In what was an emotional start to the night for the Hokies, Kenny Brooks and Co. wasted no time as they took care of the Davidson Wildcats 76-57 to tip-off the 2021-22 regular season.
For the first time in 15 years, the Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball program got to stare up into the rafters on the east side of Cassell Coliseum, as their 2021 NCAA Tournament banner was revealed to a standing ovation from the fans in attendance.
One of those players who got to take in the moment was the Purdue transfer Kayana Traylor, and although she didn’t get to experience a trip to the NCAA Tournament last season, she played like she wanted it Tuesday night.
Shooting a team best 70 percent from the floor, the Martinsville, Ind. native dropped 18 points for the Hokies off the bench, showing that she could be that added piece of depth for an already deeply experienced Virginia Tech squad.
Graduate student Aisha Sheppard looked to be right back into mid-season form as she went seven of 10 from behind the arc to finish with 25 points on the night, leading all scorers in the contest.
It was the fast start that got the Hokies in a comfortable position throughout the night, outscoring the Wildcats 21-5 in the first quarter. Sheppard had a mini 8-0 run in the span of 40 seconds with back-to-back triples followed up by a great defensive effort only to be fouled on the way up in a transitional layup before she knocked in the two free throws.
Right after the opening tip, the Hokies looked like the more calm and relaxed side compared to a Davidson team that looked loose and out of control at times.
In the first ten minutes of the contest, the Wildcats had seven fouls going against them, most of them offensive, which resulted in eight turnovers that hurt their chances of ever getting into rhythm.
As the night progressed, the visiting side was able to get settled back into the contest and made things much more balanced on the court; but there was never a time where the Wildcats could get closer than 16 points to the Hokies.
Despite the NCAA moving the Women’s three-point line back to the international length, the Hokies were 15 of 30 shooting from deep which prevented Davidson from having any chance to get back in contention.
In addition to Sheppard’s seven makes from downtown, Traylor and Cayla King each recorded three makes from behind the arc with Georgia Amoore knocking down two three-pointers of her own on the night.
Preseason All-ACC member Elizabeth Kitley didn’t have the strongest offensive night down in the post as she only recorded six points on three of 11 shooting from the floor. Her defense and rebounding stood out hauling in seven defensive rebounds and stuffing six Wildcat shot attempts.
The offensive presence came out in full force on Thursday though as Kitley dropped 34 points to help the Hokies defeat the George Washington Colonials 75-38 on the road.
The junior center led all scorers in the contest with 34 points after shooting 17 of 21 from the floor while also adding nine rebounds and two blocks on the night.
It was another good shooting night from the floor for the Hokies as they converted over 50 percent from the floor while shooting just under 40 percent from behind the arc.
Traylor reached double figures again with 11 points off the bench while Sheppard didn’t have quite the performance like she did on Tuesday, but managed to reach double digits with 10 points.
It was a tightly contested first quarter in the Nation’s Capital as both sides were only separated by five points after the first ten minutes of the game. However, the next three quarters was all Virginia Tech with a +32 margin over George Washington.
Not only were the Hokies putting up loads of points, the defense was dominant as the Colonials did not score over nine points in any one of the final three quarters.
Despite it being only the second game of the season, the Hokies have not trailed their opponent at any point in either of their two games this season.
For Virginia Tech, it’s all about building off last year’s success, and you couldn’t ask for better performances from the team than they did on Tuesday and Thursday to get the season rolling.
The next game on the schedule is a trip up to George Mason, where the Hokies’ will take on their third straight Atlantic 10 opponent to start off the 2021-22 regular season. Coverage of that action will be streamed on ESPN+, with tip-off coming at 12 p.m.