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Kenny Brooks Responds to Liz Kitley Injury Question, Discusses Virginia Tech's Response

Liz Kitley Team 1 VT at UVA 2024
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Will Locklin | @locklin_will
Writer/Basketball Analyst

Halfway into the third quarter of a tied up Commonwealth Clash against Virginia, Elizabeth Kitley, the best women’s basketball player in Virginia Tech’s history, went down on John Paul Jones Arena hardwood from a transition layup through the contact of Virginia’s Taylor Lauterbach.

After the game, which No. 5 Virginia Tech lost 80-75 to UVA, VT head coach Kenny Brooks had the following initial response.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know Kitley’s status and to be honest with you, that’s where my mind is.” Kenny Brooks said postgame.

It appeared as though Kitley landed awkwardly on her left foot along the baseline and the injury was more non-contact than due to her getting fouled on her ninth made field goal of the contest. At best, Tech can hope it’s a bone bruise and at worse the Hokies will fear that it isn’t an ACL injury.

“I’m not going to be able to give you guys anything out of respect for her. But, it’s a lower body extremity, not a concussion.” Brooks said.

Leading up to the Kitley injury, Virginia Tech was going back and forth with arch-rival Virginia in the Commonwealth Clash. The Hokies and Hoos were tied at 41 all when the play happened at the six minute mark of the third quarter. Kitley had 20 points on 9-11 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes.

“The air got sucked out of my sails. She’s everything to us, when she goes out you just don’t know and there’s a lot of concern. She’s more than just 22 & 11 for us.” Brooks said.

Liz Kitley was attended to by several staff members of Tech for about a minute after the play occurred and went to the locker room, not returning until about 30 seconds remained in the third quarter. When Kitley did return to the Hokies bench, she didn’t check back onto the floor for the remainder of the contest and was seen to have a sizable bruise around the knee of her left leg.

The Hokies stayed with the Cavaliers until the bitter end, but were unable to string together enough scoring possessions to take the lead back from Virginia in the fourth quarter. Still, without their superstar, Tech showed a level of fight and resiliency that was admirable.

“I thought they responded well, they played with a lot of heart. Proud of them for showing that resiliency,” Brooks said.

Georgia Amoore carried a heavy offensive load without Kitley in the game, scoring a career high 39 points and knocking down eight three pointers. Amoore nearly had a ninth three but it was called back for an illegal screen on Clara Strack, which swung the momentum of the game out of Tech’s favor as the fourth quarter hit its final stretch.

“That illegal screen they called when she hit that three was big. It kinda changed momentum and we’ll see what happened on that play later.” Brooks said.

Virginia Tech dropped its second straight game to finish a regular season in which the Hokies are still ACC champions. However, the much bigger storyline from Charlottesville is the health and status of Tech’s superstar in Liz Kitley. The ACC Tournament is next and the Hokies will be the top seed, but if Kitley can’t go in Greensboro, it could be an earlier than anticipated exit for Virginia Tech ahead of March Madness.

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