Photo Credit: Liam Sment
The Hokies earned their first win in over a month on Thursday night, beating the Tar Heels 66-54. Virginia Tech improves its overall record to 7-4 and its ACC record improves to 2-4.
Virginia Tech came into the game firing on all cylinders, as they opened the first quarter on a 10-4 run, aided by a pair of threes from Georgia Amoore and Aisha Sheppard. The Tar Heels would respond, finishing the quarter on an 11-5 run of their own, knotting the contest up at 15 after the first ten minutes.
Both teams largely struggled to score in the next period, combining to shoot 8-29 from the field. However, the Hokies were able to head into the half with a three point lead thanks to a post fadeaway buzzer beater from Elizabeth Kitley.
The third quarter was where things really took off for Virginia Tech as the team scored 25 points and outrebounded North Carolina, 13-4. Kitley racked up twelve points in the quarter.
“[Kitley] kind of takes the first half a little bit slower because she’s trying to feel out what’s happening and where the double teams are coming from,” head coach Kenny Brooks said after the game. “I thought she figured it out in the second half and did a really good job. Once she figured it out, she got some really good baskets.”
A 10-0 run in the middle of the quarter helped the Hokies get out to a 14 point lead before the final frame.
“I thought the third quarter was key and I thought we did a tremendous job of just executing what we really wanted to do,” Brooks said.
The Hokies put an emphasis on closing out the game, something that the team had issues with in their last three losses. They did just that, allowing the Tar Heels to outscore them by only two in the fourth quarter.
“Coach Brooks just told us to be tough. Be tougher than a two-dollar steak,” said Cayla King on how the team approached finishing out the game.
Kitley led the Hokies with 18 points while the Tar Heels were led by Deja Kelly with 15.
The Hokies put up their lowest point total in a win in this matchup, but it showed the resilience that will help the team as it navigates through the tougher ACC portion of their schedule.
Virginia Tech will look to carry its momentum into Sunday as the team hosts Wake Forest at 4PM on the ACC Network.