The Last Few Will Tell Where the Women’s Big Show will Start
Athletes and programs like to win because they are what they are, competitive. Sometimes when the basement is too close it’s motivated by just getting better. This time there is not much of any doubt that the Virginia Tech Hokies Women’s Basketball Team is going to the NCAA Tournament. The team just hit the magic 20 game win barrier, and after defeating 22nd ranked NC State on the road just blew the doors off of 19th ranked Florida State to begin tucking in the corners of a monster season.
That's four straight as we defeat FSU Sunday ‼️ pic.twitter.com/Tc1gvYcKFI— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) February 12, 2023
Besides pride, the Hokies are working on the probability of a high enough ranking and seeding level for the tournament that Blacksburg and the Cassell could get an opportunity to host a regional in the playoffs. That would mean the first two games of the 2022-2023 NCAA Tournament would start in Blacksburg. We’ll see the first round of voting and haggling has that event happening BUT it truly “depends” on where the Hokies finish the regular season. Beating another ranked team, the second one in a row, goes a long way to providing that big early tournament booster of playing at home.
Keeping the Game Summary Short
No one was kidding anyone; this game was going to be tough. Florida State was not only ranked but has some of the best players in women’s college basketball. And as events happened, Tech was partially down a key player. Liz Kitley started the game, but only ended up playing a total of 19 minutes. When Kitley is out that means the balance between Ms. Outside, Georgia Amoore and Ms. Inside is disrupted, and Tech tends to struggle a bit. Not this time.
The keys to this game were the big step up of the other players and a runaway first half deluge of three pointers from Amoore and the Hokies other outside shooter Cayla King. The story of the game was the 34-11 lead as the 1st quarter ended that drained away most of Florida State’s potential momentum. All Tech had to do was keep scoring pace on even exchanges and that made it nearly impossible for the Seminoles to make up the distance.
Virginia Tech was a blistering blizzard of threes in the first quarter. Between Amoore, King, and Kayana Traylor (who started and ended the quarter with threes) the Hokies had gone on a run that dug the Seminoles into a deep hole that they were unlikely to get out of. They certainly tried, but they just never managed to get any runs going.
Tech’s defense was solid, even in the absence of Kitley for most of the game. D’asia Gregg didn’t score in double figures, but she sure was a solid rally stopper grabbing 12 (all defensive) rebounds to snuff out any hopes of a Seminole rally.
Florida State actually won every other quarter, but never managed a difference enough to make up that crater that formed in Tech’s favor in the 1st. Even with FSU’s final closing basket, the Hokies just shrugged it off as it the score never got closer than 12 points in the later stages of the game. Tech led from KT’s opening 3, 20 seconds into the game and FSU never even managed an early tie.
Well, she’s up on this list, again. G scored an impressive 25 points (6 of 11 from downtown) but also dished out 9 assists (one more and she’d have had a sideways double-double). That means she wasn’t just putting the ball in the bucket; she was dominating at doing her job of running the team on the floor as the Point Guard. It was a truly huge performance for her, and during the game she passed the 1,000-point mark for the Hokies. She’s a Junior, folks! She’s coming back next season, too!
The bucket that put G over the threshold pic.twitter.com/lDgm84yptp— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) February 12, 2023
When Liz spends time on the bench, the team relies on Soule and Gregg to fill in the gaps. both of them filled in and more. Soule played 35 minutes and pumped in 18 points including 6 of 7 from both 2-point range and the charity stripe. She nabbed four boards and even swiped the ball from a Seminole.
Cayla managed her best game scoring and time wise. King played 36 minutes, put in 12 points, all threes. She managed four rebounds, a block and an assist. Her flurry of threes with Amoore in the first quarter was a big part of the run that buried FSU.
Kitley only played 19 minutes, but in that time, she managed go 5 of 8 from the floor, 4 reebs, 2 blocks, and a steal. There didn’t seem to be a big reason given for Liz riding the pine for most of the game, but her four personal fouls means that the Seminoles were inside beating her up. She still put up double figures, though.
Normally someone who doesn’t put up double figures isn’t highlighted but this is a noble exception. Gregg was given the mission of playing a hard inside defense against a really high scoring team. With Kitley out most of the game, it was critical that Gregg get in and make up that loss of rebounding power. Wow, did she accomplish that feat. D’asia pulled down 12 very critical defensive rebounds that stopped any momentum that the Seminoles tried to develop. She did score 7 and pumped in 2 assists, but it was clearing the defensive boards that set her performance apart.
Kayana Traylor and Taylor Geiman
Traylor started the game with a 3 and ended the roaring 1st quarter with another. She put in 8 total points for the afternoon. KT also pushed out 3 assists, and 2 steals to go with her 3 rebounds. Taylor Geiman didn’t burn up a whole lot of court time but made use of her six minutes by draining a bucket from downtown.
The Big Deal
The Hokies ended up with four players in double figures for the afternoon, a convincing ranked win for the fourth game in a row.
back to back over ranked teams pic.twitter.com/tBnpEDHjn9— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) February 12, 2023
They are set up to finish out the final four games of the season against some very tough opponents, most notably Duke on Thursday (Feb 16th) and NC State on Sunday (Feb 19th) at home. They’ll complete the regular season on the road against Carolina and Georgia Tech. It isn’t a waiting game just yet. The ACC Tournament lurks and starts on March 1st.