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Recap: Kitley and Amoore at it again, as certified power VA Tech sweeps NC State

The No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies have four quality wins in a row, including the biggest one of those (over the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils) and now two over the preseason-No. 10 NC State Wolfpack.

Syracuse v Virginia Tech
Elizabeth Kitley recorded seven blocks on senior day.
Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images

Elizabeth Kitley flirted with a blocks triple-double and Georgia Amoore dished out 11 assists as the duo once again led the way for the No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies in a 75-62 win over the NC State Wolfpack on senior day Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg.

The Wolfpack played with just seven as key players in Diamond Johnson and Saniya Rivers sat out with injuries.

Tech (22-4, 12-4 ACC) last met State (18-9, 8-8 ACC) on Feb. 6 when it was No. 11 and State was No. 22. The Hokies, as mentioned, were still at No. 11 on Sunday, but the Pack had fallen out of the rankings because they lost to Virginia after the loss to the Hokies.

It had seemed like a disappointing low to be out of the rankings for preseason-No. 10 State. But they bounced back with a win over No. 19 UNC on Thursday, keeping them well within the NCAA Tournament picture at a No. 7 seed in ESPN’s Friday Bracketology. The Pack was hoping to carry momentum over to Blacksburg, but fell victim to a stellar combo performance by Kitley and Amoore, like they did on Feb. 6.

On Sunday, Kitley nothced 24 points (11-of-16 from the field), 10 rebounds and seven blocks, while Amoore added 15 points to her stat line.

Sunday’s game was even save for a 29-17 second quarter in Tech’s favor. The Hokies trailed 23-18 fifty seconds into the frame before going on a 13-2 run. It started with a D’asia Gregg three from the right corner. River Baldwin struck back for State with a layup, but Taylor Soule (layup) Gregg (bank runner) and Amoore (bank mid-range) scored the next three baskets. This sequence forced a Pack timeout.

Amoore scored the first bucket out of the timeout with an off-hand layup. Kitley then closed the run with a mid-range make that made it 31-25 Hokies. Tech next expanded on its lead with a Taylor Geiman three that made it 38-31 with 3:24 to go before halftime. Kitley blocked Camille Hobby on the ensuing possession and then made a turnaround mid-range shot on the other end to make it 40-31.

Aziaha James, who finished with a Pack-high 20 points, was clearly determined to keep her team in the game, as she responded by speeding up the court before finishing a crazy layup while falling down and sinking the accompanying free throw. But it was Kitley’s game, as she scored next on a mid-range make that made it 42-34. Geiman picked up a steal on the ensuing possession, leading to a Kitley 3-point play on the other end that opened up an 11-point lead at 1:36 mark of the second. Tech led by that same margin at the break.

James cut it to 62-53 at the 6:34 mark of the fourth, but State would get no closer the rest of the way. The Hokies led by as much as 20 in the third and by as much as 17 in the fourth.

The Pack had a good showing in the opening frame, after which they led 19-18. Hobby scored their first six points.

Gregg finished with 13 points (3-of-4 from the three) and nine boards, while Soule was good for 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.

Tech won field goal percentage 56.4 to 35.9 and defeated the Pack despite forcing just five turnovers.

The Hokies were a No. 3 seed in ESPN’s Friday Bracketology. Early on in ACC play, they lost to now-No. 10 Notre Dame and suffered a bad loss to Clemson and their first ranked conference win (which came over UNC) was by just three. They then lost to Miami and now-No. 9 Duke before picking up their next ranked conference win, which was the Feb. 6 triumph over the Pack. That win (which was by 12 points) got them on a roll, as they beat now-No. 24 Florida State by 14 and Duke by 16 in the two games between then and Sunday. That’s three ranked wins in a row, plus Sunday’s win against a team that is barely out of the rankings.

The addition of Soule and Ashley Owusu created a lot of noise around the Hokies this offseason, and they struggled to string together quality wins early on. But now they are as good as everyone expected them to be and truly a national power. They will be a dangerous team come March.