No. 9 Virginia Tech Can’t Hang With No. 7 LSU In 82-64 Loss

Georgia Amoore paced the Hokies in Baton Rouge, but she didn’t have much help outside of Elizabeth Kitley. (Virginia Tech athletics)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Though No. 9 Virginia Tech got off to a quick start on Thursday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, it couldn’t hang with No. 7 LSU for four quarters, losing 82-64.

“We’ve got to get better,” a frustrated and disappointed Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said after the loss. “It’s November. We’ll get better. … Just trying to build chemistry amongst each other so we understand where we need to be, but that’s what these games are for.”

Though the Hokies (5-2) led the Tigers (8-1) by seven, 20-13, after the first quarter, LSU roared back and outscored Tech 69-44 the rest of the way. The script flipped and Tech went cold from the field for a few moments, enduring a 1-of-11 stretch and a field goal drought over the final 4:50 in the second quarter.

At the same time, the Tigers put their foot on the gas. They ripped off runs of 7-0 and 8-0 in the second quarter and posted 22 points to Tech’s nine in the period. That propelled them out to a double-digit lead — they led by as many as 22 — and it never quite felt like the Hokies had a chance to complete the comeback. The closest margin in the second half was eight points.

“I think in the first quarter, they figured out that they were probably not playing as aggressive as they could,” Tech guard Georgia Amoore said of LSU, “and once they sniffed that out, they were playing pretty hard after that, and I think we didn’t adapt to that or adjust to it or even remotely really fight back.”

Amoore and Elizabeth Kitley had their typical good games — the former was 11-of-24 for 25 points while the latter had a double-double with 16 points (6-of-16 FG) and 11 rebounds — but there weren’t many contributions from other members. The next-highest scorer was Matilda Ekh with 11 points, but she didn’t reach double figures until the final minute.

Off her 16-point, 8-rebound performance against Tulane in the Cayman Islands, Olivia Summiel started her first game of the season, but she played just 11 minutes. Rose Micheaux picked up four fouls in 14 minutes and had six boards but two poor turnovers. Carleigh Wenzel made some freshman mistakes in her 10 minutes. Cayla King made just one shot in 30 minutes.

“It’s very concerning,” Brooks said. “Obviously, we need that third and fourth option that’s going to be consistent. We haven’t had that this year. Liz and Georgia are phenomenal players, but we can’t rely on their productivity to be at the highest without somebody else stepping up and contributing.”

Amazingly, Clara Strack fouled out in five minutes, and Kitley joined her in that situation in the fourth quarter. That was a bizarre moment since Brooks had the opportunity to take Strack off the floor after she was called for her fourth but did not. She’s the second-fastest Tech player to foul out of a game behind Shavena Johnson, who did so in four minutes in Dec. 1990 vs. Old Dominion.

Though the Hokies shot the ball better in the second half, making 15 of their 26 field goal attempts (58%), they struggled on the other end, allowing LSU to hit 19-of-31 (61%). For the game, the Tigers were 31-of-62 (50%).

Elizabeth Kitley and the Hokies were better in the second half offensively, but they were in too much of a hole at that point. (Virginia Tech athletics)

DePaul transfer Aneesah Morrow was the best player on the floor and finished with 19 points (8-of-17) and 15 rebounds. Freshman Mikaylah Williams played well too, scoring a team-high 20. Flau’jae Johnson added 13 points and eight boards while Angel Reese chipped in 19 and nine in her first game back. Even Hailey Van Lith got in on the action with seven points and five assists.

There were only two instances where LSU missed back-to-back field goals. And though the Hokies were better after the break, they couldn’t crawl out of the hole they dug themselves into early in the game.

“Obviously, we’re going to miss shots, it’s just whether or not we let it affect us and carry over or not,” Amoore said. “Still have the utmost confidence in the girls that they will hit it, but we just need that aggression back.”

The discrepancies with rebounding and free throw shooting were large. LSU had 14 more boards, a battle it won 43-29, while it was 17-of-26 (65%) from the charity stripe. Tech couldn’t catch a break in that area, attempting just 11 foul shots, and was called for eight more fouls than the Tigers. Three Hokies had at least four personals while Reese was the only one for LSU.

“It kind of threw us off,” Brooks said. “I think Olivia Summiel got two fouls very quickly. Liz, Georgia and Cayla got a foul within the first maybe three minutes of the game. It makes you a little bit hesitant because you’re trying to feel the situation out. … I’m not going to sit here and say we don’t foul at all, but it was very confusing in how the game was going to be called and I think that really affected just what we were trying to do as far as our rotations down the stretch.”

