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No. 8 Virginia Tech women beat Louisville for 1st ACC crown


Kenny Brooks, Va. Tech head women’s basketball coach holds the 2023 ACC Women’s Tournament Championship trophy. Photo by Joe Daniels/Carolina Peacemaker.[/caption]

Georgia Amoore scored 25 points to help No. 8 Virginia Tech beat Louisville 75-67 on Sunday to win its first Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title.

Two-time league player of the year Elizabeth Kitley added 20 points for the Hokies (27-4), who continued their late-season tear with an 11th straight win. Virginia Tech turned its first trip to the ACC title game into a strong finishing act, pushing to a double-digit lead before halftime and keeping the Cardinals at arm’s distance the rest of the way to cap a tournament where the Hokies rarely trailed in three games.

Virginia Tech guard Georgia Amoore (#5) was named the 2023 ACC Tournament MVP. Amoore had 25 points, four rebounds and four assists in the Hokies’ victory over Louisville on Sunday (Mar. 5), at the Greensboro Coliseum. Photo by Joe Daniels/Carolina Peacemaker.[/caption]Before Sunday, the Hokies had been as far as the ACC semifinals only once since joining the league for the 2004-05 season — and that came last year. Now they’re celebrating a milestone victory under seventh-year coach Kenny Brooks, who has built this program to the top of the league.

“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” Brooks said on the court as his players celebrated in front of Hokies fans.

When the horn finally sounded, Kitley and Kayana Traylor skipped to midcourt to meet the rushing mob of players and coaches from the Hokies sideline headed for a midcourt celebration as the streamers and confetti dropped from the Greensboro Coliseum rafters.

Amoore earned MVP honors of the tournament, while Taylor Soule was soon taking photos of teammates lining up to pose with the championship trophy. A bit later, she stood on the stage choking back tears while teammate Clara Ford — who had transferred with her from Boston College — had her arm around her.

“I’m proud,” Soule said through the tears.

While Amoore and Kitley led the offense, the Hokies got a vital second-half spark from Taylor Soule. She had all 13 of her points after halftime, including nine in the third quarter with multiple finishes in the paint as the Hokies poked and probed the Cardinals’ trapping pressure.

Chrislyn Carr scored 27 points to lead fourth-seeded Louisville (23-11), which fell behind by 13 in the first half as Amoore and Kitley got going. The Cardinals got no closer than seven points after halftime until the frantic final seconds, with the Hokies showing the toughness and resilience to turn away every push by Louisville and close this one out.

Louisville made its closest push in the frantic final seconds to within 73-67 on Merissah Russell’s 3-pointer with 28 seconds left. But Kitley hit two critical free throws with 15.1 seconds to go that pushed the lead back to eight for what turned out to be the final margin.

This was the Cardinals’ fourth finals appearance, the first being a title win in 2018 followed by losses to Notre Dame in 2019 and North Carolina State on a late basket in 2021. Their first two wins came against Wake Forest and No. 10 Notre Dame, which had taken regular-season meetings against them.

But Louisville couldn’t complete its revenge tour, shooting just 37 percent while star guard Hailey Van Lith managed 12 points on 4-for-17 shooting.