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Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball Weekly Preview

By Kyle Beene | November 21
Kitley, Strack, and the team high five some fans (Virginia Tech Athletics)

No. 9 Virginia Tech vs. Kansas | Friday, November 24, 5:00 p.m. | John Gray Gymnasium, Cayman Islands

The No. 9 Hokies make their way out to the Cayman Islands this weekend for the Cayman Islands Classic. The competition in the Caribbean is incredibly tough with four of eight teams in the AP Top 10. No. 2 UCLA and No. 6 UConn are the only ranked schools set to play each other overseas, so team comparisons will be based on games against their mutual opponents. The Hokies will begin with Kansas.

Kansas has by far one of the hardest schedules for the weekend with Virginia Tech and No. 6 UConn. This could lead to a more conservative strategy for the weekend, but with only two games I expect them to have both feet on the gas.

Last year the Jayhawks had a few notable performances. Their first big win was a 27-point blowout over No. 12 Arizona in Tuscon, their only ranked win of the year. Then, after losing to TCU in the first round of the Big 12 Championships, Kansas blew through the WNIT Tournament with ease. Two +25 margin games aren’t to be taken lightly.

Holly Kersgieter and Taiyanna Jackson are the team’s big scorers at 18.7 and 14.7 ppg. Wyvette Mayberry and S'Mya Nichols follow closely behind, right around 13 ppg each. Kersgieter is scary efficient with 60/55/75 shooting splits. She’ll get her points, but Tech needs to make her fight for them or Kersgieter could take over this game.

Defensively, Jackson should be concerning for Tech. She has nine blocks through three games. At 6’6”, she’s going to make it tough for Kitley down low, who has the height advantage most nights. Jackson is also a great rebounder with 10 per game so second-chance points might be hard to come by.

This team is very experienced. One senior and three super-seniors are starting. They’re a little shorter than VT on average but not by much. VT needs to be on their A-game or this has the potential to go the other way.

No. 9 Virginia Tech vs. Tulane | Saturday, November 25, 11:00 a.m. | John Gray Gymnasium, Cayman Islands

Tech will go on to play Tulane on Saturday morning in their second and final game in George Town.

Tulane will be coming off a morning game with UVA on Friday, so the team should be relatively fresh. In some ways, it should help them by playing an unranked crew to get warmed up with a more equal opponent. On the other hand, Tulane won’t have the chance to adjust to play such a high-caliber opponent.

Kitley is in prime position for a fantastic game against Tulane. There are two defensive scenarios Tulane can run on her, and neither looks good for the Green Wave. Kitley will either have a 5+ inch height advantage over a forward, or she’ll be guarded by 6’3” center Lily Ba, who has eight minutes of collegiate basketball experience. Tech will be looking to feed her down low just like they did against UNCG.

There’s a good chance VT further abuses that height mismatch with the Kitley/Strack supersized lineup. The two excelled together on the court against Houston Christian. Tulane doesn’t have the roster construction to handle it when Kitley and Strack are making shots.

The Green Wave’s scoring is fairly spread out across their four consistent starters. Kyren Whittington, Marta Galic, Hannah Pratt, and Irina Parau all average 11-15 ppg. They aren’t overly efficient scorers, Parau being the best just under 44% from the field. The team doesn’t score all that much. VT is averaging over 86 ppg, while Tulane is at 67.

Last year Tulane was a decent 18-14 and 7-9 in the AAC. They were much better at home (11-6) than away (5-6) or neutral sites (2-2). The postseason was pretty rough, losing in the AAC Championship Quarterfinals and a first-round exit of WNIT. Pratt is the only major lineup addition this year for Tulane as a grad transfer from Columbia.

Me Ronnie

Born into a family of Hokies, I can remember watching Frank Beamer and Tyrod Taylor on Saturdays with the family, so attending VT was always the dream. 


In 2020, I began my time at Virginia Tech in the Sports Media Analytics program and eventually joined the Sons in January of 2023 as the softball beat writer. Now, I’ve got football, basketball, and baseball coverage, plus you’ll see some of my photographs in articles throughout the website. 


Graduation is on the horizon, but I can’t wait to come back in the fall to begin my Master’s and continue working with the team!


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