The Lady Hokies are Absolutely and Positively FOR REAL!!!
The Virginia Tech Hokies took to the court before the game to warm up, and much to everyone’s chagrin, there was some sort of disturbance in the force... I mean a lump in the floor, which caused about a 40-minute delay in the tipoff time for the semi-final game in Charlotte. You’d have thought that might have iced up the team with the most at stake, and maybe taken them down a notch or two in the attitude. If that team was supposed to be Virginia Tech, the Hokies didn’t get the message.
The team came out on the court ready to play the most important game of their season, so far. Tech has been at this level of the ACC tournament only once before and that was last season. The outcome wasn’t so sanguine. This year, Tech was facing the Lady Blue Devils and there was a specter and a bit of a sting left over from the last meeting.
It was Duke that was stinging. Duke had been ranked 9th. They came to the Cassell expecting to handle the Hokies and move into the ACC tournament with a high seeding and the top of the media buzz graphs for NCAA seeding and the like. The Hokies weren’t supposed to be that much of a factor. Afterall the league is tobacco road, not Corps and Cow. So, that loss got the Blue Devils spoiling for a fight of sorts.
Big dub on a big stage— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) March 4, 2023
We’ll play for the @accwbb crown tomorrow afternoon pic.twitter.com/s2QCuAS4b0
The game started out, very much according to the way most everyone following the teams thought that it would. Liz Kitley went to work, immediately sinking the first 2-pointer of the game as the first minute ticked away. Duke evened it up and then nudged ahead by 2 on a pair of free throws. The score at the 8:05 mark was a sort of ridiculous 2-4, and that’s when Cayla King stuck her nose into things.
@caylanicole22— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) March 4, 2023
» https://t.co/GlM7J1X3Z1 https://t.co/Fi9cKFeyeH
She hit a critical shot from downtown and immediately put the Hokies ahead of Duke by a point. And with that shot, the Hokies would never trail again in the game. Not only that, but Duke only managed to tie it 6 all a few minutes later, which was then smashed open with a Georgia Amoore three at the 3:18 mark of the 1st quarter. The Hokies led the entire remainder of the game.
Duke did manage to hold Liz Kitley down below double figures in scoring, but you all know what that means. The other players on this team slide around and fill in, and #5 starts getting one on one opportunities from outside the arc. If you blanket one, the other one gets free. The Ms. Inside and Ms. Outside thing is no joke. Elizabeth Kitley unselfishly took on the role of double team draw, and rebounding machine. We’ll go over the stats, but Liz, led the team in clearing off Duke’s attempts. Every rebound stopping a put back is negative points in the pocket. It also drew the Duke defense away from Amoore who had a hot hand and some quick moves to shake free and line up quality mortor shots from deep.
The ‘Magic’ was Hard Work and Blanketing Defense
Duke isn’t a particularly high scoring team. It’s not blazing from downtown, but it is tough from short range, and its defense is stellar. That’s how they prevailed through the season, and that’s how they played Tech in their first meeting on January 26th. Duke held Tech to 55 points but only scored 66, itself. Virginia Tech returned the favor with that 61-45 blanketing at Cassell Coliseum on February 16th.
Duke tried the same style of play, and the Hokies just went ahead and matched them. It was a tough physical game, and the big runs for the Hokies weren’t light speed sprints, they were more of steady pull away offense combined with blanketing defense. Even with Duke emptying its bench again, and playing tough inside ball (their minimum sub time was 16 minutes) they just couldn’t manage to get a consistent offense going. It just was a great win for the Hokies and a star performance by Point Guard Georgia Amoore.
So, Let’s Talk About Those Stats
The odd one from the stat chart is that only one player scored in double figures for this game. (That’s from both teams, btw)
‘G’ was an absolutely blistering 6 of 8 from three-point range. She was a respectable 9-16 total, which works out to 3-8 from 2-point range. Some of those shots were inside and in heavy double team traffic so those are tough for anyone not cresting the 6-and-a-half-foot mark. Georgia dished a team high 7 assists and grabbed five rebounds to go with it. Her 24 points were the main driver of the Tech offense.
No one posted a Tweet of Georgia Sinking one of her six thee pointers. Which is odd, but ACC Women’s Basketball tells us to whom we should pay attention, for this game.
Difference Maker.— ACC Women's Basketball (@accwbb) March 4, 2023
Amoore was 6-8 from three and had 24 points to lead her team to the Championship! pic.twitter.com/WBq0pqQTHg
We can’t forget the rest of the starters and bench players for this one. Just because they didn’t score in double digits doesn’t mean that they didn’t contribute huge things to this win.
D Mo came off the bench, played 27 minutes took exactly three shots and hit exactly 3 shots. She was 1-1 from downtown and 2-2 from 2-point range. She also grabbed a critical 7 rebounds and a steal.
Mo. Three. Good pic.twitter.com/QblgL7qpj9— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) March 4, 2023
Liz Kitley, Kayana Traylor, and Cayla King
Liz was checked like a hockey player this afternoon. She managed 8 points, but that wasn’t her big contribution, she also pulled down a team high 11 rebounds. KT also put 8 points up, 4 rebounds and was right behind Georgia with 6 assists. Cayla didn’t shoot much. She put up 6 attempts and made 2 from downtown. King also gabbed 4 boards, an assist, and a steal. We won’t forget Taylor Soule, but she only played 14 minutes and took no shots. She was a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe. We hope Kenny Brooks was just resting her for the finals.
8-0 run— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) March 4, 2023
» 18 pic.twitter.com/ThR9Za6T8Z
Before we all get basking too much, the Louisville Cardinals tub thumped the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and lost to Tech by a single basket on January 12th at the Cassell. This is going to be another bruising fight, but with a definite need to score points. At that point of the season, the Hokies were having a bit of an issue defending, and it looks very much like they have that sorted out, but the Irish are a defensive team and the game today was not pretty for them.
1:00 is Tipoff, and the Hokies are going to need to throw the kitchen sink at the Lady Cardinals. It’s going to be a tough contest.
Now we can bask, just a bit. Let’s Allow Georgia to Remind Us About What Happened, Today
We will see y'all tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/EHM2zBeAaX— Virginia Tech Women's Basketball (@HokiesWBB) March 4, 2023