BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP)Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore each scored 20 points to lead No. 11 Virginia Tech to a 61-45 victory over No. 9 Duke on Thursday night.
Taylor Soule added 11 points for the Hokies (21-4, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won five straight and eight of their last nine games. For the first time in program history, Virginia Tech has registered wins over ranked opponents in three consecutive games.
”We continue to do what we’re doing and play to this capability, there are a lot of teams we can beat,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. ”I think it (the Duke win) puts us in the upper echelon and it’s not far-fetched to think about it. We’re right on the cusp of being a top-10 team.
”Probably everybody knows who’s the favorite right now, and I think there’s a lot of teams after that, that anyone can get there. I think that we’ve put ourselves in that position that we can get there and anything can happen. . The sky’s the limit for us. I really believe that. I know a lot of people say that, but I don’t feel like there’s a team out there that we can’t go compete with.”
Celeste Taylor scored 12 points for the Blue Devils (22-4, 12-3), who had their four-game winning streak halted.
ACC-leading Duke came into the game leading the conference in scoring defense (50.2 points per game), but the Hokies scored 51 through three quarters and also played stifling defense, holding Duke to just one field goal in the second quarter on the way to a 19-point halftime lead.
Virginia Tech put things away at the start of the second half, scoring the first seven points and extending its lead to 26 points. Duke couldn’t get any close than 16 points the rest of the way.
”When we play with confidence and when we really focus on defense and bring energy on defense, that’s when we’re the best,” Kitley said. ”I think there’s no one we can’t beat.”
Kitley shot 8 for 18 from the floor and grabbed 11 rebounds. Amoore had four 3-pointers and shot 8 for 18 from the floor.
Duke shot just 34% (16 of 47) and was outrebounded 41-23.
”These games in our league are revelatory when you win and when you lose,” Duke coach Kara Lawson said. ”You learn a lot about yourself. And you learn about where your shortcomings are. And then you can decide as a team like, are we going to be honest about our shortcomings and work to fix them? Or are you just going to kind of try to bury them and hope they don’t come up in games moving forward? And so, we had a lot of shortcomings tonight, and we’ve got to work on those to improve.”
Duke: The Blue Devils played arguably their worst game of the season, but still sit atop the ACC standings heading into the final week of the regular season. The Blue Devils remain in position to clinch their first ACC regular-season championship since 2012-13.
Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech could claim the ACC’s regular-season crown, but needs some help. Regardless, the Hokies are well on their way to receiving a double bye at the conference tournament and a possible top four seeding at the NCAA Tournament.
”The great thing with this group is that there is a bigger picture, but we’re not looking for it right now,” Brooks said. ”They’re focused on one game at a time.”
Duke: The Blue Devils play at Virginia on Sunday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies host NC State on Sunday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25