#9 Virginia Tech Beats #22 North Carolina 61-59 on Elizabeth Kitley's Buzzer Beater

#9 Virginia Tech Beats #22 North Carolina 61-59 on Elizabeth Kitley's Buzzer Beater
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics

Will Locklin | @locklin_will

TLP: Writer/Basketball Analyst
Feb 24, 2023

As the second free throw of a two-shot foul trip clanked off the back right side of the rim, newly-minted all-time program leading scorer Elizabeth Kitley snagged the rebound and Virginia Tech took a timeout with 2.1 seconds on the clock. Needing one more bucket to break the 59-59 tie, head coach Kenny Brooks went to a simple look for the Hokies' superstar.

Fellow Queen of the Cassell Georgia Amoore set a cross screen from the elbow extended area for Kitley to come off of. Tar Heel defenders were caught off guard and Kitley caught the inbounds, turned around and took a sweet looking jumper off the wrist.

The shot ripped the chords of Carmichael Arena and caused shocking silence to befall the UNC faithful in attendance. Kitley and her overjoyed teammates, however, had plenty to celebrate as the reigning ACC Player of the Week’s game-winning jumper elevated the #9 Hokies over the #22 Heels 61-59 in Chapel Hill, NC.

While the ending heroics from the woman, myth, legend herself, Liz Kitley, proved to be the clincher, Tech had much to overcome en route to the valiant victory. Namely, the Hokies got off to an ice cold start that saw them not generate a point on the scoreboard through nearly the first five and a half minutes of the game.

Kayana Traylor broke the ice for Tech, scoring the squad's first basket and many more throughout the contest. After Kitley, it was Traylor who put the Hokies on her back. She scored 20 points on 7-13 shooting from the floor including 4-6 from three-point range. It was Traylor’s third game of 20 or more points on the season and it came when Tech desperately needed it.

Those not with the name Kitley or Traylor written on the back of a Tech jersey, struggled to score the ball effectively and offer support to the dynamic duo. Amoore, Taylor Soule, and Cayla King all scored 16 points combined on 6-24 shooting from the field. However, King did hit a pair of clutch free throws prior to Kitley’s buzzer beater which placed the Hokies in front at the time.

When it’s etched into the history books, this game will be remembered for the play of Virginia Tech women’s basketball's greatest player of all time, Liz Kitley. She scored 21 points on 9-14 shooting, broke the program all-time leading scorer held previously by former teammate Aisha Sheppard and hit the ice in the veins game-winner.

Kitley just earned ACC Player of the Week honors for her play in the last two, and might win another one in addition to her second POY award by the season's end. She was a legendary Hokie before Thursday night, but that performance put an extra layer of icing onto her enormously tall cake of accomplishments.

The Hokies are now winners of their last seven ACC games, four of which were against ranked opponents at the time of victory. This squad is playing their best basketball at the right time and is on track for a deep run in not just the ACC Tournament but in March Madness as well. As it stands, the Hokies would be the third seed in Greensboro behind Duke and Notre Dame.

Tech is also currently slotted for a two seed in the NCAA tournament, giving them the opportunity to host both the first and second rounds of the Big Dance. If they succeed in Greensboro, the Hokies could have a chance to climb to a potential 1 seed.

Any way you slice it, Thursday night's magic via Liz Kitley is additional proof that this season is shaping up to be a special one for this squad.