SAN ANTONIO, TX – Second-seeded Baylor jumped out to a 44-20 halftime lead and cruised from there, beating seventh-seeded Virginia Tech 90-48 in the second round of the Women’s NCAAA Tournament.
Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said in his postgame presser, “They’re [Baylor] a tremendous offensive rebounding team and they definitely capitalized on that tonight.” This statement alone could recount what occurred in San Antonio Tuesday night. The Tech women were outrebounded 53-23, allowing 26 offensive rebounds and 20 second chance points.
The defending national champs took care of the Hokies mechanically and methodically, jumping out to a 7-0 lead one minute and 44 seconds into the game. The Bears never looked back and ended the first quarter leading 17-9.
First team All-American NaLyssa Smith only played seven total minutes in the first half, posting only two points after drawing two early fouls that benched her. This did not slow down the Baylor machine, as they outscored the Hokies 27-11 in the second quarter and created a 44-20 hole at the half.
Virginia Tech struggled putting the ball in the basket in the first half. The Hokies made only a pair of two-point field goals and shot a dismal 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) from the field overall before the break.
The second half was not much different from the first, as Baylor slowly increased their lead possession by possession against the fatigued and overmatched Hokies.
All-ACC center Elizabeth Kitley played all 40 minutes for Virginia Tech but only racked up six points and six rebounds on of 2-of-12 shooting. The Baylor post players shut her down in the paint and forced her to attempt mid-range jumpers, which made her uncomfortable on the offensive side.
Virginia Tech freshman guard Georgia caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 11 of her team-high 18 points in the period. The Aussie went 4-of-9 from downtown and showed a glimpse of what is to come in her next three to four years in a Hokies uniform. Aisha Sheppard was Tech’s second-leading scorer and the only other Hokie in double figures with 15 points.
While Amoore’s career in Blacksburg is just beginning, Sheppard, a senior who holds the team record for career three-pointers, has a big decision to make this offseason. Head Coach Kenny Brooks announced in the postgame press conference that he had been taking phone calls from WNBA organizations, but proceeded to say, “She [Aisha] might come back.” Sheppard, who finished her four year career at Virginia Tech with 306 made three pointers and 1,445 total points, has the choice to return as a “super senior” and play one more year under the NCAA’s COVID-19 free year waiver.
Tonight’s loss drops the Hokies to a final record of 15-10, ending a season that had moments that could only be considered very low valleys, but were matched with exuberant highs including a win over then-No. 2 NC State in Cassell Coliseum. Kenny Brooks has a young and talented team, and the expectation is for another NCAA Tournament appearance next season.