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Kitley, Cole propel Tech to ninth ACC win

Point guard Taja Cole nearly had a double-double in the game as she got her teammates involved early on, registering nine assists.

VT women defeat Wake Forest for ninth ACC win
VT women defeat Wake Forest for ninth ACC win

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Freshman Elizabeth Kitley and graduate student Taja Cole combined to score 41 points Sunday afternoon at LJVM Coliseum as the Virginia Tech women’s basketball program won its third consecutive game 73-62 over Wake Forest. The win takes the Hokies’ record to 19-6 and 9-5 in the ACC.

Wake Forest fell to 13-13 (6-9).

Kitley scored the game’s opening basket and would go on to score seven points in the first quarter as she asserted herself on the block all afternoon. After Aisha Sheppard and Dara Mabrey both connected on 3-point baskets before the media timeout, Virginia Tech took hold of a lead that the Hokies would not relinquish en route to their record ninth ACC victory. The Summerfield, North Carolina native finished the game with 21 and pulled down 14 rebounds tying her career-high.

Point guard Taja Cole nearly had a double-double in the game as she got her teammates involved early on, registering nine assists and later took advantage of her athleticism to get to the rim, scoring 20 points on 9 of 16 shooting.

Junior guard Dara Mabrey also connected on four 3-pointers Sunday afternoon, breaking out of a mini slump, scoring 14 points.

Wake Forest cut the lead to six with just under eight minutes to play in the game, but that would be as close as they would come as Tech went on a 9-0 run to extend the lead.

The Deacons were led in scoring by guard Ivana Raca’s 24 points. She was held in check from the floor going 7 for 18, but she did her damage at the free throw line where she was 8 of 10.

Forward Alex Sharp had a team-best eight rebounds.

Tech moved into a three-way tie for third place in the ACC with the results of Sunday’s games, ahead of a trip to Notre Dame on Thursday night on ACC Network.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Points in the paint were nearly even with the Hokies scoring 40 and the Demon Deacons getting 38.
  • Second chance points and points off turnovers were identical with both squads getting 12 and 13 respectively in each category.
  • Tech held an edge on the glass 39-34.
  • The Hokies led for 38 minutes. 

GAME NOTES

  • Aisha Sheppard was held below 10 points for just the third time this season with her five against the Demon Deacons. She continues to lead the team at 15.4 points per game. Sheppard has hit a 3-pointer in 32 consecutive games, dating back to January 29, 2019, a school record. After climbing to second place all-time at Virginia Tech in 3′s last week, she added one more to her tally which now stands at 207.
  • Tech used the same starting lineup for the 18th straight game – Cole, Mabrey, Sheppard, Rivers and Kitley.
  • Freshman center Elizabeth Kitley registered her fourth double-double of the season in the game and third in ACC play. 
  • Dara Mabrey hit four 3′s in the game, the most in a contest since she hit four at Virginia on January 19.

NEXT TIME ON CARILION CLINIC COURT

•The Hokies are back at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday, February 23 to play host to the Virginia Cavaliers. Tipoff on ACC Network Extra is set for 7 p.m.

•In the season’s first meeting, Tech earned a 69-61 victory at John Paul Jones Arena behind a balanced offensive attack that saw all five starters record double figures. Dara Mabrey led the squad with 15 points, including a memorable 3-pointer from the logo as the shot clock wound down from an out of bounds play under the basket. The Hokies outrebounded the Cavaliers 41-30 and went 18-22 from the free throw line.