Through the first 16 minutes of the first half Thursday night, the Virginia Tech women's basketball was lucky to be tied 20-20 with Miami at Cassell Coliseum. The reason the Hokies were tied? Well, that's easy. Senior center Elizabeth Kitley had 15 of her team's points, while the rest of her teammates struggled.
Miami, which was the last team to knock off Virginia Tech just over a year ago as an unranked team, failed to take advantage of the Hokies struggles aside from Kitley, and Virginia Tech closed the second half on a 20-4 for a 40-24 halftime lead on their way to their fourth ACC win of the season and improved to 13-2 overall. Here are three takeaways from the win over the Hurricanes.
1. Liz Kitley carried the Hokies again
Everything was going right for Kitley in the first half. She had 23 of the Hokies 40 points in the half, doing most of her damage on the fadeaway jump shot. Miami started with four guards and Kitley took advantage of her height to shoot over her defender. On the opening possession of the second half, Kitley knocked a 3-pointer as the Hokies ended up opening a 20-point in the quarter. It was Kitley's 68th career double-double with 31 points and 11 rebounds.
2. Matilda Ekh got hot from behind the arc
Virginia Tech struggled from behind the 3-point line in the first quarter, missing all eight attempts. They struggled into the second quarter, but Ekh knocked down the first one with 3:10 left in the half, and of course that opened the floodgates. She hit her second on the next possession and Georgia Amoore knocked one down before the half. Those two treys were huge in the quarter with the Hokies' struggles to get them going. Ekh knocked her third of the game following Kitley's in the third quarter and she added her fourth midway through the quarter for a 51-30 lead. She finished with 12 points and when the Hokies are hitting their 3's, they're tough to beat with Kitley doing her damage on the inside.
3. Hokies need to avoid slow starts
The last two games were not the start that Kenny Brooks was hoping to get from his team against North Carolina State and Miami. They trailed most of the game against the Wolfpack before they pulled it out late and they were able to pull away from the Hurricanes with a strong second quarter and second half, but going on the road now, beginning Sunday at No. 21 Florida State Sunday, they need to start games better. The Seminoles are going to offer a huge challenge for the Hokies. A good start would go a long way into setting the tone against an athletic FSU team.
Georgia Amoore finished with 18 points and six assists for Virginia Tech, which returns to action in Tallahassee against the Seminoles, who beat North Carolina, 70-62, Thursday night. After that, a trip to Duke is next Thursday night and both games will give the Hokies a tough challenge that is the ACC.