#7 Virginia Tech Improves to 10-0 With 86-48 Victory Over UNC Asheville

#7 Virginia Tech Improves to 10-0 With 86-48 Victory Over UNC Asheville
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Dec 11, 2022

Elizabeth Kitley grabbed the ball off the side iron and shuffled a pass to Georgia Amoore with 6:20 to go in the third quarter of a 50-23 ball game. At that moment, the Hokies had one thing on their mind. To run down the floor as fast as possible.

Flanking Amoore was Taylor Soule to her right and Kayana Traylor to her left. The cavalry got up the floor quickly and in a blazing burst of speed they attacked from a three on two fast break.

Soule was the recipient of a beautiful throw ahead pass from Amoore that Soule had to climb the ladder to grab. Soule caught the pass and on her way down, spotted an open Traylor under the basket. In one motion, Soule fed Traylor down low for an easy two points and gave Virginia Tech a nearly insurmountable 30-point advantage.

“We played well in spurts, a little bit slow and sluggish at times,” Kenny Brooks said to the media postgame. “I’m very, very pleased to come away with a win like that. We have a lot to work on but did a really good job and had some good performances.”

No. 7 Virginia Tech rolled past UNC Asheville 86-48 to advance to 10-0 for the third time in the Kenny Brooks era of VT women’s hoops. There were six double digit scorers for the Hokies, but none were as impactful as Taylor Soule Sunday afternoon in Cassell Coliseum.

“We tell her to be disciplined, but we also give her the reins to go ahead and just shoot the gap and get a defensive steal,” Brooks said. “She adds a dimension that we haven’t had in awhile and it makes us an elite defensive team.”

Soule once again made a unique imprint on the court for the Hokies. Typically, she’s the team's glue girl but Sunday afternoon she played the role of primary scorer, putting in a game-high 21 points. Soule scored the ball efficiently too, shooting 70% from the floor and racking up five rebounds with a steal.

“My teammates and coaches reminding me to do my job and do it well,” Soule said after the win. “When you’re playing alongside a lot of really good basketball players it might take a little time, but they’ve given me confidence to play my game.”

It was Virginia Tech’s stellar defense that kickstarted a lot of the Hokies big time runs. As a team, they notched eight steals and forced UNC Asheville into 22 turnovers. Tech held the Bulldogs to 48 total points, the fifth time the Hokies have limited an opponent to under 50 points this season and an ugly 34% from the floor.

“They’re so good on defense collectively as a group. I marvel at what they can do compared to when they were first coming in here,” Brooks said. “Sometimes you get special players and they can play outside of your system.”

The Hokies' brick wall on defense resulted in easy transition opportunities for their offense and got the pace going into Tech’s favor throughout the entire game. The Hokies scored 12 points off the immediate fast break, eight of which were scored by Soule.

“I like defense and if we get on offense quick, then we can get back on defense as well which brings energy to myself and the team.” Soule said. “Getting the ball to our guards up the court who make great passes to me and I do my job and help them out a little bit.”

The quick hitting fast break points were just the baseline for a great offensive output from Virginia Tech once again. The Hokies shot the ball very well on offense as they went 50% from the floor, 39% from three, and 75% from the free throw line.

“Taylor Soule was tremendous, Liz (Kitley) was Liz and did a really good job, Georgia (Amoore) got a double-double, Cayla (King) started to shoot the ball well in the second half,” Brooks said. “They never panicked and we can score in a lot of different ways… I’m proud of the effort.”

Elizabeth Kitley had her regularly scheduled double-double of 20 points on 7-10 shooting & 6-8 from the line to go along with 10 rebounds. Per usual, Kitely was dominant on the interior and enforced her will on fledgling Bulldog defenders in the paint. Her fellow “Queen of Cassell” Georgia Amoore put up 10 points and dished out 10 assists. Amoore has now reached double-digit assists in back-to-back home games

Moreover, Virginia Tech got a hot three-point shooting third quarter from Cayla King who drilled four threes in a six-minute span of the third quarter. Kayana Traylor scored eight points and D’Asia Gregg had an underrated afternoon of 10 points with seven rebounds.

“Since Ashley’s come out, she’s (D'Asia Gregg) been playing exceptionally well in extensive minutes,” Brooks said. “She’s a connector for us... knows what the next play will be, and she’s such a high IQ basketball player.”

Ever since Virginia Tech’s last home contest versus Nebraska where the Hokies won 85-54, they’ve been without a key piece to the puzzle in Ashley Owusu. The former All Big 10 second teamer in 2021 was just finding her footing on this Tech squad before her injury. However, even with her absence, the Hokies are clicking on all cylinders offensively and displaying a constant barrage of high powered offensive performances.

“They’re a selfless group because all of them are capable of being a star.” Brooks said. “They’re all special in their own way and are all willing to sacrifice a possession for the betterment of the team.

Brooks expanded even further on the selfless nature of this current team.

“They all have the capability and they know it but they also know they will be rewarded by team wins.” Brooks said. “It’s a joy to coach because I don’t have to make sure any one person is happy. As long as they win, we’re all good.”

After a nearly 40-point win over UNC Asheville, Virginia Tech moves to 10-0 and will have plenty of time to rest during exam week for the players before their next battle in Cassell.

“We’re gonna get our rest but this week, it will be nice to have a break before such a big game.” Kitley stated. “We have a lot of time to prepare for Notre Dame and we will be focused on what they do and how they play by Sunday.”

Next Sunday, No.7 Virginia Tech hosts No. 5 Notre Dame in what will not just be one of the biggest women’s college basketball games in the ACC, but in the country as a whole. It will be a massive test, perhaps the biggest of the season for the Hokies. Most importantly, it will provide Virginia Tech an opportunity to knock down a top five team and reach that ranking or higher for themselves.