March Madness: Top-seed Virginia Tech routs Chattanooga
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Georgia Amoore scored 22 points, Elizabeth Kitley added 12, and top-seeded Virginia Tech rolled to a 58-33 victory over No. 16 seed Chattanooga on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament’s Seattle Region.
Kitley added 14 rebounds while Amoore hit five 3-pointers for the Hokies (28-4), who won their 12th consecutive game.
“We were a little bit rusty, which I felt like we were going to be,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. “Twelve-day layoff, kids in and out of the lineup. But it’s always good to get a win to start everything and then to keep it going. The old adage is to survive and advance. You want to be a little bit better than that. But we’re fortunate to be able to get a win today.”
Yazz Wazeerud-Din and Raven Thompson led Chattanooga (20-13) with 10 points each. The Moccasins were held to their lowest point total of the season.
Virginia Tech, which is making its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, never trailed. The Hokies led by one late in the first quarter, but used a 17-0 run bridging the first and second quarters to pull away. Amoore scored eight points in that run.
“They had 33 points, but we all know that our defense could have been even better,” Kitley said. “Sometimes they were able to dictate what they wanted to do more than we should have let them. They did have (just) 33 points, but we all know that we can be better. We need to be better.”
Chattanooga, which was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017, struggled against an aggressive Virginia Tech defense. The Moccasins made just six field goals in the first half and shot 28.6% (14 of 49) for the game.
“Tonight, Virginia Tech was a better team,” said Chattanooga coach Shawn Poppie, who spent six years as an assistant under Brooks at Virginia Tech. “They’re a really good basketball team over there and we knew coming in we had our hands full. I thought we did a really good job at times defensively, and they were stifling. It was hard to get good looks, and the ones we did get, we just couldn’t get into any, any runs. We couldn’t put anything together. So congratulations to Coach Brooks and Virginia Tech.”
Kayana Traylor had 12 points, and Taylor Soule finished with 10 for the Hokies, who shot 47.9% (23 of 48).
Chattanooga: The Moccasins had a great season under first-year coach Shawn Poppie, winning 20 games and taking the Southern Conference tournament championship. Before taking over, he was an assistant for Kenny Brooks at Virginia Tech. The Mocs return most of their roster heading into next season and will be a contender to win the league title again.
Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech’s offense gets the accolades, but its defense has been its strength in its 12-game winning streak. The Hokies have held eight consecutive opponents to under 41% shooting from the floor and 11 of 12.
“We’re not going to try to shut you down,” Brooks said. “We’re going to make you take tough shots, and I thought we did that today. We made them take tough shots.”
AMOORE SETS 3-POINT MARK
Amoore’s five 3-pointers give her 99 on the season. That marks a new single-season school record, breaking the previous record of 96 set by Aisha Sheppard. “I just have a level of confidence right now,” Amoore said. “I give a lot of credit to Coach Brooks because we shoot often, and my teammates help get me open. I seriously feel sorry for Liz because she gets hounded, but it really helps get me open, too.”
Virginia Tech: The Hokies will take on South Dakota State, which beat Southern Cal in overtime, on Sunday.
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