Georgia Amoore leads surging Virginia Tech into Elite 8

SEATTLE -- As Virginia Tech was incorporating new transfers into its offense at the beginning of the women's basketball season, coach Kenny Brooks noticed that point guard Georgia Amoore was taking on a more passive, facilitating-focused role.

"She wanted to make them comfortable," Brooks said. "And in doing so, she kind of forgot about herself."

Brooks has long maintained that, and while two-time ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley is the Hokies' best player, Brooks said, Amoore is their most important one.

She showed why Saturday in the Sweet 16. Amoore's 29 points helped the Hokies reach the program's first Elite Eight with a 73-64 win over Tennessee in a Seattle 3 Regional semifinal.

"She's phenomenal," Brooks said. "She's as good as anybody in the country, in my opinion. She's playing with the utmost confidence and she's been playing like this ever since we really started this stretch [14 straight wins], and she's a big reason why we are here."

Twelve of Amoore's points came in a lopsided 17-9 second quarter. Virginia Tech extended its lead to as many as 18 early in the third before Tennessee cut the deficit to one in the fourth quarter. But Amoore got it done from the free throw line by hitting five of six shots to help seal the win.

Amoore also finished with six rebounds and five assists, making her responsible for nearly 60% of Virginia Tech's offense. She was the first ACC player with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in an NCAA tournament game since Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale in 2018, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

She's scored at least 20 points in eight games during the Hokies' 14-game win streak. Amoore's 16 3s in the NCAA tournament, including four on Saturday, are the third most through a player's first three games of a single tournament this century, behind Sydney Wallace's 19 and Kia Nurse's 18.

Virginia Tech will face Ohio State in the Elite Eight on Monday. Both teams are in uncharted territory, as the Buckeyes last played in that round in 1993 behind future WNBA superstar Katie Smith.

"It means everything to me," Kitley said of the team's historic run. "I'm just so happy that I landed at such an amazing spot where we did exactly what we wanted to. And it hasn't been easy and it's taken Coach Brooks like a few years, but what he's done with the program and the amount of time is incredible."

Though they haven't been there before, Brooks isn't concerned about his team's ability to handle the moment.

"Their resiliency, their toughness, their competitive drive, their talent kind of supersedes anything being nervous," Brooks said. "If they were going to be nervous, tonight was a great opportunity for them to be nervous, and they weren't ... they're really connected. And so I don't think the moment will be too big for them at all. ... I don't think we'll win or lose because the moment is too big."