Photo Credit: Liam Sment
Following Sunday’s streak-breaking loss to North Carolina, Georgia Amoore said that having better energy and attitude would be “vital” for Virginia Tech going into the ACC Tournament.
She and her teammates took that message to heart in their first matchup in Greensboro, opening the game with a 28-12 run in the first 12 minutes.
The run gave Virginia Tech a lead that it never relinquished, helping the team to a 72-64 victory on Thursday night over Miami. The win marked Kenny Brooks’ 100th win as the head coach of the program.
The Hokies were firing on all cylinders right out of the gates, shooting over 50% from the field in the first half, including six triples.
Virginia Tech’s sharp shooting was accompanied by stifling defense, as the team forced eight Miami turnovers and held the Hurricanes to only two triples in the entire half.
The combination of efficient offense and suffocating defense propelled the Hokies to a 43-28 halftime advantage.
The only major hiccup in the first half came when Aisha Sheppard exited the game at the 7:54 mark in the second quarter with an ankle injury, causing the star guard to miss the rest of the game.
“Hopefully we’ll get some treatment tonight and we’ll see how [Sheppard] feels tomorrow,” Kenny Brooks said after the game.
Miami threatened a comeback in the second half, cutting the Virginia Tech lead to only 12 going into the fourth quarter after VT led by as many as 21 in the third quarter.
A 5-0 run from the Hurricanes to begin the fourth quarter reduced the Hokies’ lead to 7, but Virginia Tech buckled down, scoring 13 points in the final six minutes to ice the victory.
“Tremendous win for our program,” Brooks said. “These are the kind of games that will help allow you to grow as a basketball team and program, but also the kids individually."
Amoore and Kitley led the way with 16 points apiece in the victory. D’asia Gregg also had a standout performance, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
With the win, Virginia Tech advances to the semifinals, where a rematch against N.C. State awaits. The difference between now and the last meeting, where the Hokies pulled off the huge upset win, is that Wolfpack star Elissa Cunane is back in the fold for N.C. State.
“Cunane is a tremendous player. She’s one of the best players in our league, but you almost look at the way that [Camille] Hobby played in her absence, I can’t imagine her doing a whole lot more than what Hobby did to us,” Brooks said. “We’re just going to go out there and whoever’s out there we’re going to play.”
Camille Hobby dropped 19 points and hauled in 9 rebounds for N.C. State last time they faced the Hokies.
The Hokies will have the opportunity to run it back against the Wolfpack tomorrow at 6 p.m.