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No. 12 Virginia Tech Keeps Rolling, Survives Duke 61-56

By Zachary Ozmon | February 16
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Elizabeth Kitley displayed her dominance once again as she dropped 34 points and 12 rebounds against Duke. (Kyle Beene)

No. 12 Virginia Tech (21-4, 12-2 ACC) put down Duke (16-8, 8-5 ACC) Friday night in Cassell Coliseum and outlasted the Blue Devils by a final score of 61-56.

Not many things went well for the Hokies in this one, but one thing stayed constant... Elizabeth Kitley.

“I thought Elizabeth was tremendous tonight; she really had it going,” said Head Coach Kenny Brooks.

“She looked really good today in workouts, and she really had her shot going.”

Boasting a statline of 34 points and 12 rebounds, Kitley did just about everything to help the Hokies escape with their 24th straight home win inside Cassell Coliseum.

Revenge was very much in mind for the Hokies, as their last matchup vs. Duke resulted in a 63-46 defeat inside Cameron Indoor Stadium. Matilda Ekh and the whole Hokies squad definitely didn’t forget how much that hurt and were sure to get them back this time.

“For this game, the only thing that went through our heads was revenge,” said Ekh. We should never lose by 20; we are too good for that.”

“For this game, it was a mentality thing. We just came in with a different mindset.”

The catcher this time around... Virginia Tech had Georgia Amoore for the entirety of this game, as she was hurt in the first half of their previous matchup.

She didn’t play up to her usual standards, shooting an uncharacteristic 4-of-21 from the field, but she hit the most important shot of the game, and her presence was certainly felt on the court.

“We’re never going to stop going to her, and we’re never going to stop going to me,” said Kitley.

“At the end of the game, when they left Georgia on the three-point line, we’re giving it to her every time; it doesn't matter how many times she's missed. She can make tough shots like that."

With Kitley not getting much help on the offensive end, Matilda Ekh supplied the Hokies with some timely threes, as she added 11 points to the scoring column.

“The only thing we said going into the fourth quarter was that we were winning this game," said Ekh. That was the only thing—nothing fancy, just that we were winning this game.”

Kenny Brooks mentioned in his presser that this team is building up just at the right time, and the freshmen are a big part of that. They logged great minutes in this one and should continue to do so as the regular season heads closer to the postseason.

“We trust them; they’ve gained our trust to the point we don’t even consider them freshman,” said Brooks. It warms my heart when Clara does something well and Liz gets so excited; when Carleigh does something well, Georgia is excited; and when Carys Baker does something well and Cayla gets so excited about it.

“We are really going to need a lot from them down the stretch. They could have gone anywhere, but they decided to come play here, and they’re playing on a top 12 team in the country, logging very valuable minutes that are going to make them good.”

Next up on the horizon for the No. 12 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies is a date with the No. 18 ranked Louisville Cardinals (21-5, 10-3), who are still very much vying for the top spot in the ACC standings. Kitley has never won in her career at Louisville, so it’ll be another tough test for her and the Hokies as they look to close down the ACC with four games remaining.

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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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