Virginia Tech women’s basketball falls to NC state in ACC tournament semifinal, 70-55

Virginia Tech during the 2022 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Saturday March 5th, 2022 (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/ACC) (Jaylynn Nash, Jaylynn Nash/ACC)

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Elissa Cunane had 20 points and 13 rebounds and No. 3 North Carolina State used a strong second half to pull away from No. 21 Virginia Tech 70-55 on Saturday and return to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship game.

Jada Boyd added 16 points and Raina Perez had nine points for NC State (28-3), which is seeking its third straight tournament title. The Wolfpack (28-3) will face the Miami-Notre Dame winner on Sunday.

Kayan Traylor had 18 points for Virginia Tech (23-9), which was without Elizabeth Kitley. The ACC women’s player of the year injured her right shoulder in the Hokies’ 87-80 quarterfinal win over North Carolina on Friday. Kitley participated in warmups, but did not play.

Without the 6-foot-6 Kitley in the middle, the Hokies faced a severe size disadvantage.

“We went out there, we were shorthanded, we took the No. 3 ranked team in the country, not the number 3 ranked team in the conference, in the country and we gave them everything we had for 32 minutes,” said Virginia Tech head coach Kenny Brooks. “It kind of fell out at the end but, it gives us confidence that we can play with one of the best teams in the country, and any team in the country, as long as we play well.”

The Wolfpack tried to take advantage early, pounding the ball inside to Cunane, but mostly came up empty. Cunane was 3 of 11 from the field in the first half, turned the ball over twice and the Wolfpack only led 31-27 at the break as the Hokies closed the first half on a 6-0 run.

But NC State coach Wes Moore moved Cunane from the low post to the high post for a portion of the second half and the Wolfpack began to take control.

Cunane ignited the crowd by knocking down an open 3 from the top of the key. Boyd, who finished 7 of 10 from the field, followed by scoring on a spin move in the lane and Jakia Brown-Taylor canned a 3 with the third quarter winding down to give NC State a 44-34 lead after three quarters.

Perez opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets as part of a 13-0 run to push the lead to 16.

Cunane put the final touches on the win when she launched a 3 from the top of the key that hit the front rim, bounced high off the glass and dropped through the net while she was running back down the court with her tongue sticking out and a wide smile on her face.


Virginia Tech: Despite playing without Kitley and Cayla King, who sprained her ankle against Clemson, the Hokies stayed with one of the nation’s top teams for three quarters. That’s a promising sign if they can get those two key players back for the NCAA Tournament.

NC State: The Wolfpack are likely to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s title game.


Virginia Tech: Awaits its NCAA Tournament seeding.

NC State: Plays for its third straight ACC title on Sunday against Miami.