Virginia Tech women’s basketball start their NCAA Women’s Tournament run against Marquette on Sunday.
What: Virginia Tech Hokies (14-9, 8-8 ACC) vs. Marquette Golden Eagles (19-6, 14-4 BIG EAST)
When: Sunday, March 21 at noon ET
Where: Strahan Arena in San Antonio, Texas
For the first time since 2006, Virginia Tech women’s basketball is going dancing. Tech is coming into the tournament as a seven seed while Marquette is a 10 seed in the River Walk Region.
The Hokies have been on a roll as of late and hopefully, that trend will continue as they open up tournament play. They won six out of seven games to end the regular season, a stretch that included the big win over No. 2 NC State.
Marquette is coming off of an appearance in the BIG EAST Tournament championship game. The Golden Eagles fell in that one to No. 1 UConn. This is their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The contest will be the first time that Virginia Tech and Marquette have met in women’s basketball.
Keys to a Virginia Tech women’s basketball win
This is a Hokies team that likes to shoot the threes, for that to work they have to drain them early. Getting into a rhythm and forcing Marquette to defend the three will open up the middle a little bit more for the Hokies. Virginia Tech is averaging 9.8 three-pointers a game, the most in the ACC.
Another key is going to be to get the ball to the playmakers. Two of the three top-scoring players in the ACC are Hokies, Elizabeth Kitley, and Aisha Sheppard. Getting Kitley and Sheppard confident early will be an important factor if the Hokies want to come away with a win.
Something that Virginia Tech has done this season has been giving up big leads. If they build a lead they need to put the game away early and not take their foot off the gas.
Players to watch
Virginia Tech – Aisha Sheppard is the leader of this Tech team. It’s hard to overstate how important Sheppard is to this program, she makes the team click. The combination of Sheppard and Elizabeth Kitley has proved to be quite the offensive spark for the Hokies over the last two seasons. Sheppard is coming into the tournament averaging 18.3 points per game. She’s only been kept in single digits twice all season. The guard also earned AP honorable mention All-American honors for her efforts this season, only the fourth Hokie to earn All-American accolades.
Marquette – Selena Lott has come up big for the Golden Eagles all season and she’ll need to do that in this one for them to come away with an upset win. The senior is a force on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. She leads the team averaging 14.6 points and 129 assists on the season. Twice this season she registered 11 assists in a game. On the defensive side, she’s registered 103 rebounds, 51 steals, and 19 blocks.
The winner of this one faces either Baylor or Jackson State in the Round of 32.