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Virginia Tech Beats Ohio State 84-74 to Reach First Final Four in School History

Amoore Soule King VT Tennessee 2023 From VT

When Virginia Tech received a 1 seed on Selection Sunday, just about everyday in the country saw the Hokies as the 1 seed most likely to crash out before the Final Four. Well, two 1 seeds came up well short, but 1 of the 2 who made it Dallas, the Virginia Tech Hokies, and they did so with an offensive shootout in the first half followed by their best second half of the NCAA Tournament to close it out.

1 seed Virginia Tech beat 3 seed Ohio State 84-74 to improve to 31-4 and reach the Final Four for the first time in program history. The Hokies will take on the 3 seed LSU Tigers on Friday night at 7pm EST at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas with the winner facing either South Carolina or Iowa for the national championship on Sunday.

Tech started off strong making their first 7 shots as they picked apart the Ohio State press and forced the Buckeyes to back out of it. That adjustment did pay off in the short term with the Buckeyes leading by 3 at the end of the first quarter before the Hokies found their rhythm in the halfcourt taking a 3-point lead into halftime. A large part of that was due to Tech being aggressive and drawing fouls taking advantage of them to go 10-10 from the free-throw line.

Many fans were likely nervous given how Tech has had some second half struggles in their first three games of this NCAA Tournament. However, the Hokies had their best play for the closing 20 minutes of this one to book their ticket to Dallas.

Tech was 14-18 from the free-throw line in the second half to finish 24-28 from the charity stripe on the night. After Taylor Soule and Cayla King played big roles in the first half, it was the superstar duo of Liz Kitley and Georgia Amoore that drove the Hokies to their first Final Four making big shots and plays down the stretch.

Tech's defense was also impressive in the second half adjusting big time from their first half struggles to hold the Buckeyes to 9-29 from the field. Tech did a much better job dealing with the Buckeyes' constant screens creating more contested shots while Liz Kitley had some of her best rim protection down the stretch.

The Hokies also stayed under their season average for turnovers having only 13 while carving up the Ohio State press quite well for most of the night led by Georgia Amoore. They also did fairly well on the glass with 5 offensive rebounds compared to 4 for the Buckeyes turning that into a 7-4 second chance points advantage.

Liz Kitley was solid for the first three quarters but showed why she's a two-time All-American in the fourth quarter with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 0 turnovers in the final 10 minutes. On the night, Kitley broke the school record for most career double-doubles with her 56th as she had 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks while shooting 9-14 from the field and 7-10 from the free-throw line.

Georgia Amoore was once again fantastic making it four 20+ point performance in four NCAA Tournament games this season putting up 24 points on 7-19 from the field plus 4 rebounds and 2 assists. She may have only been 4-14 from three-point range but when the Hokies needed a big three, she delivered including at the end of the third quarter to give the Hokies an 8-point lead.

It wasn't just Kitley and Amoore who got the Hokies to the Final Four as this was truly a collective effort to get the job done.

Cayla King had a big game especially in the first half with 12 points in the opening 20 minutes plus 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals over the totality of her 32 minutes of action before fouling out in the fourth quarter. While King made big shots, Taylor Soule played her aggressive style of basketball and had some huge drives on her way to also having 12 points plus 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Both made big plays on both ends of the floor that went beyond the stat sheet and helped the Hokies get the job done.

Kayana Traylor may have only had 7 points, 2 assists, and 1 block but her defense throughout this game was strong and helped slow down the Buckeyes in the second half. D'Asia Gregg once again played well in her sixth woman role with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and some strong defense while Taylor Geiman made a brief appearance in the first half.

The Buckeyes were led by Taylor Mikesell who had 25 points while shooting 7-11 from three-point range though the rest of Ohio State went 0-9 from behind the arc. Jacy Sheldon had 19 points while Cotie McMahon added 18 with only 2 other Buckeyes scoring in Taylor Thierry and Eboni Walker who each had 6.

This has been a slow and steady build for Kenny Brooks at Virginia Tech, but the Hokies have built this team by finding talent in just about every way possible. You have a former five-star recruit in Liz Kitley, an international star in Georgia Amoore, under-the-radar recruits developed into productive pieces in Cayla King and Taylor Geiman, talented transfers in Taylor Soule & Kayana Traylor, and a JUCO stud in D'Asia Gregg to form Tech's talented six-woman rotation. This is also a team with loads of experience with Georgia Amoore being the only player who isn't a fourth or fifth year senior.

This is a complete team that has gotten to this point not because they are overwhelmingly elite in one area, but because of how they can do it all and win a lot of different ways. The stage has never been too big for this team and now the Hokies get to go on the biggest stage in college basketball where no Virginia Tech basketball team, men's or women's, has gone before...

The Final Four.

So enjoy this one Hokies but remember, this season is far from over and this Virginia Tech team absolutely has what it takes to go to Dallas, win two games, and bring home a national championship to Blacksburg.

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