Despite being ranked three spots higher than No. 22 Syracuse, No. 19 Virginia Tech seemed to be the underdogs against the Orange.
The Hokies, who went into the game just 2-3 on the road, faced a Syracuse team previously undefeated at their home court. Not only that, but Virginia Tech was coming off of a two week stretch where the didn’t look very good up until their 18-point win over Georgia Tech, while Syracuse was fresh off of a six-game win streak including massive wins over No. 23 Florida State and No. 15 Notre Dame. However, for the second game in a row, a healthy Hokies looked like a team much greater than the 19th ranked team in the country, and more like a team capable of knocking off anyone in the entire country.
Virginia Tech is back up to third in the ACC after a convincing 75-62 win, despite an off night from their two-time ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley.
The first quarter was all Hokies, taking a 23-9 lead behind 56% shooting while holding the Orange to just 23% from the field. Syracuse bounced back in the second quarter as the shooting numbers nearly flipped to make it just a four-point game at halftime, but the Hokies responded by pulling away in the third quarter, building a lead they never let go of.
Overall, the Hokies shot 42% from the field and 41% from three-point land, knocking down 12 of their 29 three-point attempts. Syracuse shot just 33% from the floor and 23% from downtown, knocking down five of their 22 triples. The Hokies were very reliant on their outside shooting and shot creation from their guards as they endured a rare off night from superstar Elizabeth Kitley, who finished with only six points on 3-13 shooting. Although she still owned the paint grabbing nine rebounds and blocking two shots, these numbers are still a far cry from the 23 points and 11 rebounds she averages.
However, what makes the Hokies truly dangerous is that they were able to overcome a bad offensive night from their All-American talent, and still comfortably beat a top 25 team in the nation. Their three sharpshooting guards, Georgia Amoore, Matilda Ekh, and Cayla King, all came to play, combining for 56 of the Hokies 75 points. They showed why they are all top six in the ACC in three pointers, knocking down a combined 11 threes on 24 attempts.
Amoore, specifically, was just unstoppable, using her speed and quickness to get to her spots at will, whether around the basket, in the mid-range, or behind the three-point line. She finished with 29 points on 10-17 from the field including 3-7 from long range, and 6-6 from the free-throw line, in what was her second-highest scoring game of the season.
Despite joining Kitley in having an off shooting night, Olivia Summiel still figured out ways to contribute in a positive way, grabbing 12 rebounds. The Wake Forest transfer has really found her role on this team, as this is her fifth consecutive game with at least seven rebounds.
On the other hand, Syracuse still had three players reach double figures despite their overall cold shooting night. Dyaisha Fair, the ACC’s leading three-point shooter, led the way with 16 points, while knocking down three of her eight triples. Georgia Woolley matched Fair’s points total, while adding seven rebounds and four assists, and Alaina Rice also entered double figures, dropping 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
Syracuse only has a few days to find their shooting touch as the travel to Louisville on February 1st to face the No. 18 Cardinals in another battle between ranked ACC teams. On the other hand, the Hokies will look to make it four in a row as the Hoos will make the two-hour drive down to Blacksburg on February 1st for the Commonwealth Clash.