Photo Credit: Liam Sment
Aisha Sheppard came off the court at the end of the first half fired up after clanking in a step-back three to give Virginia Tech a 22-point lead going into the break.
The team didn’t relinquish that advantage for the rest of the game, leading the Hokies to a statement 76-68 victory over the Syracuse Orange.
The win extends Virginia Tech’s winning streak to five straight games, the longest streak in program history against ACC teams. The win also improves the team’s overall record to 12-7 and its ACC record to 7-7.
“We have confidence in ourselves now,” Georgia Amoore said after the game. “It’s been a slow build but we’ve built it and we’re going to keep building on it.”
The Hokies exploded out of the gates, starting the game 4-6 from behind the arc. Effective ball movement allowed Virginia Tech’s offense to flow so smoothly. The Hokies finished the first quarter with a 6:1 assist to turnover ratio.
On the other end, Virginia Tech played suffocating defense, forcing four turnovers and holding Syracuse to only eight points in the first ten minutes, leading 20-8 after the first quarter.
Virginia Tech carried that momentum into the second quarter, out-scoring Syracuse 24-14 in the quarter. That scoring output was aided by a late 9-0 run, courtesy of a three from Amoore and two buckets from Elizabeth Kitley.
The impressive first half helped the Hokies gain a 22-point halftime lead led by 10 points from star center Kitley.
Virginia Tech began to slow down in the second half, allowing a 19-6 Syracuse run to begin the third quarter. The run cut the Hokies’ lead to single digits for the first time since the first five minutes of the game.
The team’s sluggish start to the half kept Syracuse alive, but a trio of three pointers and four points from Kitley to end the quarter cushioned the Hokies lead going into the final ten minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Virginia Tech finished the job, leading by at least eight points until the end of the game.
Sheppard led the Hokies with 23 points on the day while Cardoso and Mangakahia each had 18 for the Orange.
Tech's dominant performance to pick up their fifth-straight win has head coach Kenny Brooks growing in confidence about how good his team is not only in the ACC, but nationally.
“Now we’re proving that we can be one of the better teams, not only in the ACC, but I think in the country,” said Brooks.
Virginia Tech will have the opportunity to prove that statement to be true in its final regular season road game on Thursday night at Clemson (10-10, 5-10) at 6 p.m.