No. 14 Virginia Tech Women’s Basketball Rolls In New Year’s Eve Thrashing Of Pitt

Georgia Amoore and Virginia Tech ended 2023 on a high note with a win over Pitt. (Jon Fleming)

Everything seemed to click for No. 14 Virginia Tech in its 50-point victory over Pitt on New Year’s Eve, 91-41.

“It was a really good win for us,” Tech head coach Kenny Brooks said afterwards. “… This is kind of what we talked about early on in the year — we have to grow, it’s a process, we’ve got to understand it — and they’re starting to form an identity. … Now we’re starting to look like a unit, and we look like a deep unit because we have options.”

The Hokies (10-2, 1-0 ACC) shot 52 percent from the floor, drilled 14 3-pointers on 29 attempts (48%) and had six double-figure scorers for the first time ever in ACC play. They jumped out to a 22-5 lead after one quarter against the Panthers (6-8, 0-1) and never looked back, scoring 57 second-half points and making 20-of-28 field goals (71%) in that span.

“I think we’re a complete basketball team and we’re starting to understand that,” Brooks said. “And I think we can beat you in a lot of different ways. I think we can beat you from the three, I think we can beat you from the inside and I think we can beat you with our defense, and if we put it all together, I think we can be where we want to be.”

Everyone chipped in for Tech. Georgia Amoore had a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, which included three treys, while recording three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Matilda Ekh added 16 points and made six of her 10 shots, three of which were triples, while chipping in four assists.

Carleigh Wenzel had 11 points, four assists and three rebounds. Cayla King matched that with 11 points, three dimes and three boards. That duo combined to knock down five 3-pointers.

Cayla King and the Hokies were hot from 3-point range against Pitt. (Jon Fleming)

It was a quieter night than usual for Elizabeth Kitley, who had 10 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Pitt focused on slowing her down, which worked to a certain extent — she was 3-of-10 in the first half with six points; for the game, she made just five of her 15 shots. However, the Panthers couldn’t handle the contributions Tech received from everyone else.

Olivia Summiel recorded her second double-double in three games with 10 points and 11 rebounds, plus two blocks and two steals. In Tech’s last two outings against major conference competition in Pitt and Rutgers, she’s accounted for 28 points and 22 boards on 10-of-11 shooting.

The other chunk of points came from true freshman Carys Baker, who was a perfect 3-of-3 from long range for nine points while adding three rebounds. On the year, she’s 61 percent from behind the arc (17-of-28). After a 5-of-7 November, she made 12 of her 21 threes in December.

Rose Micheaux and Clara Strack both got on the board with two points and two rebounds each. Strack had an assist, too, meaning eight of the 10 players dished out at least one. Samyha Suffren assisted one basket in her three minutes of action. The Hokies finished with 19 assists to just eight turnovers and five players had multiple dimes.

“They’re morphing into a unit,” Brooks said. “… If these freshmen were on some other teams, they would be playing a lot, but they’re getting valuable minutes for us, valuable practice time, and then you watch the transfers, who are getting more and more comfortable with their roles because they’re starting to be defined. And we like to do it organically.

“… Offensively, we’re starting to understand, and not just them understanding each other and how they need to get the ball to each other, it’s me understanding, ‘OK, how can I get Matilda Ekh a shot? How can I get Olivia Summiel involved?’ [We’re] starting to put it together.”

Virginia Tech is starting to put all of its pieces together and it’s exciting to watch. (Jon Fleming)

Defensively, Virginia Tech suffocated Pitt. The Panthers shot just 29 percent (15-of-51), which included a 2-of-11 mark in the first quarter while Tech jumped out to a big lead. Though Laitu King, who averaged 20 points per game entering Sunday’s contest, scored 19, no one else contributed more than eight (Gabby Hutcherson).

Pitt had more turnovers (18) than made field goals (15) and gave the ball away seven times in the first period alone. The Hokies won the rebounding battle, too, 40-29.

“Liz, Georgia and Cayla are … probably the three smartest players I’ve ever had,” Brooks said. “So that allows me to change stuff on the fly. … And then I’m watching the other kids. Our freshmen, they’re smart. The things we’re throwing at them, it’s almost like the bus is moving and you’re either going to be a part of it or you’re going to get left behind, and what they’re able to do and pick up is really impressive.

“It allows us to not have a drop-off when we’re subbing. I think we have one of the deeper teams in the ACC and we’re going to be able to play a lot of kids without the drop-off. It’s almost like a prized fighter because we’ll just wear you down.”

Despite it being a 2 p.m. ET tip on New Year’s Eve, Tech was well supported in Cassell Coliseum by 6,078 fans. It was the fifth-largest crowd in the Brooks era, the second-largest for an ACC game (6,413 in Feb. 2023 vs. NC State). It was also the second time Tech broke 6,000 this season, joining the opener vs. High Point (6,113).

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Summiel said of the crowd. “… They’re there for us through the ups and the downs and they travel really, really well. I know at Rutgers when we played a couple of weeks ago, we had ‘Let’s go, Hokies’ chants echoing through the gym at an away game. It felt like a home game. But tonight was just another prime example, it was really special.

Over 6,000 fans were in Cassell Coliseum to watch Georgia Amoore and Virginia Tech destroy Pitt. (Jon Fleming)

“We’re really grateful for everyone that came out and really hoping we can keep it rolling, and when the students get back, hopefully it’s even more rowdy, but today was a really awesome experience.”

The Hokies are averaging 4,910 fans per game this season in Blacksburg and are on pace for a regular-season attendance of 73,650. In that case, hosting an NCAA Tournament game would break the school record for most fans in a season, which was set at 78,312 in 1998-99.

With the victory against Pitt, Tech finished with a perfect 17-0 record in Cassell Coliseum in the calendar year, which included three ranked wins, two in the NCAA Tournament and eight of 20-plus points.

“It was historic, and I think it was a really fun ride,” Amoore said of 2023. “Obviously, ACC champs and Final Four and all that, but for me as well, it was just the little wins along the way. This crowd, this is a benefit of last year. … I think it’s given excitement to the program, and it couldn’t be more great for this program.”

Virginia Tech is back in action on Thursday at Wake Forest at 6 p.m. ET on ACC Network Extra. The Demon Deacons dropped their league opener on Sunday at No. 22 Florida State, 73-61, and are 4-9 overall on the year.

Box Score: No. 14 Virginia Tech 91, Pitt 41 

12 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. If nothing else is clear about this team, it’s the Georgia Amoore has a high BB IQ. KennyBrooks needs to keep going to these out-of-town tournaments, casting a wide net and relying upon his insteincts. What’s also clear is that team chemistry is a big part of his success. Permy many years of observation as a soccer ref, it’s very important to female athletes. TC was the bedrock of Anson Dorrance’s program @ UNC. .

  2. Dan Bonner is a very good analyst and he is very knowledgeable about the women’s hoops game.

  3. So great to see this team reform with so many new parts. Pitt isn’t the strongest ACC team, but what a show. We played 1/8th of this game shooting poorly from the field and won by 50???? It is also evident that with our now very deep bench, we will not wear out in the 4th quarter against anyone this year.

  4. Even the announcers got excited when they put up 31 in the 3rd. They started talking about 75 and biscuits.

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