Amoore kept Tech active in the second half, scoring 18 of her 25 after intermission, but she didn’t have enough help across the board. Threes didn’t fall — Virginia Tech was 4-of-21 — which contributed to the struggles. But it wasn’t a make-or-break performance; rather, it’s one the Hokies can look at and examine as to why they didn’t play well as a team.

They have some time before they turn the page — they’re not back at it until LIU on Wednesday, and they’ve still got a month until ACC play begins. That’s plenty of time to study film and correct mistakes from the previous outing, and there will be a number of opportunities for players to step up.

 “We have to learn how to adjust to the circumstances,” Brooks said, “but again, with a very inexperienced group, opportunities like this will provide that for us and we’ll learn from it and get better.”

Amoore: “It is November and at the end of the day, we do have three returners, three people who know exactly what Coach Brooks wants, and we have nine other girls who don’t. And we need to figure out how to gel, play with chemistry, figure out our personality and who we are as a team. I don’t think we have that covered yet.”

Box Score: No. 7 LSU 82, No. 9 Virginia Tech 64

21 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Maybe Coach Brooks needs to bring in the martial arts expert that coach Pry used with the football lineman. They need to learn how to be physical without fouling and how to not let the opposition overpower them when rebounding.

  2. I maintain that the basketball refs for men or women do not know what an offensive foul is. Even if you have the ball, you cannot push your way into a defender’s space when the defender has established his or her position on the floor. If you are driving for the basket, you cannot swerve into a defender’s body. He or she is not required to change his or her course. I see it time and again. The refs call the foul wrong every time. A defender will be standing in a proper established position, and an offensive player will jump forward towards the basket and bump the defensive player. That is an offensive foul. Tell them they need to be trained better. Dock their game pay for every miscalled foul. I don’t care which team it is, they call it wrong.

  3. We do not have thugs on our team. LSU has plenty, and we can’t compete against that kind of competition, especially when it takes 15 minutes of play to see how the refs are calling the game.

  4. Kitley is a jumpshooting, fade away shot artist. She is not going to get many fouls on the actual shot.

  5. 11-of-24 for 25 points and 16 points (6-of-16 FG) are not good games. I read alot of David’s summarties and they are too positive as times. Kitley shot 45% and Amoore 37.5% plus was poor from 3

    1. David is definitely a “cup half full” guy. Probably needs to be to maintain his relationships inside the program.

  6. Coach should have taken a technical on the Reese hard, repeated chest bumps. Protect players.

    1. I was there. That hard foul by Reese when she knocked Kitley to the floor in the first half should have been a technical foul. And your right, Brooks should have raised hell about it. And every time Reese lowers her shoulder and slams into the defender should have been charging. She gets away with that all the time.

  7. You are exactly right. Soule often rebounded up near the rim. She could really jump. Both her and Traylor were very important to last year’s team. Perhaps they did not get their fair share of credit because of being overshadowed by Kitley and Amoore.

    1. I always thought Taylor was the glue that held it together against more athletic teams. This team doesn’t seem to have that person.

  8. Kenny does great work as the other coaches do. The team has time to jell but lots of players need to pick it up big time including King who candidly has struggled mightily with her shot. The portal transfers have been extremely inconsistent.

  9. “there was confusion as to how the game was going to be called.”That was diplomatic of him because I can say it sucked, definitely sec oriented

  10. We have a young lineup in November. Two losses against two of the best teams in the land. These early season games help send a signal of what improvement needs to come before March. Hopefully the new comers learn and adjust much like last years team did during the season.

  11. Also zoom in on the picture and look at the scratch on Kitley’s leg. I’m sure that wasn’t a foul. The reffing stunk last night.

  12. Don’t know how to do it but this team from A-Z needs to find a way to play with more of an edge. That fighting spirit to compete at 110% at each aspect of the game (rebounding, defending, rotations, attacking the basket). It’s early and Kenny Brooks is a fantastic coach. We have phenomenal players they just need to work to figure it out. Tough loss to a team I despise in LSU but I’m hoping for a rematch in the NCAAs.

    1. Traylor and especially Soule had a mean streak. They would flat out get after people. Strack has it…she’s physical and I’m proud of her for throwing her body around. At least she stood up for herself in there. The refs were an embarrassment to basketball

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