“Our Confidence Is Through The Roof”; Virginia Tech Wins Fourth-Straight Game

Virginia Tech is rolling after Sunday’s win over North Carolina. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

With the score tied at 26 apiece with 71 seconds remaining in the first half, Georgia Amoore caught Emily Lytle’s pass on the left wing. Using her speed, she attempted to drive into the paint but North Carolina’s Alyssa Ustby — one of the few guards in the conference that can keep up with Amoore — stopped her. 

Using a screen from Lytle, Amoore dribbled to the center of the arc as the Tar Heels’ Eva Hodgson switched to cover her. The only problem was that UNC’s 2-3 zone didn’t allow Hodgson to step up and guard Amoore closely.

Amoore recognized that immediately. She wound up and released a shot from the center of the arc and buried the basketball into the bottom of the basket, giving her team a three-point lead in the midst of a 10-0 run heading into halftime.

Virginia Tech rebounded from an early 21-9 first quarter deficit and lasted the rest of the afternoon, beating No. 23 North Carolina 66-61.

Amoore’s 3-pointer was one of five she made, while tallying 17 points. Elizabeth Kitley added five blocks and 15 points, while Aisha Sheppard scored 14 on four threes. 

“I’m very encouraged,” Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said. “I’ve been saying it all along. We’re as good as anyone as long as we play well, and the right way. … We’re starting to figure it out. This week, we’ve really figured it out.”

With No. 18 Notre Dame losing to Louisville and Virginia Tech’s win, the Hokies (19-6, 11-3 ACC) moved into sole possession of third place in the ACC standings. And it marked the team’s fourth-straight win during its four-game home stand this week.

Tech knocked off Boston College on Sunday, Clemson on Tuesday and No. 11 Georgia Tech on Thursday as it continued its best start in ACC play in program history.

But it started out poorly for the Hokies, who only scored nine points in the first quarter on 4-of-15 shooting. The Tar Heels (19-5, 9-5) could have put VT away early as they collected seven offensive rebounds in the opening quarter, but only managed to shoot 38.1%.

Aisha Sheppard set a new ACC record for most 3-pointers in a career. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

“A couple of years ago, we probably would’ve lost this game,” Sheppard said, describing the toughness and fight of Tech’s current group.

In the second quarter, Aisha Sheppard hit her 375th 3-pointer, giving her the ACC’s record for treys in a career as she surpassed Louisville’s Asia Durr. It cut the lead from eight points to five.

“[The record] means a lot,” Sheppard said. “To kind of cement my name and put it with some other legends is amazing, but it comes with having great teammates and being in a great environment with good coaches. As much as my name is on the record, so is everyone else because they give me the ball and they give me the confidence to shoot the ball.”

After that basket, the tables began to turn. The Hokies locked in from that point forward.

They began to rebound the ball, limiting UNC’s second chances as the defense kicked it into high gear. VT only allowed North Carolina to take 10 shots in the quarter as it shot 30% and as it turned the ball over seven times.

In the second half, UNC shot just 30.6% from the field, while Tech used timely, efficient offense to shoot 48.1%. 

Before the season, the talk around the Hokies was their ability to shoot from beyond the arc. That was the story once again (11-of-28), but defense was the key reason for their success down the stretch. Empty possessions, drawing offensive fouls, forcing bad passes have all been points of emphasis for Tech this year.

Cayla King and the Hokies have been really good on the defensive end lately. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

Defense is something Brooks and his team have prided themselves on all season. In their 14 ACC games this season, they’ve held opponents to shoot under 40% nine times.

All of it — the defense, the comeback, the adjustments — is testament to Brooks’ development of his players.

The Hokies didn’t need the big performance from Kitley, who is in Brooks’ view the ACC’s best player. Instead, they continued to prove that they can beat you in a variety of ways. Tech’s defense is objectively the most overlooked portion of its game, and when you have the offensive firepower the Hokies do, it’s easy to forget that there’s another facet to this team.

“Our confidence is through the roof right now,” Sheppard said.

Box Score: Link 

7 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. We came in town for Syracuse and are hanging in town for UVA. Decided to go to the women’s game and man it was great!! These guys are fun to watch and gritty to boot…UNC kept trying to pound it with drives to the basket and the ladies hung in there took charges and frequent rough (uncalled) fouls.

    I’d encourage anyone available to go to these games to go (including students), these ladies deserve the support. Again it was a great game and these guys are a joy to watch!!

    1. Absolutely, everyone should try to make it to a women’s game and cheer and celebrate the Hokies women. Always a good time for all…Go Hokies!!!

  2. Funny how “Blue Bloods” always complain
    About officiating when they lose to us.
    Kitley and others get beat up every game
    With no calls. Same on the men’s side.
    Great game ladies! Go get some more!!

  3. Great writeup and great week for the team. Nice to see them get those wins over ranked teams. Hope they can continue the good play through the remaining games and tournament. Schedule really gets tough from here.

  4. After the game, Kitley ran around the court getting high fives from fans, that really only works at the Cassell Guard end, but great to see her looking really happy with that result. Congrats to Aisha, gonna need her down the stretch here.

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