No. 15 Hokies Crush Radford In New River Valley Clash, 85-40

Elizabeth Kitley and the Hokies crushed Radford on Sunday. (Jon Fleming)

It was all Hokies from the jump on Sunday afternoon in Cassell Coliseum as they crushed Radford in a New River Valley matinee, 85-40.

“I thought we made strides in trying to be who we wanted to be,” Brooks said. “We’re getting some positive production from some younger players, all the while they’re getting valuable minutes with the veterans, and we’re starting to understand each other and where we’re supposed to be.”

Virginia Tech (7-2) shot 50 percent in the first quarter (10-of-20) and led 22-4 after the first 10 minutes while playing stifling defense. The Highlanders (2-8) did not score for the first 5:50 of the contest and were 6-of-30 (20%) in the first half. It was a 26-point game at intermission, 48-22.

The Hokies didn’t let off the gas in the second half and scored 27 unanswered points over a 7:12 stretch that dated back to the end of the second quarter.

Tech shot 46 percent for the game and held the Highlanders to just 11 made field goals (on 57 baskets — 19%) while forcing 20 turnovers. The second-half numbers were absurd — Radford was 5-of-27, including a 0-of-15 mark in the third quarter. It was the fifth-lowest shooting percentage by an opponent in Cassell Coliseum in Tech history, the second-lowest in the Brooks era (Longwood, Nov. 2022).

“I thought in the first quarter and third quarter in particular, we were very good and taking away a lot of their opportunities,” Brooks said of his defense. “We’re very long. I think we had like 12 blocks tonight. So a lot of times someone will get a step on us and rotations are good and we’re able to come over and block some shots. I thought it got away from us a little bit in the second quarter and the fourth quarter, and we were trying to mix and match some lineups, but still, this was a great opportunity for us to do that.”

Georgia Amoore and the Hokies limited Radford to 19 percent defensively. (Jon Fleming)

The Hokies used all 10 of their available players against Radford and play most significant minutes. Elizabeth Kitley led the way in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with 13 rebounds, good for her seventh double-double of the year, while Georgia Amoore added 15 points (6-of-13), three assists and three blocks.

A number of other players chipped in. Matilda Ekh joined Kitley and Amoore in double figures with 12 points behind two made 3-pointers, as did Carleigh Wenzel, who had 11. She also had five assists and four rebounds.

True freshmen Carys Baker and Clara Strack both had productive afternoons. Baker had nine points and four boards while Strack had nine and 10. Cayla King also scored eight points on 2-of-5 shooting from deep.

“Clara Strack continues to get better,” Brooks said. “We continue to get comfortable with her and what she’s able to do, and I think she continues to get comfortable playing multiple positions. It’s not just a situation where she’s going to come in for Liz and Liz comes back in for her; they’re playing alongside each other, so that takes a little bit of time to get used to. Clara’s never played power forward before in her life, and I think she’s really responded positively.

“… Carys Baker is really impressive as well. Spreads the floor for us, she shoots the ball exceptionally well. She’s being where she’s supposed to be. Those two in particular, and Carleigh’s done a really good job. Those three, they’re all freshmen and they’re going to step up and be able to contribute for us, and they’re going to have to, and that’s something that I learned this week.”

Rose Micheaux added four points, three rebounds and two assists, and though Olivia Summiel did not score, she contributed five boards and two dimes.

Rose Micheaux and Olivia Summiel haven’t found their consistency yet this season. (Jon Fleming)

Though they’ve had a few outstanding outings this year, most evident in Summiel’s 16-point performance vs. Tulane and Micheaux’s 12-point game vs. Houston Christian, the two transfers have yet to find their consistency so far this season, which shows it can take some time to get acclimated with a new team.

“It just goes to prove that it’s not easy to just plug and play,” Brooks said. “They both are coming from a system that they have been used to for a couple years at least, and they’re coming here and trying to figure out how to play off of Georgia, how to play off of Liz. Right now, we just need whoever’s going to be able to step up and get more comfortable.

“That’s why we’re still looking and watching and that’s why you see the distribution of minutes is relatively even so they can get the opportunity to show that they can play. We’re still evaluating.”

