RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — No. 16 Virginia Tech didn’t need any last-second drama to beat third-ranked North Carolina State again.
Elizabeth Kitley had 25 points and 13 rebounds while the Hokies hit 11 3-pointers to beat the Wolfpack 72-61 on Thursday night, earning a season sweep in a matchup of top Atlantic Coast Conference contenders.
“We’re always constantly trying to get better, trying to get better, trying to get better,” Hokies coach Kenny Brooks said. “So we’re going to be critical of ourselves and we know we can do certain things. But throughout the game, from start to finish, I thought they had an attitude that was really good.”
Georgia Amoore had 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the reigning league champion Hokies (19-4, 10-2 ACC), who earned a fourth straight win against N.C. State (20-3, 8-3) and only the program’s second road win against the Wolfpack in 14 tries.
The Hokies won the first meeting on Kitley’s last-second layup after the then-unbeaten Wolfpack blew a 13-point lead. This time, Virginia Tech pushed ahead for good midway through the second quarter then completely controlled the third to build a double-digit lead and stare down rowdy red-clad crowd growing more frustrated by the second.
The Hokies nearly doubled the Wolfpack in third-quarter scoring (20-11), hitting more 3-pointers (five) than N.C. State had total baskets (four) while using zone looks to keep the Wolfpack off stride.
“We’ll admit it, we’re not the best 1-on-1 defenders, but we’re going to help each other and push people to spots,” Amoore said, adding: “It might not be flashy and we might not be getting steals or flustering people like that, but I think we’re doing a pretty good job.”
The quarter ended with Kitley passing out of a double team and Carleigh Wenzel whipping the ball from the top to Amoore for a clean wing 3 and a 57-44 lead just before the horn on the way to a sixth straight win.
Madison Hayes scored 20 points for the Wolfpack, who shot just 35.6% and made 6 of 18 from 3-point range. That included Aziaha James going scoreless after a 17-point first half, and the Wolfpack tallying just four assists.
“They came in here and they were confident and they were tough,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “They came up with the rebounds, the loose balls, they were flying around.”
Virginia Tech: This was a huge win in the ACC regular-season race, keeping the Hokies slightly ahead of No. 15 Louisville (9-2) with five teams holding at least eight league wins as of the final horn. Virginia Tech still has road games against the Cardinals (Feb 18) and No. 12 Notre Dame (Feb. 29) ahead.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack had beaten then-ranked rival North Carolina and then Louisville on Monday to start a stretch of three straight games against ranked foes — only to hit a thud of an ending.
The Hokies dominated the action up front beyond just the 6-foot-6 Kitley, a two-time ACC player of the year.
N.C. State’s starting bigs of River Baldwin and Mimi Collins combined for six points on 1-for-11 shooting with eight rebounds, a boards total matched by the 5-foot-6 Amoore as well as 6-5 freshman center Clara Strack.
The Hokies outrebounded the Wolfpack 48-31, including 15-5 on the offensive glass.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies host Boston College on Sunday.
N.C. State: Pittsburgh hosts the Wolfpack on Sunday.
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