A Runaway in the Cassell
It was a respectable crowd building in the Cassell for the Hokies’ 2nd home game of the 2023-2024 basketball season. The Houston Christian Huskies were not expected to win, it was a good contest to test their mettle and get them valuable “play up” experience, but the end result might have been a bit much for them. There is some surety that they probably would have liked to do better.
First Half Surge Away
As it was, new starter Rose Micheaux opened the scoring with a put back of her previous attempt from the paint. The time was 9:38 of the 1st, and the score was 2-0 Hokies. That’s the closest the Huskies would get. Georgia Amoore (who was inexplicably quiet with the shots - 8 total attempts for the game) put in the next two, and at 4-0 the Hokies never really looked back too hard. Carleigh Wenzel pumped in a 3-pointer from downtown, to close the first quarter with the Hokies up 30-16, and their defense finally put a stop to the Huskie offense for a while. Houston Christian would only score another 20 for the entire game.
The second quarter started pretty much where things left off in the 1st. The Tech defense was smothering, and the Tech offense was pretty much unstoppable. By the end of the half, the Hokies had stretched the lead to 38 by scoring 31 points, while the Huskies only managed 7. Even Liz Kitley had stayed sharp, even with limited time on the floor, and even took a couple of shots from 3-point range at the top of the key. She sunk one of those to great fanfare. Liz doesn’t shoot from outside much and seemed to be excited to get the nod to put one up from outside the zone. Kenny Brooks was swapping players in and out so fast it looked like hockey line changes. There were some interesting substitutions and floor pairings. Clara Strack spent time at Center. It’s anticipated that she’ll be next season’s starting Center and she certainly came up big this evening. What’s interesting is that Brooks played Strack and Kitley on the floor at the same time in this game. That’s an interesting twist on a team that usually plays with a 3 Guard, 1 Forward, and 1 Center formation. Matilda Ekh also showed up well in the first half. She dropped a few threes into the basket, muscled up on defense, and played tough inside on offense.
Georgia Doing G Things
What you don’t see for the first half is much of much from Georgia. She took 3 shots in the 2nd quarter and only one 2-pointer drained. It’s not until you look at the stats and the scoring summary where you start to see a patter developing. The half closed with a layup by Clara Strack assisted by Georgia Amoore. Then Liz Kitley dropped her trey in from above the key, assisted by Georgia Amoore. And the last score of the half was another 2 points put up by Liz, assisted by Georgia. Something was brewing with the point guard, and it was going to be interesting by the end of the game.
To pick that story up, Georgia pushed out 7 assists in the first quarter to a variety of her teammates. She passed out 3 feeds in the 2nd quarter to net 10 for the half. In the 4th quarter she had upped that to 15 with five more helping hands, and then in the fourth with limited time on the floor she double-doubled with a 3-pointer and her 16 total assists.
While there were lots of players in double scoring figures for the evening, six, only Georgia managed the feat with assists instead of rebounds.
Not only did Georgia set an assist record, but the Lady Hokies also put up their biggest win in program history, too.
It was a dominating performance, and the bench got into the act with Amoore only playing 27 minutes, and most of the remainder playing pretty much half a game.
Player Stats to Note
Liz scored a game high 23 points with 6 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. She didn’t double-double this time which would be disappointing if it wasn’t that she played 21 minutes, which is only really half a game. It was a solid performance including her 2 assists, one of which was a slick between the legs backward bounce pass to Georgia for an Amoore three.
It’s looking more and more like Kenny Brooks found himself another excellent starter from the portal. Rose was 6 of 7 from the floor for 12 points, also had 6 boards, 2 assists, and a blocked shot.
Ekh is also stepping up and proving that she was a premium portal pickup. She has a soild defensive presence and can score from outside. Ekh dropped in 11 points 9 of which were threes, and also grabbed 7 rebounds. She was also right in there with Kitley on the no-nos by blocking 2 shots.
Cayla was in most places this evening. She even got to do some point guard quarterbacking in the game, even with Georgia in the game. King was 4-9 from the floor with 3 of those being from downtown. She also put in 11 points, and two stuffs.
The surprise of the game was how late it took Georgia to get to double figures on the score board. She finally dropped a three-point shot into the bucket in the middle of the 4th quarter to get her total to 10. That just didn’t seem to be her “thing” for this game. When you finally look at the total number of shots that she took, she was hitting a very respectable 4 or 8. But 8 total shots for Amoore is a very quiet evening on the scoring front. Her big contribution was her skillful handling of the offensive lead duties and dishing out the roundball to players with better shots.
Here is the fun set of numbers. Clara Strack is the surprise Hokie of the game. She put up 19 points in 20 minutes on the floor. She pulled down 8 boards, and also issued 2 blocks. With Strack the anticipated starting Center for next season, it is encouraging to see this super performance from her.
Carys Baker, Samyha Suffren, Carleigh Wenzel, and Olivia Summiel
Clarys played 14 minutes, scored 8 on 2 buckets from downtown and two free throws. She only took three shots and blocked 1. Samyha was 2-2 from 2-point range and 2-2 from the charity stripe. Carleigh played 25 minutes but was almost entirely defensive with 6 rebounds and taking only 2 shots from beyond the arc. She scored one and made 2 free throws to end up with 5 points. Olivia Summiel had 5 rebounds and an assist.
It was a dominating game for the Lady Hokies, and next week the competition is going to be a bit stiffer. Monday the 20th UNC-Greensboro will come to the Cassell and make a run at the Hokies, before the Hokies get on a plane and fly to the Caribbean to play in the big Cayman Islands tournament.
We’ll have the View from Cassell Courtside photo essay up by Sunday. Tomorrow is NC State Preview time, and Saturday is Game Day for the gridiron.