The No. 9 Hokies handled business against Houston Christian on Thursday night in Blacksburg, tying a Cassell Coliseum record for points in the 105-36 thumping.
“It was one of those kind of games where we got to go out and execute, work on some things,” Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said afterwards. “For me, I was able to mix and match some lineups that we wanted to see how they were going to work, and obviously understanding that we are a work in progress. I was very pleased. … Just really everything we threw out there, I felt like we saw some positivity from, and there are a lot of things we can work with.”
Though Elizabeth Kitley led Virginia Tech (2-1) with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting, Georgia Amoore was the record-breaker. The Aussie racked up 16 assists with one turnover in 27 minutes, surpassing the previous mark of 13, last accomplished by Chanette Hicks in 2017. 10 of those came in the first half, including seven in the first quarter — both records on their own.
It seemed to come easy for Amoore against the Huskies (1-3), and she quietly had a double-double with 10 points, too. After dropping a career-high 31 points in the four-point loss to then-No. 3 Iowa on Thursday in Charlotte, she had more of a different role this time around, assisting six different players. Brooks said he asked Amoore to take care of whoever was out on the court, which she did.
“For Georgia to come out here and quietly have 16 assists, it just goes to show you her versatility,” Brooks said. She can score 31 like she did against Iowa or she can facilitate like she did tonight with 16 assists. And if it had been a different kind of game, she could’ve gone for 20. But that’s the kind of player she is, she was really in-tune to what the team needs.”
Just about every Tech player contributed in the blowout win against the Huskies (1-3). Four other players scored in double figures, led by center Clara Strack. The 6-5 true freshman had 19 points and eight rebounds in her third college game and was efficient, hitting on eight of her nine attempts.
She’s just the third Hokie under Brooks to shoot 88 percent from the floor or better on at least nine field goals, joining Regan Magarity (Nov. 2016) and Azana Baines (Feb. 2022). She played part of her minutes against HCU alongside Kitley, giving the Hokies a pair of pillars in the post, a lineup they worked on over the last few days. According to Brooks, she’s farther ahead than Kitley was as a freshman, and though she’s just 17 years old, she that talent was on display in Game 3.
“Clara is more mobile, she handles the ball a little bit better than Liz and she’s tough,” Brooks said of Strack. “… She’s very physical, she’s our best screen-setter. She’s our best post-feeder from a post position. She shoots the ball well — I think she hit two of the mid-range shots today from the corner — and she wants to get better. … She’s coming out of her shell and that’s showing me she wants to be great.”
“I think we all knew that’s how she’d be when she gets out there against a team like this,” Kitley said of Strack. “I swear she doesn’t miss in practice so for her to get her shots and for Georgia to take care of her out there, hit her where she wants it, it was very, very cool, and that’s the first of many games like that.”
Rose Micheaux was another player who stood out. She finished with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting, a solid performance after a quiet night against the Hawkeyes a week ago. The former Minnesota star is still trying to find her niche in Tech’s system, and despite playing just eight minutes in the Ally Tipoff and recording a rebound and a turnover, she had an energetic week of practice and followed it up with a productive game.
Micheaux scored three of Tech’s first six baskets and helped the team jump out to a quick double-digit lead. She added six rebounds, too, and had two assists and a block with no turnovers.
“What I liked about her was more before tonight — it was her attitude right after the Iowa game. She took accountability,” Brooks said of Micheaux. “She wasn’t pointing fingers, she wasn’t moping around, it was like, ‘OK, when’s practice? I’ve got to get in here and I’ve gotta fit it.’ She took ownership of her performance and she got better. … She had a really good week of practice and that made me happy.”
Guards Matilda Ekh and Cayla King each had quiet 11-point nights with three 3-pointers and two blocks. Ekh rounded out her night with seven rebounds.
With the game so out of hand, it was an opportunity for Tech to get the young players like Strack extended minutes. She played 20 while redshirt freshman Carleigh Wenzel, who had a terrific 11-point outing vs. Iowa, played 25, finishing with five points and six rebounds. Carys Baker and Samyha Suffren saw 14 and 13 minutes, respectively, and both got on the score sheet. They each got two free throws to fall while Baker hit two treys and Suffren knocked down two mid-range jumpers.
“It’s a long preseason and a long practice period and it kind of gets to the point where you know what everyone is going to do,” Amoore said. “Just the anticipation of getting out there and finally playing against someone different, it eats at you, so I think the girls have done a really good job of coming out in these games and just enforcing their energy.”
Olivia Summiel was the lone Tech player to not score, missing the one shot she attempted, but corralled five rebounds in 15 minutes.
The Hokies led 30-16 after the first quarter but used a 26-0 run to start the second period to pull away. At intermission, they had a 38-point cushion, 61-23. They were an outstanding 65 percent from the field (40-of-62), including 12-of-27 from three (44%), and outrebounded the Huskies 49-19.
HCU made just 22 percent of its shots and had 10 turnovers. Enya Maguire was the only player in double figures with a team-high 13 points, the majority of which came from behind the arc (3-of-10).
Up next for Virginia Tech is UNC Greensboro on Monday (6 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra). It’ll be the first meeting between the Hokies and Spartans (2-1), who play Radford in the first leg of their New River Valley swing on Saturday.
“I like what I see,” Brooks said. “I think we have a lot of kids that can step up and contribute for us.”