The No. 1 Seeded Hokies Take the First Round of the NCAA Tournament against No. 16 Chattanooga
As Enter Sandman rang out from the mouths of the Cassell Guard, the wait was finally over for the Hokie faithful. In front of a sold-out crowd in Cassell Coliseum for the first game of the NCAA tournament for the Virginia Tech Hokies, they took care of business in a highly anticipated game in Blacksburg.
"It was awesome, and our fans are fantastic. They don't only show up and sit in seats; they make a lot of noise," Virginia Tech head coach Kenny Brooks exclaimed.
I wish they would have let us play Sandman, but I think the roof would have blown off. We have a great atmosphere, and we have great fans. We have so many traditions. It was good, it was fantastic, I thought they were loud, and I'm so proud of where we have come, and for my kids to experience that is huge."
In their first game as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament in program history, the Hokies (28-4) defeated the No. 16 Chattanooga Mocs (20-13) by a final score of 58-33. This Virginia Tech team continues its hot run after coming off an ACC Championship with a win in the first round of the tournament.
The Hokies started strong in the contest as they opened the game 8-0, which included lockdown defense against Chattanooga. The Mocs answered back with a little run of their own, thanks to two threes by Karsen Murphy, which got the Mocs back within one.
Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore carried the Hokies back to a 10-point lead as they had nine and seven points, respectively, and by the end of the quarter, the Hokies led 18-8.
The Hokies continued on that run they started in the middle of the first as they went up 26-8 thanks to a 17-0 run. The Hokies defense held the Mocs to zero points in just under a 10-minute span that ended halfway through the quarter. Amoore and Kitley continued to lead their squad, as they both had big nights offensively and showed their chemistry on the court.
"We just keep needing to be outlets for each other," Elizabeth Kitley stated. She [Amoore] gets pressured a lot of times, and when the pressure is on me, I know that she's going to be open, and that kind of fits for both of us.
"Elizabeth and I are probably conversing on the court a lot more than what is shown," Georgia Amoore said. I’m always trying to help her [Kitley] because she is always getting absolutely hounded.
The third quarter showed to be a dogfight between both teams, as not much was going for either team offensively. Despite the offensive struggles, Taylor Soule powered the Hokies through the quarter on both sides of the ball, playing tough and gritty throughout the quarter. She later left the game with what was assumed to be cramps, and her status for Sunday is up in the air at the moment.
Amoore sparked the Hokies offense once again at the start of the fourth quarter with a quick three and a bucket underneath as she hit over 20 points in the game. Virginia Tech boosted out to a quick 10-0 run and went up big as they closed out their first round game of the NCAA tournament.
After Brooks and his team fell in the first round of the tournament last year, he wanted to make sure that his team was locked in and that it didn't happen again.
"We learned that we just need to take care of business and you can’t take anything for granted," Coach Brooks stated. We wanted to make sure we were hosting. We were almost hosting last year, but it fueled them; they've experienced it and learned valuable lessons from their time last year."
Following a win tonight the Hokies will take on the winner of the other first-round game happening in Blacksburg between USC and SDSU on Sunday in Cassell Coliseum.