No. 9 Virginia Tech picked up its second win in the Cayman Islands on Saturday, beating Tulane 76-70.
“We didn’t play perfect, but we dug in when we needed to,” Tech head coach Kenny Brooks told Evan Hughes on the Virginia Tech Sports Network after the win. “… It really was bothering me that we play a game at five o’clock and it gets over at seven and you’re out of here by eight … and then you have to play again at 11 o’clock. Our kids were on fumes today. We knew it going in that it was going to be like that, but I was very proud of the effort that they gave.”
On Friday against Kansas, it was Elizabeth Kitley that paced the Hokies (5-1) with 31 and 18. While she was good on Saturday against the Green Wave (3-3), scoring 18 points (9-of-12) and grabbing eight rebounds, she spent part of the game in foul trouble.
Instead, it was Georgia Amoore and Oliva Summiel who propelled Tech to a win in paradise. After playing 39 minutes against the Jayhawks, Amoore played all 40 against Tulane and scored a team-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting (3-of-8 3FG) while dishing out seven assists. She has 38 dimes in her last four outings and is averaging eight per game this season.
Amoore scored 22 of her 24 points in the second half, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. Summiel, who finished with 16 points (6-of-9 FG, 3-of-5 3FG) and eight rebounds, had six and four in the final frame. She and Amoore scored all but two of Tech’s 20 fourth-quarter points.
The Hokies led for 23 minutes, which included the entire fourth quarter. Tulane controlled parts of the first period and almost all of the second. Kyren Whittington, a 5-9, redshirt junior guard who transferred from Louisiana Monroe, led the Green Wave with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Three of her teammates scored in double figures too: Hannah Pratt (16 points, 11 of which came in the first half), Marta Galic (12) and Amira Mabry (11).
Cayla King joined Amoore, Kitley and Summiel in double figures with 11 points. She got a number of good looks from behind the arc but was just 3-of-13, 2-of-6 in the second half. Matilda Ekh couldn’t get going, though, contributing just five points (1-of-5 3FG) while Rose Micheaux added two (1-of-4 FG).
Summiel and Amoore were the main factors and came up clutch when it mattered. The former knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining to give Tech a four-point cushion, 72-68, and grabbed a huge offensive rebound with 32 seconds left that led to an Amoore jumper, again giving Tech a four-point lead (74-70).
Virginia Tech didn’t use too much of its bench. Carleigh Wenzel played just four minutes while Samyha Suffren played six. Carys Baker played five and Clara Strack only saw two. Brooks rolled with the veterans in a tight game.
“I think we have a lot of kids scared to make mistakes and so they’re playing a little bit hesitant and we’re just off a little bit on both ends of the floor,” Brooks said. “… Our timing is not there. We’re allowing people to push us and they become the aggressors and we’ve got to become better at that and we understand that. But until we do, we’re going to be in close games like this all the time.”
Tech now turns its attention to No. 7 LSU. The Tigers (6-1) and Hokies clash at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in the first edition of the ACC/SEC Challenge, a rematch from last year’s Final Four.
Box Score: No. 9 Virginia Tech 76, Tulane 70