Virginia Tech, Ohio State prove worthy of Elite 8 status

The doubters are motivation to keep going.

Virginia Tech preps for Elite 8 matchup with Ohio State (WSLS)

SEATTLE, Wa. – A notification from ESPN popped up on phones ahead of this weekend reading, “Next chapter of UConn-Tenn?”

Tennessee and UConn would only meet in the Elite 8, discounting not only No. 1 seed Virginia Tech but also a gritty Ohio State team that also deserves to still be playing.

For some players, like Virginia Tech All-American Elizabeth Kitley, the doubters are motivation to keep going.

“Virginia Tech doesn’t necessarily have the legacy that other schools have when it comes to women’s basketball but we’ve always known that we can get here,” Kitley said. “I think it’s just motivating because they didn’t think we’d get to the Sweet 16 then they didn’t think we get to the Elite Eight. I’m sure they don’t think we’re gonna get to the Final Four. So, it’s like we see all that stuff but at the end of the day we know what we have so we’re just ready to do it.”

Head coach Kenny Brooks agrees but appreciates the way in which his team uses the doubt as a positive motivating force.

“They love the opportunity to take that and not be mad motivated but they’re like, ‘Ok we’ll show you,’” Brooks said. “But, they’re not going to tell you they were mad about it. We’ll just go on to the next thing.”

While Ohio State is a No. 3 seed, they’ve proven time after time why they belong. Saturday night, they beat UConn by double digits.

“We love being the underdogs, of course, but we also feel like we deserve to be in this position that we’re in,” said Buckeyes forward Cotie McMahon. “We work just as hard as UConn did or any other one seed, so I feel like we definitely deserve to be here.”

Having new teams and fresh faces this late in the tournament is great for growing women’s basketball. But, the Elite 8 is slowly turning into the Final Four as Virginia Tech and Ohio State go to battle Monday at 9 p.m. eastern.

About the Authors:

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.