BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Elizabeth Kitley scored 23 points and Georgia Amoore set a school record for assists in a game as No. 9 Virginia Tech beat Houston Christian 105-36 on Thursday.
Kitley scored 19 points in the first half for the Hokies (2-1), who set a school record for margin of victory (69 points) and tied a school record for points in a home game. Amoore finished with 10 points and a record 16 assists, as Virginia Tech shot 64.5% (40 of 62).
“We watched film, and we knew what they were going to do, but we just really walked out there and said, ‘OK, this is more about us,’” said Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks. “We’re just really trying to figure out who we are because we still don’t know. I think we’re getting closer to trying to figure out who we are, but we didn’t say, ‘Hey, this is a great game for us to do this, a great game for us to do that.’ No disrespect to our opponent, but we knew that if we came out and played well, we’d get a chance to really shine.”
Freshman Clara Strack added a career-best 19 points for the Hokies, who bounced back from an 80-76 loss to No. 3 Iowa last Thursday in Charlotte. Strack made 8 of 9 shots from the floor.
Enya Maguire led Houston Christian (1-3) with 13 points.
Virginia Tech used a 26-0 run at the start of the second quarter to put the game out of reach, getting scoring from seven players in the run. Nine of the 10 Hokie players who played scored, with six reaching double figures.
“Obviously, we watched that Iowa game a lot,” Kitley said. “We knew what we had to get better at, and we just looked at this game as another opportunity to implement those things. They’re very different opponents, but our attitude stays the same. So we came out and wanted to make a statement and make an impact, and I think we were able to do that.”
Houston Christian, a member of the Southland Conference, missed 15 consecutive shots to open the period and shot just 22.4% (13 of 58) in the game.
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Amoore broke the previous record of 13 assists in a game that had been held by two players — Chanette Hicks at Illinois in 2017 and Lisa Witherspoon versus Dayton in 1999. She had 31 points in the loss to Iowa, but registered just three assists in 40 minutes.
“The offense that coach Brooks runs, a lot of it runs through me, and I do get good looks to make plays,” Amoore said. “Early on, something subconsciously was telling me like, ‘OK, my team is getting more open tonight,’ and I started looking for that. … Today was just sharing and making sure everyone gets a piece of it, especially not just because we were coming off a loss, but in nonconference, it’s about developing chemistry.”
Houston Christian: The Huskies, who went 11-18 last season, still have nonconference games left at Texas A&M, at Texas Tech, and at Kansas, but the success of their season will hinge on how well they play in conference action. They were picked to finish tied for fifth in the Southland in the league’s preseason poll.
Virginia Tech: This game served as a perfect matchup for the Hokies after their tough loss to the Hawkeyes. They shot well, played great defense, and did what a top-10 team should do against a lesser nonconference team early in the season.
Houston Christian: At Texas A&M on Monday.
Virginia Tech: Host UNC Greensboro on Monday.