It was Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore starring yet again for the No. 1 seed Virginia Tech Hokies Monday night at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, as the program advanced to its first-ever Final Four with an 84-74 win over the No. 3 seed Ohio State Buckeyes.
Virginia Tech led by 13 about midway through the final frame. Ohio State would cut it to six on a Taylor Mikesell three with 44 ticks left, but would get no closer. Kitley (25 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks) blocked a Jacy Sheldon layup attempt with 30.1 seconds to go and the Hokies up eight.
Amoore (24 points) gave the Hokies their largest lead of the game at 73-60 with a deep three at 4:36 remaining. Ohio State sharpshooter Taylor Mikesell answered 58 seconds later with an impressive catch-and-shoot three from the right corner, but the Buckeyes were unable to cut it to single digits until 1:47.
Kitley scored the seven Tech points before Amoore’s big three (the first seven Hokie points of the fourth). She made a layup that made it 65-57 and a turnaround mid-range shot that made it 67-57. She then converted on a 3-point play that made it 70-60.
Tech took a six-point lead on an earlier Kitley 3-point play about halfway through the third, but State answered with a Coite McMahon layup and a Taylor Thierry layup that cut it to two. Tech would still have the final say of the frame, as Amoore hit a contested three with three seconds remaining to make it 63-55 Hokies.
Amoore pulled up right at the beginning of a possession and hit a three to make it 31-29 Tech at the 6:22 mark of the second. Mikesell answered with a three to give State the lead back. That was the beginning of a 7-0 run for the Buckeyes, but two Kayana Traylor free throws and a Cayla King three tied the game at 4:10 remaining before halftime. In between the free throws and the three, there was a Tech kicked ball that wasn’t called that allowed the Hokies to get a steal.
State went up five again on a Mikesell three at the 2:38 mark of the second, but Tech answered with an Amoore triple and Taylor Soule 3-point play to take the lead back. Soule hit two free throws with four ticks remaining before halftime to make it 48-45 Hokies at the break.
Tech held the largest lead of the opening frame at 17-10.