Radford was led by Ashlyn Traylor-Walker’s 16 points, 11 of which came from the free throw line. She’s one of three sisters on the Highlanders roster, all of whom are sisters of former Tech women’s basketball player and ACC champion Kayana Traylor.

Taniya Hanner and Joi Williams each scored seven points for Radford while Pa’Shence Traylor-Walker and Maci Rhoades had five apiece.

The Hokies have a week of rest before traveling to Piscataway, N.J., to face Rutgers next Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1. It’ll be the eighth all-time meeting, the first since Nov. 2018, and Tech’s second road trip of the season. Brooks has a chance to win his 500th game as a head coach, too, in a place Tech is 0-4 in its history.

Carleigh Wenzel and the Hokies have a week off before going on the road to Rutgers next Sunday. (Jon Fleming)

“This upcoming week kind of shines a light on what [the players] actually go through,” Brooks said. “They’re student-athletes. Some of them had exams yesterday … and I think some of them have either exams tomorrow or projects they have to turn in. They take it very seriously and they’re going to finish it up and then we have a couple of days where we really get to continue to prepare to be who we want to be as we go into ACC play.

“Rutgers is going to be a very, very tough place to play. I’ve never been there on the women’s side but I’ve been there as a coach on the men’s side, but it is historic. They have some talented players, they play hard, they’re still trying to put it together, but we’re going to use it as a business trip because it’s a great opportunity for us to get another win against a good program.”

Box Score: No. 15 Virginia Tech 85, Radford 40 

12 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches with so many talented new players. Suffren, who only gets a few minutes of pt, looks to be a strong athletic player who could contribute significantly given the opportunity. But all the new players are that way. I imagine this is new territory for Coach Brooks and his staff trying to incorporate this many new players into his program while trying to maintain the high level of play that they achieved last season. I’m looking forward to seeing how this team develops as the season progresses.

    1. As good as our WBB team is now, I am looking forward to how good they will be two years from now too!

  2. I wonder if Georgia got called for her one foul in that picture where she’s defending against the shooter (Radford’s #5). Looks like she’s about to tag her on the arm. Just pondering on a snowy Monday morning.

  3. With these “easier” games first thing I do is go look a the player times in the box score then go back and read Brook’s comments. The LIU game it looked like Kenny has three levels of players: The big 3 who all got ~ 30 minutes each, four who got 20 minutes each and three who got roughly10 minutes each. (Question: these are the ten who are available? other two redshirting?)

    This game was somewhat similar in the big 3 getting 25 minutes each and four others in the 20 minute club. Wenzel got 25 so not a genius moment to suggest we might have a big four now, so her rotation is getting pretty solidified now. Baker joined the 20 minute crowd with good offensive numbers last week so good development with Eck and the two freshmen. Olivia and Rose got 17 minutes each and well, you can read Brook’s comments. Sufren got seven minutes she’s getting a taste right now, that’ all.

    1. To add…I think Wenzel is the guard off the bench. I’m wondering in ACC play if Strack and Baker are going to get the minutes instead of Micheaux and Summiel, especially with Strack playing on the floor with Kitley. That’s what the production is telling me right now but we’ll see.

      1. Well yeah, too little data but that’s what I’m reading. Strack and Wenzel are past the “Let’s see what they can do” stage and Baker’s making a bid to join that crowd. Micheaux and Summiel should have been instant hole fillers and that just hasn’t happened, still plenty of time but getting to the crossroads…

  4. Love seeing how Coach Brooks is building rotations while he gives his new players opportunities to shine. Great coach, and I believe this will be a very solid Sweet 16 team.

    1. Our Achilles heel last couple years has been lack of depth. Reserves don’t just get better in practice; they need real PT. Glad everyone got in yesterday but no need to play the starters 30 minutes against an over-matched opponent. Hoping CKB continues to develop the reserves, and not just in garbage time.

      1. Well yes and no, the paradox being you have to see play the starters so the new players learn how to work with them. I mean, I’m with you get as much time in as possible, and KB cut a little time off of the big three’s 30 minutes to parse out to other players.

        “Achilles Heel” is a little strong, they got to the final four, a truly efficient six players, but yeah, love to have some good reserves.

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