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Hokies Wrangle the Thundering Herd, Blow Out Marshall 92-49 in NCAA Round of 64

By Zachary Ozmon | March 22
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Carleigh Wenzel had a career outing and helped the Hokies dominate Marshall. (Chase Wingfield)

Virginia Tech did not just “survive and advance,” as the saying goes; they instead “dominated and advanced” in their round of 64 matchup vs. Marshall.


The Hokies (25-7) handily took down Marshall (26-7) inside Cassell Coliseum and are moving on to the NCAA round of 32.


These past few weeks have not been easy for this team, as for what seemed like the first time all year, Virginia Tech faced adversity leading up to the NCAA tournament. With news also breaking that three-time ACC POTY Elizabeth Kitley would miss the entirety of the tournament with a torn ACL, the squad knew they had to not quit fighting and play the tourney for Liz.


In all forty minutes of this game, the Hokies fought, and the score definitely showed it.

“I am so proud of these kids, each and every one of them, the way they stepped up,” said Head Coach Kenny Brooks. “It looked a little dicey in the beginning of the week, but they were diligent and just trying to understand what we needed to do and how we needed to take care of the basketball.

“I can't be more proud of a group. They stepped up; even in Georgia's absence, we played really poised, and we wanted to keep our poise amongst their chaos.”

A game that went from a tight-knit contest after the first quarter lead was only at six for Tech soon became a monsoon of a lead as the Hokies really gave Marshall the business in the third quarter, outscoring them 36-9.

The game was out of reach for the majority of time, and Virginia Tech showed that they are still dangerous, even without Elizabeth Kitley.

“I think it's a testament to two things,” said Olivia Summiel. “One, our coaching staff and the way that they prepared us all week. Then, I think second, it's a testament to the leadership that we have on our team and the experience.

"Obviously, we have some freshmen out there, but they were able to learn, pick up, and understand that in order to handle that kind of pressure and that kind of style of play, you just have to keep your head on your shoulders and stay poised throughout.”

The Hokies really got it done down low, and that was credit to Clara Strack, Olivia Summiel, and Rose Micheaux. Strack ended the game with 17 points and displayed lots of poise in her first collegiate start, shooting a perfect 7-of-7 from the field. Olivia Summiel did her thing once again as she corralled 14 rebounds, and Rose Micheaux added nine points, nailing a perfect 4-of-4 buckets from the field in only 13 minutes.

With Kitley not an option for this team, these three girls filled their roles magnificently and look to carry their great play into the next round.

“Strack attack. That's two words we like to use all the time,” said Summiel. “She is fun to watch and even more fun to play with. I'm excited to see where her future goes. But she's been huge for us this year.

“I think Coach Brooks has said it a couple times; she could be starting on other programs, but she's kind of taking her role and learned from the incredible Elizabeth Kitley.”

Not only were the Hokies getting the job done inside, they were also letting it fly from long range, splashing 10-of-23 threes. Matilda Ekh was the player to watch heading into this game, as she was held scoreless in her previous three games. That didn’t stop her from breaking her woeful streak, as she hit on five threes, ended the game with 21 points, and passed a big milestone of over 1000 career points.

“It was so great for her and for us,” said Georgia Amoore. "I think the biggest difference is we were having fun, and I think when you have fun and the offense flows, the confidence grows.

“I'm very proud of Tilly because she was sitting on that 999 number for a hot minute, but she had a day today, and that confidence will carry over for her. She's the type of girl that needs to see it go in, and I'm glad it went in today for her.”

Carleigh Wenzel and Cayla King also got into the scoring mix, and they put up 13 and 10 points, respectively. Wenzel also added seven rebounds and six assists in arguably one of her best performances of the season.

When the team needed it most, Wenzel and many others stepped up in a big way last night, especially in a game where Georgia Amoore only played 20 minutes.

“She just looked like she had fun out there seriously,” said Amoore. “It was a good thing because her mentality was great and she was aggressive and she even got a little bit of confidence and started celebrating like she was Tom Brady or something like that. She had fun with it, and I'm proud of her. Touchdown!”

86.4 points per game is what Marshall came into this game averaging, and the Hokies held them to just nearly less than half that average. Marshall shot just 24.4% from the field, as well as 14.6% from three.

“Everything we did was high hand, high hand, high hand, and just ran them off the three-point line and made them shoot contested threes when they did shoot it, said Brooks. “Now, we knew they were going to shoot a lot of them. I think they shot 41. But I thought we did a really good job of contesting it or taking it away.”

Virginia Tech is in the Round of 32 with a date against the Baylor Bears Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN. The Hokies look to continue their dominant play and put it all together once again tomorrow in hopes of reaching the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

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Born in Chesapeake and raised into a family of hokies, Virginia Tech is where I call home now. Attended New River Community College as a freshman and now a sophomore at VT as a transfer student in Fall 2022. Majoring in Sports Media and Analytics, I’m excited for what’s to come for me as a student at VT.

Virginia Tech sports has always been something I have been a fan of. From afternoons in Lane Stadium to nights in Cassell Coliseum, I have loved every second of it no matter the outcome.

One of my first memories of being a Tech fan was our upset win against Ohio State 35-21 where CB Donovan Riley had the game sealing pick-6. More recently, beating UNC in 6 overtimes, our run to the sweet 16, and of course winning the men’s basketball ACC Championship with upsets over UNC and Duke.

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