Georgia Amoore's 3 Late Free Throws Push #7 Virginia Tech to 68-65 Victory Over #13 North Carolina

Georgia Amoore's 3 Late Free Throws Push #7 Virginia Tech to 68-65 Victory Over #13 North Carolina
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Jan 01, 2023

#7 Virginia Tech and #13 North Carolina have faced each other a lot since the start of 2020, 9 times to be exact. Just about every time, these two teams have produced memorable games with a memorable finish with this game proving no different.

While it was back and forth throughout, the final 30 seconds will be remembered most by the 4,186 fans in attendance inside Cassell Coliseum as UNC called timeout just under the 30 second to go mark following a Liz Kitley turnover.

From there, the drama headed for its crescendo starting with a D'Asia Gregg block on what initially looked to be a quality opportunity right after the entry pass into the line. Instead, Gregg got the block with Tech calling timeout with 14.5 seconds to go with the stage clear for Tech to win it.

Insert Georgia Amoore with the Tech point guard getting it off the in-bounds and then having to scramble for a shot after UNC blew up the initial play. Amoore successfully did though finding an open shot to get off a three-point shot with UNC scrambling and fouling the Australian, sending her to the line for three, high pressure free throws. While many would have at least missed 1 or 2 or maybe all 3 given that the game was tied, Amoore rose to the occasion making them with ease like it was a practice session at Hahn Hurst and not a top 15 matchup inside Cassell Coliseum.

"I just knew that I needed them honestly and it was a draw at that time. The first one, not that I thought I was going to miss it, but I was like 'okay, I need this one'. And the second one, need it. And by the time I got to the third, I was like, 'okay, I'm fine, I've made 2'", Amoore said.

However, Tech needed one more play as UNC called timeout following the three Amoore free throws to advance the ball and give themselves a shot. Insert D'Asia Gregg who broke up the in-bounds pass preventing UNC from having any chance with a seeming homage to VT Football's DBU happening right next door to Lane Stadium.

"I was just locked in just not trying to let them score the ball because I knew they were looking for a 3. I was just playing hard, making sure my person don't beat me back door and make a shot. I was just focusing on not letting my player scored," Gregg said. "It was a reaction (breaking up the pass at the end)."

Gregg was one of the two biggest stars for the Hokies in this game finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 huge block, and a broken up pass that won't be recorded in the stat book but was crucial. Those last two plays weren't the only individually big plays as she had a huge three inside 2 minutes that made it 65-64 VT, and had a huge offensive rebound off a free throw miss late in the third quarter that would lead to a three-point play for Kayana Traylor and a four-point possession overall.

Meanwhile, the biggest star of the day was Georgia Amoore who put on a show with her mom Kelly in attendance from Australia on a day that started with her mom giving her a special game ball from her triple-double against Nebraska. From there, Amoore put on a show with 24 points on 7-17 from the field including 6-14 from three-point range plus 4-5 from the free-throw line while also adding 6 assists and 2 rebounds.

The Australian star point guard had this to say about why she was able to find her shooting rhythm in this game.

"I think prior to this game, I was a bit streaky and a bit in my head about my shot which I clearly shouldn't be, but that Clemson game solidified that I had to be aggressive because if I'm not then god knows what happens. But this game, I knew as soon as I caught, it was going in. That's the mentality I had and it worked this game," Amoore said.

Part of what made this game more meaningful for Amoore was the fact that her mom, who has watched plenty of VT games during the middle of the night in Australia, got to experience this win and her great performance in person.

"You know, she watches the game at 3 or 4am on YouTubeTV so I'm glad she gets to stay awake and watch it live with the crowd because when you're watching it on the screen. You don't get the graphics, Hokie Nation, the announcers, all of that," Amoore said.

Amoore and Gregg stepped up on a day where UNC was effective in limiting paint opportunities for Liz Kitley who despite only getting 11 shot attempts still added 13 points and 7 rebounds. Meanwhile, Cayla King stepped up in addition to Gregg and Amoore as King had 12 points and 8 rebounds in what was a big game for her.

For the Hokies, this win over a top 15 North Carolina came at an important time following 2 losses in their past 3 to Notre Dame and Clemson with that not being lost on Kenny Brooks.

"Yeah it was big for a lot of different reasons," Brooks said. "After this game, one of us is probably going to be ranked 12th or 13th and one's going to be ranked 22nd, which one do you want to be. It has bearing but we have a lot of basketball left to play. But it's big for a lot of different reasons, for that (current ranking), for your status at the moment, because it's Carolina, a lot of different reasons. It was big and we're going to celebrate like it was big."

Tech will have a little time to enjoy this one before they get right back into the thick of a loaded ACC slate with maybe the ACC's most improved team Virginia coming to Blacksburg Thursday for an important rivalry. However, the Hokies have some big momentum on a day where other veterans like Georgia Amoore and D'Asia Gregg made the big plays to take down a top 15 team.