BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Georgia Amoore scored 22 points to lift No. 9 Virginia Tech to a 74-66 win over Virginia on Thursday night.
Amoore connected on 7 of 15 from the floor and made four 3-pointers to help the short-handed Hokies (13-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their fifth of the past six meetings with Virginia.
Virginia Tech played without Elizabeth Kitley, who suffered an ankle injury in Wednesday’s practice. The 2021-22 All-American and last year’s ACC Player of the Year is the team’s leading scorer (18.3 points) and rebounder (10.9).
“I’m sure when a lot of people walked out and saw Elizabeth Kitley in street clothes, they didn’t give us much of a chance,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. “We know how good we are. We’re a team that’s constructed to have a lot of different options on different nights. … They just had a next-person-up mentality. Nobody was going to be Liz. They just had to be a better version of themselves.
“I’m just proud of this group and the way they handled it. It wasn’t always pretty. Sometimes it was backyard basketball. We don’t have very many plays where Liz is not involved, and they really adjusted on the fly. The execution and the effort, I was very proud of them.”
Camryn Taylor paced the Cavaliers (13-2, 2-2) with 18 points.
Taylor Soule, who had totaled just 14 points in Virginia Tech’s previous two games, finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Kayana Traylor added 15 points.
“Personally, I think we have a team full of All-Americans whether or not they’ve been given the accolade,” Soule said. “I think we have a lot of trust in each other and we’re trying to build it within ourselves, too. Just understanding your role and not trying to do what Liz does, but doing your job and doing it really well, and I think tonight it showed that when we do that, we can win games.”
The Hokies opened the second half with a 12-4 run and never trailed the rest of the way. The Cavaliers cut the Hokies’ lead to three points twice in the fourth quarter, but Virginia Tech answered with 3-pointers on the ensuing possessions.
“I thought Virginia Tech was the better team today,” Virginia coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton said. “They faced a lot of adversity, had some kids out and some kids stepped up. I didn’t think that we completely executed the game plan, which is frustrating, but at the end of the day, it’s an opportunity for us to learn and grow and get to that level.”
Virginia: The Cavaliers, who didn’t receive any votes in the AP Top 25 despite their impressive record, missed a great opportunity to knock off a wounded top-10 team on the road. They now gear up to face No. 10 North Carolina State, the second of three straight ranked opponents.
“We know this is the best conference in the country,” Agugua-Hamilton said. “Every game is going to be like this. Every game is going to be competitive. You have to bring your ‘A’ game every day.”
Virginia Tech: Short-handed because of injuries to Kitley and Ashley Owusu (broken pinkie finger), the Hokies used great free-throw shooting (14 of 16) and strong performances from Soule and Traylor to hold off their rivals.
“I think if Coach were honest, he’d say I play a brand of basketball that is unique,” Soule said. “I wanted to be a team player and play Virginia Tech basketball. That’s something I’ve been working on. In today’s game, it catered more to my style of basketball, but at the same time, just working the ball, helping my teammates out and being in the right spots. Points are nice, but I like the team ‘W.’”
Virginia: At N.C. State on Sunday.
Virginia Tech: At Miami on Sunday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25