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No. 8 Virginia Tech Beats North Carolina 74-62 Amidst National Spotlight on Senior Day

Kitley Amoore Summiel King Brooks Senior Day 2024 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Will Locklin | @locklin_will
Writer/Basketball Analyst

With the national spotlight of College GamDay shining down on them and the hype and hoopla of Senior Day for the most important players in the program’s history, No. 8 Virginia Tech didn’t blink against North Carolina in a commanding 74-62 win inside Cassell Coliseum Sunday afternoon.

“What a wonderful day, not only for Virginia Tech women’s basketball but Virginia Tech in general. GameDay coming here and selecting Blacksburg. Hokie nation represented, they were out in full force,” Kenny Brooks said postgame. “I told the ESPN talent, we effectively call them a healthy cult because their passion is so strong for the Hokies.”

The scene in Blacksburg all day long was quite something to behold. It started with a few fans camping out overnight to be the first ones into the seats for ESPN’s College GameDay, which aired at 11am Sunday morning. A few fans turned into a whole bunch when dawn hit the Southwest Virginia sky and all of a sudden, the lines for GameDay and the game a few hours later were as far as one's eye could see along Beamer Way.

“People showing up and caring about us and showing passion and riding the wave with us. It’s a thing of beauty. We get gratification from winning but so does everyone else watching. It’s the coolest thing ever to see the impact we’ve had on this town.” Georgia Amoore said.

“We don’t get here unless Hokie Nation is behind us like they are. I remember when they were here as young players watching the men’s game and then going out and playing games and it was half full or even less. They never let that deter their enthusiasm, they just kept working hard.” Brooks said

With a jam-packed arena of Hokies behind them, Georgia Amoore and Elizabeth Kitley gave the fans a show to watch from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer. After Matilda Ekh made a three-pointer in the final five seconds of the first quarter, Amoore and Kitley scored 45 of the Hokies' next 53 points in quarters 2-4 of the game.

After picking up an early foul in the second quarter, Amoore had to sit on the bench for most of the way until halftime. In the third quarter, Amoore broke out to score 11 of Tech’s first 14 points of the frame. The senior point guard finished with 19 points & 11 assists, breaking the program's all-time career assists record, surpassing Lisa Witherspoon.

“I don’t know who wrote the script but it was pretty daggone good. Her family was here in full force to be able to sit here and watch her break the record on senior night in front of a sold-out crowd against our arch-rival. If you sold that to Disney I don’t know if they would buy it. They’d say it’s too much.” Brooks said.

Tech’s other superstar Liz Kitley polished off yet another masterpiece with her brush, painting 34 points on the canvas on 11-17 shooting from the field and 12-14 shooting from the free throw line. Kitley has put up video game numbers for quite some time in Blacksburg, but her matured mentality has elevated her status to the next level as a Hokies icon.

“She (Kitley) was very well raised, polite and humble. As she continued to get better, better, and better the one thing she needed to develop was the mentality," Brooks said "That mentality has pushed her over the edge.”

Kitley tied her second largest point total in her career with the 34-point performance and racked up her seventh 30+ point game of the season and 12th of her storied career. The growth and development of Kitley is also perhaps the greatest testament to the program coach Brooks has fostered in Blacksburg and why they’ve become so successful.

“I’m a completely different player than when I first got here because of what coach Brooks did with me. I’ve matured a lot, I was 17 years old when I got to Blacksburg and now I’m going to leave here a 22 year old that’s a lot more confident and has a lot more abilities. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the people and support here.” Liz Kitley said.

Even with great performances from the Hokies' two star players. the game wasn’t in the bag. Tech had to grind their way to a hard fought victory, just like they have all season. After outscoring the Tar Heels 21-5 in the first frame, Tech allowed North Carolina to go on a 22-12 second quarter binge to bring the score to within six points at halftime. Tech managed the Heels fighting back through the same mature attitude that helped them control their emotions on such a celebratory day.

“This is the smartest group I’ve ever coached. They understand the assignment and know what they’re supposed to do,” Brooks said. “We made an adjustment at halftime, saying to them do you want to hard hedge or long hedge. We have the utmost confidence in each other to rely on each other and that makes our defense.”

“We’re a mature group and we keep the main thing, the main thing. It’s a massive compliment to have GameDay here and the crowds and a lot of potential distractions but we’re very mature and basketball is life.” Amoore said.

After struggling to shoot the ball in the second quarter, the Hokies shot the rock above a 60% clip in the entire second half, and with it were able to stave off the pesky Tar Heels. With the hard fought victory, Tech earned the top seed in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro and at least a share of the ACC Regular Season Championship, the first in program history.

“At the start of the season we wanted to put each other in a good position not only for the ACC Tournament but the NCAA Tournament. With the way we’ve been clicking in the last month, it’s helped us do that. We’re playing with a ton of confidence and that’s valuable and translated into the success we’ve had.” Kitley said.

Virginia Tech can clinch the ACC Regular Season title outright with a win in their next contest which comes away from Blacksburg and in South Bend, Indiana, where the Hokies will play the No. 19 Notre Dame in the Joyce Center this Thursday at 7 PM.

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