There is more than one way to skin a cat. Over the last month, Virginia Tech continues to grasp that crucial lesson that will be valuable come March. In what was a physical and grind it out type of basketball game, No. 16 Virginia Tech beat the Boston College Eagles 74-63 in front of a sold-out crowd in Cassell Coliseum on Super Bowl Sunday.
That fan presence coming against a below .500 BC on Super Bowl Sunday didn't go unnoticed either.
“To have a game like this on a Sunday where there’s a major event like the Super Bowl happening, it wasn’t expected. But it’s great that they come out and have energy. BC made that run to cut it to nine, it just got really loud and that took us over the edge. It truly makes a difference in the game.” Georgia Amoore said postgame.
From the line of fans waiting to get into the arena 90 minutes before tip-off, to the hoards of Hokie fans waiting for postgame autographs, Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore are gaining legend status in Blacksburg with each game they play. Sunday afternoon, the dynamic duo combined for 50 of Tech’s 74 points and shot 56% from the floor together.
After the game, head coach Kenny Brooks said that he feels the impact of Kitley and Amoore is in line with the greatest athletes to put on Maroon and Orange.
“I’ve been a Tech fan when Dell Curry was doing what he did for this school, with Michael Vick and what he did for this school. These two kids are doing the same thing, in a different sport but they’re like Cher and Madonna, you got Liz and you got Georgia. I’m very proud to be their coach.” Kenny Brooks said postgame.
Against No. 3 NC State, Virginia Tech got the job done by knocking in three-pointers when it mattered most. It wasn’t the same story against the Eagles on Sunday, as Tech shot 27% from behind the three point arc. Cayla King and Matilda Ekh were a combined 8-20 from downtown in Reynolds but were 5-25 from three in Cassell.
Even after a cold shooting game like this, Brooks still believes in the shooting talents of King and Ekh.
“I see them shoot everyday, when it leaves their hand, I can tell you if it’s going in or not,” Brooks said. “I wish Cayla took 20 three-pointers, because that’s how confident we all are in her, and the same goes for Matilda. I want them to continue to shoot.”
In addition to the three point struggles, Tech turned the ball over at an unusually high rate. The Hokies committed 17 miscues of their own and only forced eight turnovers from Boston College for the game.
“The whole attitude of our offense changed when we weren’t hitting shots. We wanted to limit our turnovers, particularly the live ball turnovers,” Brooks said. "They practice everyday messing things up and playing junk defenses to throw us out of rhythm but we expected some of that. If we step up and knock down our shots, the 17 turnovers aren’t even a factor.”
Despite the cold shooting and high rate of turnovers, Tech was able to get down and dirty with the Eagles, which showed most of all in the rebounding department. Virginia Tech nabbed 20 offensive rebounds and were +22 on the glass overall, dominating the Eagles 51-29 on the boards.
In addition to Kitley’s game high 15 rebounds, Oliva Summiel and Clara Strack were feisty on the boards. Summiel finished with a hard fought 11 rebounds and Strack totaled six herself. The play of Summiel, a transfer from Wake Forest, and Strack, a true freshman, has been instrumental on Tech’s seven game win streak.
“Those two have stepped up for us, understanding their value and what they need to do. They’ve done a tremendous job at getting us second chance opportunities, defending the way they need to defend and taking pressure off Liz by rebounding the basketball.” Brooks said.
Throughout the course of the game, Boston College pushed the physicality to Virginia Tech, but the Hokies were ready for that at each stage. There were plenty of questionable calls and no calls directed on the head of Liz Kitley, who drew 12 total fouls for the game.
Kenny Brooks was rather frustrated with the way this game played out and have some stark criticism of the officiating in this game and the state of officiating in women's college basketball as a whole.
“If we want to grow our game, the game has to get better, the game has to get cleaner. You get frustrated when she can come out with a knot on her head and nobody does anything,” Brooks said. “The game is supposed to protect certain areas and we have to enforce that. If not all our tall girls are going to go play volleyball.”
Kitley has been known to draw double teams at a high rate and that was no different Sunday afternoon against Boston College. Even with the fouls controversy, Kitley finished with 24 points on 9-14 shooting and 4-7 from distance to go along with her 15 rebounds. Georgia Amoore ended the game with 26 points while shooting 9-18 from the field.
Virginia Tech made it seven straight victories in the ACC and advanced to a conference leading 11-2 record in the ACC and 20-4 overall with their 11 point win over Boston College. The Hokies will stay in Blacksburg this week as Tech invites Duke into town for a rematch of the last time the Hokies lost a game. Tech vs Duke will tip at 8 PM on the ACC Network in Cassell Coliseum this Thursday.