Cayla King’s 33 Leads No. 13 Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball In Opener

Cayla King lit up the scoreboard for Virginia Tech on Monday night. (Ivan Morozov)

In March, Cayla King missed two ACC Tournament games with a severe ankle injury and wasn’t 100% in the Big Dance for Virginia Tech. On Monday night, she broke a record, set a new career-high and led the No. 13 Hokies in their season-opening 101-45 win over Mount St. Mary’s.

“My teammates, coaches, all the staff, they all have a lot of faith in me,” King said after the victory. “And I mean, it got it got hard at a few points, but they all have my back. … First couple practices were a little rough. But Coach Brooks he said he was never worried.”

Head coach Kenny Brooks often refers to the Greensboro, N.C. native as the program’s “unsung hero.” But she was in the spotlight against the Mountaineers.

King hit nine 3-pointers, a new program single-game record, surpassing Aisha Sheppard’s eight from 2020. And she posted 33 points, a new career-high, on 10-of-17 shooting (9-16 3FG, 4-5 FT) to propel Virginia Tech (1-0). Mount St. Mary’s (0-1) wanted to double and triple team reigning ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley, but King exposed that decision.

“It’s not very smart because she’s capable of doing that,” head coach Kenny Brooks said of King. “She’s the one that just does all the dirty work and really doesn’t get as much credit as she deserves, but she never complained. She just continued to go about her business in a very positive way. And tonight, it was her night.”

It was a special night for Cayla King against Mount St. Mary’s. (Ivan Morozov)

Against Clemson on March 3, King suffered an extensive ankle sprain. Tech didn’t let her do much in the offseason, and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago where she really got her rhythm back. But she didn’t seem to miss a beat against the Mountaineers.

“When she’s playing like that, man, with the weapons that we have around, you have to pay attention to her,” Brooks said. “She went nine-for-16. And I probably thought it was like three or four of them that she should have made. And when she missed it, I’m like, ‘What heck’s wrong with you?’ But that’s how that’s how much confidence I have in a kid when she when she shoots the basketball.”

Four other Hokies scored in double figures, led by Kitley’s 18 points and nine rebounds. Taylor Soule added 14 points, five boards and four steals. Georgia Amoore and Kayana Traylor each contributed 11 points and combined for 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

Ten different players saw the floor, including former All-American Ashley Owusu, who started on the wing. She finished with nine points and four assists. Meanwhile, true freshman Charlise Dunn contributed five points off the bench.

Soule had a few spectacular plays in her Tech debut, including steals that she took the length of the court on back-to-back plays. Owusu had her moments as well, from hitting a floater in the lane to a sweet cross-court pass to King on the wing. Dunn also drained the 3-pointer that put the Hokies over the century mark. And all 10 players grabbed at least one rebound.

Taylor Soule really gave the Hokies a spark with her energy. (Ivan Morozov)

Brooks got a sense of what his rotation might look like over the course of non-conference play, too. Nine players is his ideal rotation, and there just aren’t that many minutes to go around. As a result, true freshman guard Carleigh Wenzel will redshirt.

By no means is Virginia Tech a finished product – the team had 19 turnovers, 15 from the five starters – but the Hokies shot well from the field (56%), played good defense (27% shooting for Mount St. Mary’s) and some pieces started to gel.

In 2022, it can be tough for new players to adapt to the preexisting culture. As Brooks said, there were multiple times when people ran into each other on the floor in the opener because of unfamiliarity with the system and playing together. But that aspect is growing for the Hokies, slowly but surely.

“I love the prospect of what we can be,” Brooks said. “I love where we can go. … You learn something about them every day. I know they’re extremely talented, I know there’s a lot of different ways we can beat you so you’ve got to really choose your poison. I think what we want to do, though, is control the narrative a little bit more.”

Box Score: Link 

5 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Thank goodness for men and women’s basketball and wrestling. Looking forward to football being over and hope next year shows improvement.

  2. I love eating my words about Coach Brooks not getting It Done here at VT.. My hat is off to him.. GO LADY HOKIES

  3. Please, PLEASE…replace the football schedule on the TSL home page with the WBB schedule once football season is over. The team deserves the recognition. They will go far this season…and the fans will enjoy the ride!

    1. Still have 3 games but after that I wholeheartedly agree with you . Especially this year I don’t like seeing that football schedule always up there year round.

      1. Agree, Uber, except when we were winning the Coastal and sometimes the ACC, then I liked to see the FB sked up there year round….not so much now! ;-(

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