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Kitley powers Hokies past Duke

Freshman records third double-double in four games

Virginia Tech basketball
Virginia Tech basketball (WSLS)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team capped off a historic run at Cassell Coliseum with a 70-56 victory over visiting Duke Thursday night to earn its 11th ACC win and move back into a tie for third place in the league.

The win, Tech’s 13th of the season at home, signaled the best winning percentage in the building since the 2002-03 season. Virginia Tech improved to 21-7 (11-6), behind another strong performance from freshman center Elizabeth Kitley who secured her third double-double in four games with a 19-point, 10 rebound performance. The reigning ACC Freshman of the Week was 9 for 13 from the floor.

The Hokies, who shot 52% as a team were boosted by the play of forward Trinity Baptiste who came off the bench to score 16 points, working efficiently taking just seven shots.

Taja Cole impacted the game from the opening tip, helping the defense to force seven Duke turnovers in the first quarter of play, with three steals of her own guarding All-Conference guard Haley Gorecki. Cole, the ACC’s leader in assists, dished out 10 Thursday and notched a double-double scoring 10 points. The Blue Devils (17-11, 11-6) were led in scoring by Leaonna Odom’s 16 points. Gorecki finished with 13 points, well below her season average, taking 19 shots. The grad student was just 1 of 8 from beyond the arc.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Tech got 22 points from its bench while Duke got six.
  • The Hokies pulled down more rebounds (31-28).
  • Virginia Tech made eight 3-pointers in the game, while Duke managed just two.
  • Duke turned it over 16 times and the Hokies turned those into 16 points.

GAME NOTES

  • Aisha Sheppard scored in double figures for the 24th time in 28 games this season with her 14 against Duke.
  • She continues to lead the team at 15.6 points per game. Sheppard has hit a 3-pointer in 35 consecutive games, dating back to January 29, 2019, a school record. She sits in second place all-time at Tech with 219 3-point field goals.
  • Sheppard has recorded 997 career points just three away from becoming the 28th member of the program's 1,000-point club.
  • Tech used the same starting lineup for the 21st straight game – Cole, Mabrey, Sheppard, Rivers and Kitley.
  • Trinity Baptiste scored in double figures for the first time in seven games.
  • Taja Cole’s double-double was her third of the season.

NEXT TIME ON THE HARDWOOD

•Tech closes out its regular season slate at No. 5 Louisville on Sunday, February 29. Tipoff for that contest is set for 12 p.m. and can be seen on ACC Network.

•Louisville holds a 21-17 series lead and have won each of the last six meetings, however each of the last three contests have been decided by single digits.