub pic.twitter.com/1lvzRgjjqt— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) January 20, 2023
There Wasn’t Any Big Magic in the Strategy, Just a Simple Score First and Stay Ahead
The Hokies opened the game with the good news of having Ashley Owusu back in the lineup. No one expected her to play a huge role in the game, it was an appearance where she played about a half off the bench, but her energy level contribution helped Tech.
The scoring start was typical of a Hokie winning effort. The first points for Tech came off of a Georgia Amoore 3-pointer, and from that moment on (the 9:45 mark of the 1st quarter) the Hokies never fell behind. It did get a bit pinchy at times (a tie just before the end of the 1st half was a bit scary), though. Pittsburgh never quite got put away, and in basketball hanging around by one or two buckets can net you a game at the end.
The game did threaten to get bogged down in the middle of the 1st. Neither team scored anything between the 7:00 and 4:00 marks of the period. The score remained stuck at an unusually low 9-5 in favor of Tech but then the ice broke with a 2-point bucket by Pitt. At 9-7 and a bit too close for comfort, Ashley Owusu proved that the pinky finger was working by draining a three and the teams settled into a 2-4 point exchange where Pitt just couldn’t close the gap. In the closing two minutes of the quarter, the Hokies stretched out the lead with a failed exchange by Pitt and wrestled a four point lead out of the quarter as it closed.
The second quarter was largely more of the same. There were no runs, just a steady series of back and forth scoring with the Hokies maintaining that one or two bucket lead and Pitt never quite managing to close the gap. Then as the clock started to tick away, at the 1:17 second mark, Pitt evened it up at 32 all. The last points of the quarter were scored by Liz Kitley and that helped to snuff out any real Panther momentum that could have developed with the tying points. The half ended with the Hokies up by that single bucket 34-32.
The Second Half was Just as Close but Less Nerve-racking
The third quarter sort of stumbled a bit out of the gate with both teams missing shots, and the Hokies subbing in Cayla King for Ashley Owusu. Points didn’t go up until Georgia Amoore swiped a ball and broke down court to score on a short jumper. That pushed the lead out to 4 points but gave Amoore a bit of room to drain another bucket from downtown and do it again on her next opportunity giving the Hokies an advantage in the exchange of 6 points to 4. At the 6:36 mark the Hokies managed to stretch the lead to 10, and that breathing room made all the difference for the quarter. Their lead never narrowed below 7 points and bumped up to 11 twice before the buzzer sounded with the Hokies looking to figure a way to close out the game in the 4th. It was 57-50, and Pitt was still feeling like they could nab this one.
The last quarter seemed like it was being played in soft beach sand.. or gym mats. It took two and a half minutes before anyone scored anything. Pitt scored 2 first, but Kayana Traylor scored right back. And that was pretty much the entire story of the 4th quarter. Pitt would score, then Tech would score. Tech would bump out the score by a few, then Pitt would narrow it. In the end, neither team ever gained enough traction for a true run, and thankfully that ended the game with both teams scoring 12 points in the 4th, and that left Tech with the same 7-point lead that it had at the 10-minute mark to start.
Statistics to Note
Amoore played 38 of 40 minutes and led the Hokies in scoring with 21 points. She wasn’t active on the boards grabbing only one defensive rebound. She dished out three assists and swiped the ball twice. Amoore was 5 of 11 from 3-point range and a perfect 2 for 2 from the charity stripe.
Kitley double-doubled again this evening. She scored 13 points all but one foul shot from close range, and nabbed 13 boards, a block, and a steal. Kitley stayed on the floor for 39 minutes and was critical to the defense stopping any rallies with 11 of those rebounds coming on defense.
KT played 28 minutes and scored 13, six points of that came from the free-throw line. She dished out five assists.
KT has been big this quarter— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) January 20, 2023
Our lead is up to 53-44 pic.twitter.com/bYTbpUSL5x
Soule managed the other double-double of the evening putting up 12 points and 11 rebounds for her 31 minutes on the court. The biggest observation on those rebounds was the importance of the ratio. She managed 8 offensive rebounds, and those are critical for salvaging an offensive situation and getting a put back. That sort of hustle cost her a bit in whistles, so she finished the game with 4 personals but didn’t foul out.
Ashely Owusu, Cayla King, and Taylor Geiman
These players spend time on the court, King playing the most at 29 minutes she only put the ball up 7 times and managed 3. Owusu put in 21 as mentioned before hitting a three and a two but making only 8 attempts. D’asia Gregg played 11 minutes. She contributed 2 points (actually she only took one shot and drained it) but made 4 rebounds and an assist. Taylor Geiman got a few minutes (3) on the floor but it was hardly enough to find the range, so she didn’t put the ball up. She did manage an assist which in a game this close was important.
As They Say, A Win Is a Win - this one was a nice one.
Next up Wake Forest Visits the Cassell on Sunday Jan 22nd
(Will we see these?... I want one...)
Hail to the Hokies pic.twitter.com/CJVyxXLHjC— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) January 20, 2023