AllNCAA Sports

#4 Virginia Tech Dominates #13 Marshall To Advance Into 2nd Round Of 2024 NCAA Tournament (3-22-24)

By: Joey Raymond

All Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

Blacksburg, VA —Entering march madness off of a heartbreaking loss in the ACC tournament, Virginia Tech had one major question. Will the 3 time ACC Player of the Year and All-American Liz Kitley play? Well, the Hokies got an answer, just not the answer that they wanted. Liz Kitley will unfortunately go the entirety of the NCAA tournament without their star player. The Hokies will need to be better adjusted than they were in the ACC tournament if they hope to make another magical run. Thus brings the opponent, the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall is a very unique and challenging opponent. The Herd comes into this game after winning the SBC conference championship against rival James Madison. They’re a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer and has three players who average double-digit points as a result. They have both the coach and player of the year for the Sun Belt conference. It’ll be extremely interesting to see if Marshall can pull the upset, or if Virginia Tech can have players step up, and hold off the Herd.

Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

Just like last season, Virginia Tech fans screamed “Enter Sandman” as the two teams tipped off. The Hokies would look sound early, getting the ball to Clara Strack often, and getting her 6 points by the first media timeout. The Hokie faithful certainly let their presence known from the beginning, as Cassell Coliseum would come alive with the Hokies starting the game on a 13-0 run. Breanna Campbell would finally break the Hokies’ defense with roughly 3 minutes left in the first quarter. She’d get an ‘and one’ basket, bringing the score to 13-3. That would ultimately get the Herd going, allowing them to scratch their way back into the game. By the end of the first quarter, Virginia Tech would only lead 18-12.

Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

Reminiscent of a boxing match, the two teams would trade punches back and forth early in the matchup. Marshall’s full-court press would start to frustrate the Hokies late into the first quarter and early into the second quarter. The Hokies would eventually be able to outlast the press though, ultimately hitting shots when the Hard could not. Towards the end of the game, the Herd would end up only making 24.4% of shots from the field. When it’s all said and done, that’s not good enough to overcome a team like Virginia Tech.

Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

At the half, the Hokies would lead 42-25 in large part off the back of freshman Clara Strack. She’d finish the half with 14 points and a perfect 6 for 6 from the field. That would be a massive foreshadowing of how the rest of the game would go for her. Another huge catalyst for the Hokies was Matilda Eck who played absolutely out of her mind on Friday night. She would go on to score 21 points, a career-high. As the game continued out of the half the Hokies would pull away to a massive lead, putting their foot on the gas and never looking back. Three other Tech players scored in double figures, including Carleigh Wenzel (12 points), Rose Micheaux (10 points) and Cayla King (10 points). Wenzel took over the game at the point, dishing out seven assists and recording six rebounds. Forward Olivia Summiel grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. The Hokies would go on to throttle the Thundering Herd, winning 92-49.