It wasn’t a Win, but it was sure a “WIN”
Selection Sunday in Cassell Coliseum was reserved for the ACC Champion Women’s Basketball team and a life feed of the big NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Selection show. It wasn’t a huge crowd, late on a Sunday evening with a cold nearly icy rain coming down but it was very enthusiastic.
Basketball and Baseball Radio Announcer Evan Hughes hosted the event and gave a few minutes for the crowd to hear from four of the players before the show started. First up, Taylor Soule and Kayana Traylor were grilled gently about being transfers and how it felt to get to the point of not only winning an ACC championship, but also getting the chance for a high seed in the NCAA Tourney.
They were both very gracious and good humored. You could tell that they had become full-fledged Hokies through and through. Soule reminded everyone that when Head Coach Kenny Brooks first contacted her that he didn’t even have to say anything, she was coming. KT had a really excellent 2022 but confessed that she hadn’t been satisfied with the way that things had ended, and this was a chance to correct that. You could tell that both of them were happy, loose, and thoroughly enjoying the crowd and situation.
Liz Kitley and Georgia Amoore (we call them Ms. Inside and Ms. Outside) are critical teammates on the floor but also roommates off the court, and you could tell that they have been doing some schtick together with their “Queens of the Cassell” podcast. Neither one of them did anything even remotely boastful. In fact, it was an effort to downplay their own personal accomplishments (often looking pained when accolades were announced) and in general handing back credit to the team, other players, and even each other. It was a moment that told us why this team is so good and so special. No one on this squad thinks that “they are all that”.
The reality was though, that this show was all about the team, how it got to where it is, and the good man that built this team and taught it to play together. Head Coach Kenny Brooks was his unassuming, humble self and his effect on his team is special.
Ultimately though, the crowd and team had to wait. The Greenville region was first, and for whatever reason, the Hokies weren’t in it. Of course, South Carolina, undefeated and formidable was the number one seed in that region. The Hokies would have to wait for the commercial break and the news, which seemed to ripple through the crowd as the feed from ESPN went hot, and the word got around that Tech was going to be in this round.
The Seattle Region had Groups 3 and 4 for the evening. Suddenly, up popped the flying VT just as the show transitioned from commercial and the bracket name announced. The crowd erupted with big cheers, and the team started hopping around celebrating.
The Final Bracket has been published by the NCAA. It shows the start of play on March 17th and 18th with Tech opening the tournament against 16th seed Chattanooga. Irony, here their Head Coach is a former Tech Women’s Basketball Associate HC Shawn Poppie, so Kenny’s going to have to work on something. Poppie helped build this particular team and spent a long time with Brooks so knows the offense and the plays (which Coach Brooks noted at the end of the event, Chattanooga used.)
It’s not going to be a walk over.
The first two rounds for this group will be played in Blacksburg. See the Link for the NCAA official bracket.
Of course, there will be tickets on sale, and they are reserved so grab them when the window opens.
Nothing like some playoffs to make the Cassell Rock, including 1500 free student tickets being given out in the lottery. We can’t wait.