Fresh off of a 105-point performance and near 70 point thrashing over the Houston Christian Huskies, Virginia Tech rattled off their third 20+ point victory in just their fourth game of the season, beating UNC Greensboro 72-51 to improve to 3-1 on the season.
While the Spartans were able to keep pace with the 9th ranked Hokies through the first quarter, Virginia Tech responded with a 22-9 second quarter, building a 14-point halftime lead, which they never looked back from.
Two-time reigning ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley stole the show with a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double. Kitley was able to pick apart the Spartans' defense with a combination of pick and roll finishes and post touches, where she was able to use her size to knock down post fades over the defense, a move that seemingly has become her bread and butter. Kitley has been showing off her array of moves in the mid range all year, displaying just how far she’s come from the more one dimensional, yet still dominant low post threat she was earlier in her career.
Fellow star, Georgia Amoore, also impressed with nine points, to go along with eight assists, and 4 boards. While Amoore obviously won’t be pleased with her shooting performance, going 4-15 from the field, and just 1-8 from three-point range, she was able to make a great impact without putting the ball in the basket. Her eight assists also helped her set the new school record for the most assists over a two-game period with 24 between this game and the 16 she had against Houston Christian.
While the night was mostly about Elizabeth Kitley, the rest of the starting unit still chipped in. Matilda Ekh had nine points and four boards, Rose Micheaux went for eight points and five rebounds, and Cayla King, despite a rough shooting night, finished with five assists, while also knocking down 1-5 three point attempts.
While it may seem like just a mediocre offensive night for this talented Tech team, they were going up against a stout UNC Greensboro defense that actually ranked 10th in the country in scoring defense, entering this game, only allowing an average of 46.5 points per game. In fact, the Hokies scored more than anyone had scored on the Spartans through their first four games of the season.
With all of that being said, it was really the Hokies' defense that shined tonight. The Hokies finished the game with seven blocks, three of which came from Elizabeth Kitley, while holding the Spartans to just 35% shooting, and a mere one made three pointer on the entire game on 10 attempts.
Scoring only two points all night on fast breaks, the Hokies completely took away all transition opportunities for the Spartans, forcing them to play through the half court set. Due to the rim protection of Kitley, Virginia Tech has the luxury of being able to run teams off of the three-point line, and funnel players into the paint where Kitley is just sitting there waiting for them.
This perfectly describes how they were able to defend UNC Greensboro, who just couldn’t get into an offensive flow after the first quarter, ending the game with just 5 assists, which they doubled with 10 turnovers.
While UNC Greensboro’s Jayde Gamble had a very impressive 25-point game on 12-19 from the field, the Hokies completely took leading scorer Isys Grady out of the game, scoring just two points, on 0-7 from the field. This helped Tech hold the Spartans 20 points below their season scoring average, and drop UNC Greensboro to 3-2 on the year.
This week, the Hokies will have a quick turnaround after celebrating Thanksgiving, as they face the Kansas Jayhawks on November 24th in the Cayman Islands. This will be their second power conference matchup of the year, with the Hokies looking to pick up their first win against power conference competition of the 2023-24 season after their nail-biting 80-76 loss to currently #5 Iowa earlier this month.