RALEIGH, N.C. — The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team picked up a big road win on “Big Monday.”
The 11th-ranked Hokies won at North Carolina State for the first time in school history Monday night, beating the 22nd-ranked Wolfpack 73-61 in their “Big Monday” debut in front of a sellout crowd at Reynolds Coliseum.
“Tremendous win for our group,” Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. “We’ve been close here … and we just haven’t been able to finish the deal. … To get over that hump is something that they felt really good [about] in the locker room afterwards.
“To win a game of this magnitude on this night on national TV, I think it gives our program some credibility. … Now a lot of people get to see us and for us to perform like this, I think it really validates what we’ve been doing.”
Tech played in one of of ESPN2’s “Big Monday” women’s basketball telecasts for the first time in its history.
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The Hokies (19-4, 9-4 ACC) made the most of their showcase, leading from the opening basket.
“It just shows the growth of the program,” Tech center Elizabeth Kitley said. “What Coach Brooks has done with this team is just incredible. The growth that we’ve made is super admirable and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Virginia Tech improved to 3-26 overall in the series, including 1-12 in Raleigh. The Hokies had lost four straight games in the series, including all three meetings last year.
Tech point guard Georgia Amoore scored a career-high 27 points, including 20 in the second half. She made five 3-pointers and dished out six assists.
“Amoore was terrific, just leading us and controlling the basketball and hitting big shot after big shot,” Brooks said. “I texted her last night and I said, ‘You’re the best player on the floor, go out and prove it.’
“When she’s this good, we’re terrific and we’re hard to beat.”
Kitley had 25 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
“The guards did a really good job of getting by people, so I had a few dump-downs that were pretty easy shots,” Kitley said. “And I think the mid-range [shot] was there.”
“Elizabeth was awesome,” Brooks said. “We got her the basketball where she needed it, when she needed it.”
The Hokies won for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Tech scored the first eight points of the game and led the rest of the way. Kitley scored the first two baskets, followed by a Cayla King 4-point play.
“Our biggest focal point this season is getting off to a good start because we’re a team that was used to feeling teams out,” Amoore said. “So we knew that this game we wanted to come out and jump on their throats from the get-go.”
King finished with 10 points.
The Hokies shot 49.1% from the field to State’s 40%.
“They … tried to get out in the passing lanes and push us off of our mark, and the kids did a really good job of really setting up their cuts, really going downhill,” Brooks said.
State (16-7, 6-6), which had to replace four starters from last year’s ACC championship team, dropped its second straight game.
“Very frustrating night,” State coach Wes Moore said. “They’ve got a veteran team — they’re basically like we were a year ago.”
Tech outrebounded the Wolfpack 42-24.
“We just know when it goes up they’re not going to make every shot, so just be aggressive,” Kitley said.
State went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 50-48 with 1:43 left in the third.
But Tech answered with an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 58-48 entering the fourth quarter. After D’asia Gregg buried a 3-pointer, Kitley made two free throws and Amoore sank a 3-pointer.
“Staying composed [was key after State made its run],” Amoore said. “It’s a game of runs and we knew that that was their run. Just trusting our offense … because we were getting really good looks. It wasn’t anything to worry about because we knew that that was their little punch at us.”
The lead grew to 69-53 with 4:25 left in the fourth. State shot just 35.7% from the field in the fourth.
“We went zone in the fourth quarter and I think that … threw them off,” Kitley said.
Diamond Johnson had 16 points and four 3-pointer for the Wolfpack
Tech jumped to a 13-2 lead with 6:00 left in the first quarter. Tech led 22-18 at the end of that quarter.
The Hokies led 39-28 at halftime. Tech shot 53.8% from the field in the second quarter to State’s 26.7%.
Monday’s game was State’s annual “Play4Kay” game in memory of the late State coach Kay Yow, who died of breast cancer in 2009.