In a game that included its fair share of runs, the Hokies put away the Blue Devils late in the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run to take down No. 16 Duke 65-54 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
After a quiet offensive start to the fourth quarter, guards Aisha Sheppard and Kayana Traylor set the pace with back-to-back three-pointers to take a four point lead into the media timeout, its largest in the half.
Elizabeth Kitley had another incredible performance as the junior recorded another double-double with a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds. She now has six consecutive double-doubles with five of them coming against ACC competition.
The two Preseason All-ACC members in Kitley and Sheppard delivered clutch performances down the stretch to put the bow on the Hokies’ victory.
On the other side of the media timeout, Kitley powered her way to the hoop to draw an old-fashioned three-point play. In the very next possession, Sheppard delivered the dagger from behind the arc to seal the Hokies second win over the Blue Devils in two weeks.
"We are as good as a lot of the basketball teams,” Kenny Brooks said. “If we play to our capabilities as long as we play to them, we will have a lot of opportunities. It's a testament to the staff and kids’ hard work.”
In the opening minutes of the contest, Kenny Brooks’ side had a great jump on the Blue Devils with a 7-0 run and it looked like the game was trending in the same direction as the Hokies’ 22-point victory over Duke on Dec. 30 at Cassell Coliseum.
But this time in Cameron Indoor, the Blue Devils were not going to suffer a similar result on their home court and powered all the way back in the matchup and took a 7-point lead into the break.
In what was a difficult ten minutes of offense for the Hokies, they played much stronger out of the break by converting 44 percent of their shots from the floor to set up a competitive fourth quarter.
In her homecoming performance, Azana Baines’ role on the court was felt with her team-high 16 rebounds and eight points off the bench. Out of the 17 offensive boards hauled in by the Hokies, the Blackwood, N.J. native led the way with five of her own; which helped the Hokies record 13 second-chance points.
“The player of the game was Baines,” Brooks said. “For her to come back here and play well is wonderful.”
This was an outstanding turnaround performance for the Hokies who were dealt a 25-point loss on Sunday to then No. 19 ranked North Carolina. Kenny Brooks praised his players for learning from their mistakes on Sunday and playing four out of five games on the road to start conference play.
The good news for Kenny Brooks and Co. is that they will return home for a two-game stretch at Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday when take on Virginia at 5pm on the ACC Network after their Sunday game against Clemson was postponed due to the incoming snowstorm.