It was a night of celebration in Blacksburg as Virginia Tech raised their first Final Four banner in school history after last year's historic run to Dallas, and several players receiver their Final Four rings. On the court, the #8 Hokies put on a fittingly dominant performance that made clear that they will be national title contenders again this season to anyone who didn't already know that.
#8 Virginia Tech beat High Point 94-55 to get off to a 1-0 start in front of a packed Cassell Coliseum. A huge showdown looms next on Thursday in Charlotte as the 8th-ranked Hokies take on Caitlin Clark and #3 Iowa in a matchup featuring two of last year's Final Four teams.
Tech was in complete control of this game from the start putting on one of their best offensive quarters of the Kenny Brooks era with 38 points on 14-16 shooting from the field including 4-6 from three-point range. That gave Tech a 23-point advantage entering the second quarter that they slowly built upon the rest of the way in this dominant game.
Tech was sharp overall with 17 assists on 35 buckets while shooting 57.4% from the field including 42.3% from three-point range. Tech was dominant on the glass with 12 offensive rebounds and 17 second chance points compared to eight offensive rebounds and four second chance points for High Point.
Two-time defending ACC Player of the Year Liz Kitley did what she does dominating the paint for the Hokies with 27 points on 12-17 shooting from the field and 3-3 from the free-throw line, plus 11 rebounds, two blocks, and two assists. It was a typically dominant performance from Kitley as the Preseason All-American continues her 2023-24 First Team All-American trajectory.
Fellow returning All-American Georgia Amoore also shined in this game with 14 points, nine assists, and 3 rebounds coming just one assist short of a season-opening double-double. The Aussie point guard may not have had her best shooting night from three-point range, but she did what she always does in being dangerous driving the basketball and finding open shooters with ease.
Tech's only other returner who played last season, Cayla King, had a strong start to her 2023-24 season with 14 points while shooting 4-7 from three-point range plus three assists, two rebounds, and two blocks. King also got some work running the point during the second half of this game and could prove to be Tech's "backup point guard" of sorts for Amoore at times this season.
Michigan State transfer Matilda Ekh was the biggest star of those making their Virginia Tech debuts. The Swedish sharpshooter showed why she was an All-Big 10 Honorable Mention player last season with 15 points while shooting 3-7 from three-point range plus five rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal while proving valuable all over the floor on offense and defense. A backcourt trio of Amoore, King, and Ekh is going to give every opponent nightmares given the three-point shooting all three bring to the table.
Minnesota transfer Rose Micheaux also had a strong VT debut proving to be a physical forward with a high motor as she had six points, eight rebounds, and one block though her five turnovers will be something to work on.
Talented redshirt freshman Carleigh Wenzel had a quality debut with seven points on 3-4 shooting from the field while adding four blocks and showing why she is seen as a future star for VT. Meanwhile, Wake Forest transfer Olivia Summiel was very effective with four points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one block.
Three freshman made their collegiate debuts in Carys Baker, Clara Strack, and Samyha Suffren. Baker led the trio with three points while Strack also had two points and two rebounds, and Suffren had two points and one rebound.
It was a festive night all-around for the Hokies from celebrating the historic Final Four run of last season with the first Final Four banner in VT history, to putting on a dominant display of basketball from the opening tip.
Now the focus shifts to the first major test of the season in a marquee, nationally-televised showdown against #3 Iowa.