Virginia Tech Women's Basketball Receives 2 ACC Awards, Multiple ACC Recognitions

By: Andy Loce | @Andy_Loce15 | Mar 04, 2020

After exceeding expectations this season, some of the standout players for Virginia Tech Women's Basketball team received honors from the ACC.

One was a no-brainer as Elizabeth Kitley brought home the honor of ACC Freshman of the Year, the first Hokie to win the award during the Hokies' ACC tenure.

The Summerfield, North Carolina native was an instant impact star for the Hokies, tallying an average of 12.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game; both ranking second on the team only trailing Aisha Shepard in PPG (15.2) and Lydia Rivers in RPG (8.1).

Kenny Brooks has praised Kitley throughout the season, claiming that she is the first true post player he has had ever since taking over the head coaching role in Blacksburg.

Throughout the season, Kitley also picked up three ACC Freshman of the Week honors, with two coming late in the season on February 17th and February 24th. She played a strong role in Virginia Tech’s push for the double-bye and helped the Hokies virtually lock themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament later this month.

Another ACC achievement earned by a Hokie was with Trinity Baptiste, who claimed the Sixth Player of the Year award, rewarding her for her play coming off the bench.

Baptiste, a junior, started the 2019-20 season as a starter for the Hokies, but later saw her role switch to a bench specialist. After starting the first seven games of the season, she started every game on the bench, but her statistics did not diminish.

She finished the season with 9.5 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Eight of the games, she came off the bench and posted double figures in scoring. In four games, she recorded double figures in rebounding.

After being on one of the best three-point shooting teams, it was very likely that the highest performing Hokie from behind the arc was going to land a spot on the All-ACC team, and that’s exactly what Aisha Shepard did, earning a mix of All-ACC First and Second Team honors.

Shepard finished tied for first in the ACC with three pointers made per game (2.9) and second in the conference with three-point shooting percentage (.378) while leading the Hokies in averaging 15.2 points per game.

Shepard has worked herself into the second all-time in three-pointers made at Virginia Tech with 219, and broke the Virginia Tech single-season record with three-pointers made in a season (84).

And lastly, Taja Cole received All-ACC Defensive Team honors after a season to remember in her first season with the Hokies where she had 42 assists in 29 games as a stalwart defender.

Her most outstanding achievement came on offense though as she led the ACC in assists per game with 6.6, almost having a whole point over second place finisher, Notre Dame’s Marta Sniezek who finished with 5.7. That number also has her in the top five of the nation in that category.

Cole also broke Virginia Tech’s single season record with assists in a single season with 118 assists and is still a candidate for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the nation’s best point guard.

After an incredible regular season, the Virginia Tech Hokies got the recognition they deserved; and it will be interesting to see how the season wraps up for this team over the next month.

The Hokies, who originally were predicted to finish tenth in the conference this season, powered themselves to an excellent finished sitting tied for fourth in the standings on the last day of the regular season.

However, the Hokies were on the wrong side of the tie-breaker and will start the ACC Tournament as the fifth seed, facing off against Wake Forest at 11 a.m. in Greensboro on March 5th. The winner of that matchup will take on Florida State.