Kayana Traylor Shines as #12 Virginia Tech Beats UVA 72-60

Kayana Traylor Shines as #12 Virginia Tech Beats UVA 72-60
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Jan 29, 2023

When you have five players who have either been All-Americans or all-conference in the ACC or Big 10 at least once in their careers, you have an insane luxury of options who can drive you to victory. While Kayana Traylor hasn't had to do that often, she did so tonight leading the Hokies to a bounce back road victory at UVA after a tough loss at Duke on Thursday.

#12 Virginia Tech beat UVA 72-60 to sweep the season series to improve to 17-4 on the season including 7-4 in ACC play while the Cavaliers fell to 14-8 overall including 3-8 in ACC play.

After Duke stifled their offensive attack, Virginia Tech put together one of their most efficient shooting performances of the season going 27-51 (52.9%) from the field including 6-15 (40%) from three-point range plus 12-15 (80%) from the free-throw line. Compare that to a 40.4/22.2/92.3 shooting split for UVA and sometimes, the simples explanation is the right one for how this game went down.

Tech started out this game fast leading 26-13 after one before UVA tightened the game up going into halftime. However, the Hokies showed great poise throughout the second half answering the call to any UVA run and preventing the Cavaliers from cutting the lead down to a single possession at any point in the second half.

Kayana Traylor was a big reason for that efficiency as the former All-B1G player at Purdue had one of her best games as a Hokie leading Tech with 25 points on 9-15 shooting including 3-6 from three-point range plus 4-4 from the free-throw line. Her biggest highlight of the night came at the end of the Hokies' dominant 26-13 first quarter

While that play was the biggest highlight of her game, her most impactful came in the fourth quarter as she had 15 points in the final 10 minutes of this game to help close this game out.

If you're wondering one reason why this is a team that can get to the Final Four, it's proven on nights like this where Tech's fourth-leading scorer (and fifth highest pedigreed player) can take over a game and dominate a team that went undefeated in non-conference play on their way to a 12-point road victory. That just shows the insane number of options that this team has who can all rise to the occasion at any moment.

Of course, it wasn't just the Traylor show as Elizabeth Kitley had a bounce-back night with 16 points on a very efficient 8-11 from the field plus 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. Kitley was dominant in the paint and was able to find the type of rhythm that teams will do anything they can to try to keep her from getting in as we saw Duke do.

Georgia Amoore had a quiet but solid night with 9 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds while D'Asia Gregg was big off the bench with 2 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Taylor Soule may have fouled out, but she had 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in only 19 minutes while Cayla King had 7 points. Ashley Owusu continued working her way back into the flow of things with 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists in 19 minutes while Taylor Geiman played 4 minutes as the Hokies continue to go 8-deep now that they are healthier.

While UVA has struggled some in ACC play, this is still a quality basketball team and given how the Hokies had some issues on the road early on in ACC play, Tech has taken strides forward as they start to play more like the big time team that they are.

An intriguing game against Syracuse at home looms on Thursday before a gauntlet run of six straight games against ranked teams begins on Big Monday on February 6th at NC State followed by home games against Florida State, Duke, and the Wolfpack followed by a road game at UNC. This upcoming stretch presents a big opportunity for the Hokies to build out their resume and push themselves higher up the seed list beyond a 4 seed towards a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The good news is they'll now carry some positive momentum after a quality road win in the Commonwealth Clash.