No. 12 Hokies Hammer No. 18 Louisville For Ninth Straight Win

Georgia Amoore and the Hokies have won nine straight after their victory in Louisville. (Virginia Tech athletics)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the hometown of the late, great Muhammad Ali, the No. 12 Hokies punched first and hammered No. 18 Louisville 86-70 in a heavyweight fight between two of the ACC’s best.

“We’re trying to grow and trying to be one of the elite teams. This is the only place we hadn’t won,” Hokies head coach Kenny Brooks said. “And we knew we were going to get their best shot, they’re very good and they’re playing well. … Really good win for us.”

Virginia Tech (22-4, 13-2 ACC) couldn’t miss in the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday afternoon as it shot an incredible 65.4 percent (34 of 52), a program best in an ACC game. With that, it won its ninth straight game and maintained a one-game cushion at the top of the conference standings.

It beat the Cardinals (21-6, 10-4) on the road for the first time since January of 1995 by jumping out to an early lead. A Matilda Ekh 3-pointer put Tech up by double digits 20 seconds into the second quarter and the margin never dropped below 10 for the remaining 29:40. It didn’t matter how many runs Louisville made; Tech stayed composed, took the 12,249 people in attendance out of the game and shot the lights out.

“They were really connected to where the crowd wasn’t going to be a factor,” Brooks said, “and you get off to a good start and you start to shoot the ball well, you control the narrative, and we were able to keep them out of it.”

The Hokies’ dynamic duo of Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore led the charge. They both scored 20-plus points for the 11th time in the last two seasons — Tech’s 11-0 in those games, including 5-0 this year.

Kitley posted 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting while Amoore recorded 23 and was 9-of-11. Combined, they scored 49 of the team’s 86 points (57%) and made 21 of their 27 field goals (78%). That’s without mentioning Kitley’s 13 rebounds and Amoore’s 10 assists.

Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore were incredibly efficient for the Hokies at Louisville. (Virginia Tech athletics)

But Virginia Tech was more than those two against Louisville. Brooks said his team was the most efficient he’d ever seen in practice on Saturday, which showed up in the game Sunday. All eight players scored and contributed in various ways.

Ekh was third in scoring with 12 points, which included two first-half threes. Cayla King, who scored her 1,000th career point, nailed three 3-pointers while tallying five boards and four assists. Carleigh Wenzel played some crucial minutes due to foul trouble and posted eight points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. She had a layup in the third quarter through contact that increased Tech’s lead to 14.

Olivia Summiel, who also dealt with some fouls, hit a first-quarter trey while corralling seven rebounds and adding two assists and a steal. Carys Baker knocked down a triple and Clara Strack had two points, two rebounds, an assist and a block.

In other words, a team effort.

“They’re terrific. They’re two of the best players in the country and rightfully deserving,” said Brooks of Kitley and Amoore. “But the other players are very capable. And I think what’s going on now is everyone is morphing into their role, they’re understanding what’s needed of them, when it’s needed, and we’ve had a couple games where we didn’t really shoot the ball well and it didn’t allow us to bust open games. …

“Everyone understands what’s needed of them and they’re stepping up and doing it in a fashion that allows us to have that chemistry. And if we can continue on, I think we can be a hard out.”

Louisville, which had not lost at home this season before Sunday, struggled to keep Virginia Tech at bay. It played well offensively in spurts — Kiki Jefferson led the team with 19 points while three other players (Jayda Curry, Nyla Harris and Nina Rickards) posted double figures — but couldn’t do anything to slow Tech down. Through three quarters, the Hokies shot an unthinkable 71 percent clip (29-of-41). That included a 10-of-11 third period.

Everyone stepped up for the Hokies against Louisville, including Carleigh Wenzel, who had eight points. (Virginia Tech athletics)

“We place emphasis on a third-quarter blitz,” Amoore said, “but I looked at the girls, I was like, ‘I don’t even know what the score is right now.’ We were up, but we were kind of acting like, ‘I have no idea what the score is, not going to look at the scoreboard, not going to play to any type of score knowing that we’re up.’ And I think that really helped us come out with more intensity.”

The Hokies took the air out of the building so quickly and effortlessly, just like they’ve done multiple times this year. They dominated on the glass (35-24) and, despite turning the ball over 14 times, took advantage of what the Cardinals offered and answered every single bell. Louisville’s best run was 5-0 midway through the third quarter.

Virginia Tech looked like the best team in the ACC once again. It has won four consecutive road games against ranked opponents — Syracuse, North Carolina, NC State and now Louisville — and has shown it can thrive in multiple ways, whether that’s defense, offense or rebounding. It’s gone into enemy territory and flourished where others have perished.

“If we keep shooting the ball like we did and if me and Georgia stay consistent, I think we’re really, really confident any single game we enter that we can come up with a win, and this just proved how well we can play.”

The Hokies are one of the hottest — and best — teams in the country in mid-February for the second straight season. It’s why ESPN’s College GameDay is venturing to Blacksburg in a week for their senior day clash against North Carolina, news Amoore said gave her goosebumps.

But at the same time, they’ve tuned out the noise since November, and will again in their final regular-season home game, even with the national spotlight on them. They know how juicy, in Amoore’s words, games with the Tar Heels are and can’t get caught up in the show.

However, they’re on an absolute tear at the moment, and Sunday was another example. They quietly walked into one of the toughest places to play in the country, took care of their business and left, never letting the pressure of the situation get to them. That’s the sign of a great team.

“I’m very proud because everyone tries to take away certain areas of our game and they’ve been able to step in and counter that and react to that,” Brooks said. “And when you have those makings and you’re not just a one-trick pony, you can be a dangerous basketball team.”

Box Score: No. 12 Virginia Tech 86, No. 18 Louisville 70

15 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. They brought their ‘A’ game to this one! Awesome game – looked much more fluid on offense than the Duke game. Keep this train rolling! Go Hokies!

  2. Solid and impactful contributions from 8 ladies and excellent prep by CKB and his staff. To my eyes, this was the best we have played all year. The challenge now is to keep the “MO” going.

    Well done Lady Hokies…

  3. Excellent team win despite the refs. I cringed at some of the calls…and non-calls!

    Georgia is wonderful to watch, but she was (sometimes) too casual in her play. Liz was her usual self, being beaten up and scoring at will. Always nice to see the bench contributing.

  4. Syracuse has 1 loss at home and they are 2nd in the ACC.
    NCSt has 1 loss at home and they are 3rd in the ACC.
    Louisville has 1 loss at home and they are 4th in the ACC.
    Guess what team gave these top ACC teams their one home loss.

  5. Loved this paragraph so very true:

    However, they’re on an absolute tear at the moment, and Sunday was another example. They quietly walked into one of the toughest places to play in the country, took care of their business and left, never letting the pressure of the situation get to them. That’s the sign of a great team.

  6. Coach Brooks is going to go down as the greatest coach in VT history…..he’s something special.

    1. With a couple more conference championships and a string of top 20 finishes, yes he could approach Beamer status if he sticks around. I worry that another, higher profile program will try to hire him away from us.

      1. The ACC is as high profile as you could ask for….he can build it right here.

        Connecticut basketball was nothing before a coach stayed there and built it up, Brooks can do the same thing here.

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