No. 9 Virginia Tech Defeats UNC Greensboro Thanks to Kitley’s 31
The No. 9 Hokies took down UNC Greensboro 72-51 in their first matchup in 15 years.
The Spartans held a close game through the half, but slowly let it slip into the third quarter. Liz Kitley was on first from the start, racking up eight points in just the first quarter. She was the only player on the court consistently making shots, as she led the team with 31.
Georgia Amoore struggled early on, missing her first eight shots from the field. She finally got to see one go through the net, but it would be waived off at the first-quarter buzzer. While the shots weren’t falling, she found ways to get active moving the ball around. She followed up her record 16-assist game with another eight, the most for a VT player over a two-game span.
“With everyone on this team, we all have so much confidence in each other,” said Kitley. “No matter what anyone shooting, we’ll just think about the next play. No matter if Georgia is 1-10, if Cayla’s 1-10, if [Matilda Ekh] is 0-18, we don’t care. We want them to shoot the next one.”
The team's shooting struggles continued, minus Kitley, throughout the game. The Spartans had an equally difficult time with shots as well. Tech’s defense wasn’t nearly as ferocious as it could’ve been, but still found ways to make shots difficult. Kitley had three blocks, while Carleigh Wenzel, Cayla King, and Rose Micheaux all attacked the ball.
“You give UNCG credit, they were the aggressors tonight. I thought they had us on our heels a lot. If we’re going to be the team we want to be, we have to learn how to come out and be the aggressor,” said Coach Kenny Brooks.
King managed to get up a big three-pointer up the middle right before the half concluded, giving Tech some momentum into the break. She hit the shot in close quarters to her defender, falling back onto the logo for extra room.
“They know that you can’t make a shot if you don’t take a shot. When you’re gonna take it, step up and be aggressive and confident,” said Brooks. “I think we were getting good looks.”
The Spartans had a difficult time making shots with the defense and the officials. A multitude of turnovers kept the Spartans from clawing their way back into the game, as they didn’t even get the opportunity to shoot. Charges, travels, and carries plagued the offense in yellow, much to the team’s frustration.
In spite of the difficulties, Jayde Gamble willed the Spartans into the game. She had 25 points and would’ve certainly had a lot more but for the turnover issues. The guard constantly slashed into the lane, making tons of heavily-contested acrobatic layups
Kitley finished up 13-22 from the floor with 10 boards. She was two field goals from breaking the Cassell record for FGM and four points from the Cassell point record with her 31.
“From the first play when we got it inside and I could feel the space and that people weren’t coming,” said Kitley. “They did a really good job of hitting me in my spots and making good passes.”
Virginia Tech will now head to the Cayman Islands after Thanksgiving to take the court with Kansas on Friday in the Cayman Islands Classic. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. They’ll then battle Tulane on Saturday at 11 a.m. for their last game of the tournament.